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EXCLUSIVE: 1963 Bentley S-3 Standard Saloon

From David T – This S-3 is a great example of an unmolested and undamaged barn-find that’s ready for restoration. We purchased the car in the fall of 2016 from a trust out of an estate in the Chicago area. The car had been in a climate controlled storage facility for the past 25 years. We’ve given her a little TLC to get her ready for you. Clearly, this car was driven and appreciated for many years, then placed in proper storage. We have the original factory build sheet. The title is a clear Kentucky title and the odometer reads 100,136.

This S-3 (B504CN) features factory air-conditioning, factory dual horns and factory fuel pump A B selector. It is a right-hand drive, two-tone black over silver paint with a grey leather interior. The paint has visible cracks and chips as detailed in the photos.  The car will require new paint and the chrome is average. 

The underside has typical surface corrosion and there is the common rust damage in both the rocker panels and the rear quarter panels. These panels are readily available. It has the correct stainless steel exhaust.

The carpet, woodwork, leather and headliner are all in very good condition and completely original. The new owners may want to replace the carpet though. The door panel carpets have been replaced. All the windows work well.

The initial work done includes: rebuilding all the wheel brake cylinders, replacing all the rubber brake hoses, overhauling the master cylinders and new valve cover gaskets. It is a running and driving car – the engine runs great with no smoke and the transmission shifts well! The car is located in Lexington, Kentucky and we are asking $29,000. Please use the form below to contact us if interested.

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Comments

  1. Dave Wright

    Now…….that is a beauty……and original……too bad the steering is on the wrong side. In the old days, that lowered the value of the cars, people assume that someone bought them in England (a common occurrence) for a song and is trying to sell for a big profit as opposed to an original US sold and owned car.

    2+
    • Dave Wright

      I think 30G’s is full blown retail for a LHD car……this one is worth less.

      4+
      • Howard A Member

        “Worthless” or “Worth less”? ( sorry Dave, any chance I can get, which isn’t too often with you) 🙂

        1+
  2. Dan

    Love the phrasing..”common” rust out in quarters and rockers. Like it is no big deal.

    10+
  3. Jeff V

    I could see 30K for a RR cloud, 25K for a lhd Bentley, 20K for this, imo!

    5+
  4. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    I thought the asking seemed high at first too, but Hagerty does list a #4 driver at over $40k.

    7+
  5. RayT Member

    I have no problem with the Bentley being a right-hooker; I’ve driven quite a few of them, and don’t think the adjustments are all that difficult.

    What I DO have a problem with is the price. After paint (expensive, to say the least, ’cause you wouldn’t want to take it to Earl Scheib) and the rust repairs to rockers, rear quarters and — I’m pretty sure — chassis (VERY expensive), the new owner will have put out a large pile of spondulix. You’d have to really want this car…I doubt it could be classed as an “investment.”

    I like the Bentleys and Rollers of this era, which are reliable (if maintained), smooth and elegant, but they are not at the top of my wish list.

    6+
  6. Doug Towsley

    I wont comment on the price as I dont follow them enough to be authoritative,, But I can say these are epic cars and in a class all their own. I know several owners and several specialists who service them. The quality of the workman ship and materials is WAY above the norm and as I said. (Redundant) these cars are in a class all their own. my neighbor has 4 Bentley’s in his collection, My wife has driven some of them and he had loaned some out to a friend who is an expert in these for concours shows. Tony never pays full price for anything. He picks them up needing work or owners in distress. But the quality of these cars is something I have always been impressed with. Sit in one or drive one and how smooth the motors are. The carpeting is lush and luxurious. Every Bentley is hand built by craftsman. As Tony says,,, for the quality of the car Bentley are the best value out there. I am more of a sports car-hot rod kind of guy,, but after decades of wrenching, restorations & customs I have a lot of respect for the brand.

    6+
  7. Bruce Best

    The S3 versions of this car were a pain to work on. The S1 and S2’s had straight six motors with very easy accessibility and with the larger and more powerful V8’s you saw times to service go up dramatically.

    There are alternate sources for most parts including electrical systems which I have noted on other English cars is an almost certain MUST DO unless the car is less than 20 years old with newer teflon insulation. If you have worked on a MG, Triumph or Jaguar these are not much more difficult. There is more hand fitting to both the bodies and the mechanical parts which raises repair costs but the difficulty is not that great.

    Electrical motors can almost always be rebuilt or replaced by a much more powerful modern motor instead of going back to Rolls to replace something. Finish and interior is another matter entirely. Both required expertise that many good body shops no longer have. The finish on these cars takes a very large amount of hand work and detail work. It shows is you know what to look for and even if you do not you can tell the difference.

