“Bentley makes its mark”: a transcript of a 1959 review by Archie Vicar
Photographs by Marmaduke Orpington (due to the poor quality of the original photos, stock images have been used),
from “Motorist´s Compendium and Driver´s Almanack”, Dec. 1959.
Bentley seem to be finding their feet again after a spell in the shadows of their owner Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Today we test drive evidence of this resurgence, the Continental Flying Spur.
First a little history. Bentley started offering steel bodywork in 1946 and many coachbuilders have been offering their versions of this car, as if a standard Bentley wasn´t exclusive enough. For a proper expression of a Bentley though one would have to go back to the Thrupp & Maberly 1938 Bentley 4 1/4 Litre all-weather touring car. In 1952 the R-type was presented to the world and it had bigger engines than its predecessor. But these cars were really not quite what Bentley customers wanted, as indicated by disappointing sales.
Rolls-Royce´s idea to make Bentley more salable is to take some of the most successful elements of the Rolls-Royce style and to apply them to Bentley. With that in mind the 1955 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and Bentley S1 have a passing resemblance to each other but at least it has stemmed the losses as more than one third of Rolls-Royce cars are now Bentleys. Mulliner Park Ward have also prepared some designs for the more discerning of Crewe´s customers for whom Pressed Steel´s versions are not quite up to snuff.