    This series to me has always been the highpoint of Rolls Royce cars. The newer ones are better cars but they lost something. And if you want a Left hand version there are kits available to allow you to do that but you WILL PAY THE PRICE. The parts and time to accomplish such a task are considerable but you pays your money to get what you want.

    4+
    • Brakeservo

      I am not aware of RHD to LHD conversion “kits” other than the assortment of used parts Tony Handler would sell if you paid his tarif. And even if one could get everything for say under 10 grand, the work involved is substantial – brake, throttle and shift linkages are comprised of way too many tiny parts, a new instrument board, pedal parts etc. Yes it can be done, and has been done but so what? The chassis number (v.i.n. will always show the car was born RHD) and may actually devalue the car. I remember an SII Continental convertible offered for sale by Rustle & Steal in Monterey one year that had obviously been converted to LHD. It failed to sell and if Rustle & Steal can’t palm off a bastardized piece of junk, who can??

      2+
  8. Brakeservo

    I’ve owned, bought, sold, flipped over 230 Bentley and Rolls-Royce automobiles from 1932 – 1965 so I might know a thing or two about them. The ask – $29,000 is absolute full retail+ to a knowledgeable buyer. That’s assuming the rust isn’t any worse than it appears (not likely) and the mechanics are good (again not likely as the early V8 motors have issues). It sounds like they’ve only done a partial brake job and if the brakeservo isn’t right, none of the other work will make the car stop right. The dual master cylinders are a major PITA to repair, install ad adjust.

    Rust can be pervasive and loves to eat the body mounts and inner structures and isn’t always immediately discernable until you really get the car up in the air high enough to properly inspect it.

    The problems with the engines can be fatal – i.e. not repairable if the aluminum block has eroded enough around the sealing surfaces of the iron cylinder liners. Or the block can be destroyed when one tries to remove the liners and pulls a big chunk of aluminum away. The most reliable parts of the car are the GM designed (but Rolls-Royce built) Hydra-matic transmission and the rear axle. I knew a guy in Oregon who had the best fix for a ruined block – he built a hot-rodded 502 cubic inch Chevy big block motor and scrounged the parts needed to bolt it direct to the original Rolls transmission. That way he preserved the original mechanical actuation of the brakes and with the hood closed it was impossible to tell it wasn’t a “proper motor car engine” (yes, Rolls and Bentley people refer to their cars as PMC’s or Proper Motor Cars) until he stomped on the accelerator pedal and would leave rubber streaks on the blacktop for as long as he wanted or the tread held out!

    I don’t understand why these cars aren’t more desirable and hence valuable – built in limited numbers, superb quality and tremendous visual presence and such a thrill to either drive or ride in. Thirty years ago I thought within ten years they’d be trading in the $100,000+ range but it never happened. As an automobile, they’re a better car than say a 2+2 Ferrari GTE but look what’s happened to Ferrari prices while these have stagnated. I still contend they are the best undiscovered value in classic cars. In my humble opinion.

    11+
    • Scotty Gilbertson Scotty Staff

      That’s great info, Brakeservo. And, I love trying to figure out where folks got their user names from. I think I may have latched on to where yours came from… Wow, 230 of these?! Very impressive, sir.

      4+
  9. Smittydog

    Price too high, and I hope you don’t need parts. It is stylish though.

    1+
    • Brakeservo

      Parts for this car, particularly mechanical are probably more easily available than parts for my Toyota Corolla! Everything is available!

      5+
  10. John Norris

    I could just see Keith Moon driving this into a swimming pool!

    6+
  11. Old Car Guy

    Climate controlled storage, yeah salt water air, leaky roof and dirt floor. Who are they trying to kid, rode hard and put away wet.

    0
  12. Sam

    The early “60’s Bentley and RR have a great classic look. Bad news, like everyone pointed out, too much $ in the ask and restoration. This, like the recent RR, is a $10m car.

    This is sacrilegious, but a GM crate motor and brake conversion with a quality paint job and interior spiffs would make a lot of sense.

    I see a business opportunity…buy both the Bentley and RR for a limo/event/wedding venture. I’m in central Indiana, 30 minutes from Albers in Zionsville…I think they do more business selling parts than vehicles.

    0
    • Brakeservo

      I have sold several hundred cars like this to guys who thought they would make a fortune in the limo business. I’m not sure if even a single one ever made ANY money doing it. Special insurance is absolutely required and it is quite expensive and many states have licensing and permit requirements that are hard to meet. And by converting one to American drivetrain you introduce all sorts of reliabity and service problems if you plan on actually using the car. They are best the way they were built, and ultimately easier/cheaper to maintain too. If you have to change out an engine, retain the proper transmission, brakes and steering. It can be done and the car will operate as it should.

      7+
      • Sam

        Brakeservo,

        I had a brain fart and didn’t complete my thought. Cars, like many other hobbies and invests, stand on their own in time and $ invested.

        It could be fun for a hobbyist, with resources, to make these driveable and fun with the side benefit of having a business subsidize the hobby in terms of expenses (it’s tax time…hope the IRS is not a BF member).

        A modern day terrible analogy is how 10 yr old Chrysler 300’s are pimped out with suicide doors and grills to look like a Phantom.

        0
      • Sam

        Brakeservo,

        I had a brain fart and didn’t complete my thought. Cars, like many other hobbies and investments, don’t stand on their own in time and $ invested.

        It could be fun for a hobbyist, with resources, to make these driveable and fun with the side benefit of having a business subsidize the hobby in terms of expenses (it’s tax time…hope the IRS is not a BF member).

        A modern day terrible analogy is how 10 yr old Chrysler 300’s are pimped out with suicide doors and grills to look like a Phantom.

        0
  13. Doug Towsley

    I cant speak to financials but here in Oregon we have a booming tourist trade. I know of a B&B over in central Oregon that also features really cool modern Sportbikes including the modern Nortons but include vintage motorcycles as well for either guided tours or rent and ride while staying at the B&B.
    We also have a lot of wine and brewery tours including a London Double decker bus, I have been hearing about Marijuana tours to grow sites as well but have not partaken in that.
    But there is several classic British cars here in our area for rent or lease. Theres a Rolls up the street from me and I see it often that is part of a limo fleet and I have spoken to the owner. He says they are busy year round.
    Heres some samples…
    See: http://www.cclimoportland.com/
    Classic Chauffeur Limos
    Portland’s Professional Limo Rental Service Since 1974.
    Limos, Town Car Sedans, Escalade SUVs, Vans, & Vintage 1959 Rolls Royce.

    Thank you for your interest in Classic Chauffeur, your business and special occasion limousine service.
    We urge you to visit our Downtown Portland Showroom to make a quality comparison.
    ——————————————
    http://bestcarintown.com/

    Oregon’s only 1947 “Silver Wraith” Rolls Royce Limousine
    Portland’s most spacious classic car
    Enjoy a glass of champagne as Portland’s elegant Rolls Royce takes you to your next event.
    —————————————–
    http://www.legendlimos.com/our-fleet/rolls-royce-ghost-long-island

    Legend Limousines, Inc. is excited to offer this pristine Rolls Royce Ghost in desirable White with beautiful Black leather interior. The condition is just amazing. From the gorgeous white paint to the rich Rolls Royce interior, this vehicle is a true ‘head-turner’. Every part of this luxury Sedan is clean and well maintained. The options include: tray tables, Moon Roof, Navigation, self closing trunk, champagne glasses cooler and more. Riding in a Rolls Royce Ghost is most people’s dream. A Rolls Royce in white is just stunning and will turn heads. If your special event requires a grand entrance, then this vehicle truly is beyond your wildest dreams.
    ——————————————————
    The double decker,, there is 2 of these locally I know of….
    https://doubledeckerpdx.com/

    Our historic Double Decker Bus is fit with every modern comfort, guaranteeing you and your friends a great time, wherever your adventure takes you. Book a trip with us for your next sporting event, wedding, or corporate affair and know you’ll ride a level above the rest.

    I could post hundreds of links to winery and brewery tours, or feel free to look up Pot & weed tours to dispenserys and growers. I have also heard about a couple B&Bs opening up that are modelled on a Colorado B&B ranch known as “Wake & bake”.

    1+
    • Brakeservo

      I’ve known John Case for maybe 30 years – he makes his money with the stretch Lincolns, not really his beautiful Rolls Cloud III. It was his mechanic I paid fifty bucks to so many decades ago where I learned to rebuild Rolls – Royce brakeservos. Funny how we apparently never ran into each other with all the time I spent in Oregon attending events from the Forest Grove Concours to the Great Steam up in Brooks. I think I used to know all the Bentleys and Rolls in Oregon.

      1+
      • Doug Towsley

        Brakeservo, I am sure we ran across each other at some point. My wifes family have been attending the All British Field meet since it started, they used to make Electronic ignition kits that FastSpec used to sell for MGs and other upgrades for classic British cars,,, I attended many of these events as well, was a regular at the Rose cup, IMSA and vintage car races. Plus I have been a member at Antique Powerland and specifically the NW vintage car and MC museum. I used to know many, not all, but many in those circles so I am certain we crossed paths. It can be a small world at times. As to the cars I was just illustrating that SOME people have done okay with using these as Limos or other similar. At the car and MC museum as well as the many vintage clubs I am in we get requests all the time for model shoots, advertising, or even sometimes TV and movies. My buddies cars have been on Grimm, Leverage, Portlandia, and multiple movies.
        For those with interesting vehicles one way you can share the vintage vibe as well as help our hobby, and put some coin in your pocket is see if you have a talent or scout agency, movie and entertainment business or others in your area and register your vehicles with them. When a show is filming in your area your vehicles will be in a catalog and your vehicle in each case I know of is well insured, Well taken care of and you get paid well for it. My Great Dane was in the background of several scenes in Leverage when they filmed in Estacada. My 65 GMC was in 2 scenes in Chrome soldiers, and I TRIED really hard to sell a Triumph motorcycle to Billy Bob Thornton when they were filming in Oregon city. (No-Go). I have a buddy who works as an extra and is in a very long list of movies.

        1+
  14. Jdoc

    Brakeservo
    Insightful and knowledgeable sharing heightens the reading of Barfinds’ comments. Since 2004 I have owned a 24,604 original miles Silver Cloud III that has always been in a climate controlled environment. Purchased from the second owner it has been a dream to drive. My wife and I particularly enjoy a Rolls Royce ride while the local oldies radio station provides a retro-moment of musical pleasure. I too have wondered, but was never concerned, about the valuation. I’ve not owned a 2+2 Ferrari GTE, but, I can say the hand built RR is incredible. Not to be pompous, I will point out that from 1904 more dignitaries and celebrities sought ownership of a Rolls Royce. Longer than any other automobile brand. Today, most appear to seek out the uniquely engineered and beautifully designed machines from an array of choices. Now I dream about owning one of these incredible vehicles. Maybe if I live 40 more years I may be the happy owner of another luxury automobile.

    0
  15. glenn

    to be top of the line again i see about 50k in repairs in the body interior and paint. someone has played withthe electrics and swiutches so who knows what your going to find . otherwise she is a beauty

    0
  16. Brakeservo

    Doug Towsley – I stand by my contention that very few if anybody I knew legitimately made money as a limo service with one of these cars as no one could afford the insurance! Yes, I knew guys working weddings and proms but they had no insurance or proper permits/licenses. You did list an exception I didn’t know of though – Eric and his ’47 Rolls. He appears to be operating legally. I’d like to know how, where or if he got insurance – while liability coverage for the business use is available if you can afford to pay for it, I’d be surprised if coverage for damage to the car itself is even available at any cost. Too many guys discover too late that their insurance is 100% voided as soon as they accept even a nickel to transport a paying passenger unless they are insured as a “public livery.” As far as movies, TV etc – don’t tell your insurance company that you hire your car out – they may cancel you even though the production companies provide insurance. I have experience – if you watch any old reruns of “The Librarians” and see an old black Bentley, I’m behind the wheel as the chauffeur. The series was filmed in Portland.

    1+
    • Brakeservo

      My Bentley on set of “The Librarians” Portland 2014.

      4+
  17. James

    Looks like they are about to ruin “Barnfinds” like they did “Bringatrailer”. Both used to post cool old and interesting car finds. Now BAT is nothing more than a narrowly focused “for sale” site with over priced semi-auction format. Barnfinds is now heading in that same direction. Too bad. It was fun while it lasted.

    0
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Give me a break James! We get $25 to feature an Exclusive while BaT is raking in millions from the auctions. Running a site this large is very expensive so unless everyone is willing to buy a membership, we are going to have to run an occasional paid post. That doesn’t mean the site it ruined. Traffic is up and most people seem happy with the way things have been going.

      3+
  18. James

    It’s your site and you can do as you please. But it’s still heading down the same road as BAT and BAT’s format is killing BAT. Clicks are way down on BAT and will continue. Why would anyone go to a website that only has a dozen or so cars for sale at a time? If we wanted to log onto ebay or craigslist we would

    0
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      How do you know BaT’s traffic is down?

      2+
    • Doug Towsley

      James, In my professional career I would pull you in for a counseling session and my #1 rule is dont open your trap with complaints unless you can ALSO offer suggestions or fixs to the situation. I expect people to research, have your ducks in a row, Perfectly acceptable to bring up a problem… “I saw this and feel its a problem because of A) B) & C)… I looked into it and I feel this might be a viable fix to do #1) #2) & #3) or can we try something else and evaluate it and see if this is better?”
      But I think you need to bring some positive material to the table and not just be a jerk. Its not easy doing a website or forum and I wont go on many because of very high A*****e factor. It is supposed to be about fun and enjoyment and if you contribute towards that end, GREAT! If all you do is complain without solutions then just go away and dont let the door hit you on the way out.
      My unsolicited $0.02 or,, I read a quote on another forum the other day….
      “Advice on a free internet forum is worth about 1/2 of what you paid for it”

      1+

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