1963 Bentley S3 H.J. Mulliner Bodied Continental Coupe

As a youngster I knew Bentley made cars that looked like a Rolls Royce minus the hood ornament, and that Bentley had a more sporting history than Rolls-Royce. This fabulous 1963 Bentley S3 H.J. Mulliner Continental Coupe has the elegant “Flying B” hood ornament. Thanks to Dik S. who spied this lovely coupe located in Bethesda, United Kingdom and listed for sale here on eBay.co.uk classifieds with an asking price of £250,000 or $337,810 USD.

After building bodies for multiple manufacturers since before the invention of the motor car, coach-builders H.J. Mulliner & Co. blended more exclusively with Bentley in 1959. It’s difficult to make a vehicle beautiful from every angle, and this one succeeds brilliantly.

The tinted sunroof was recently replaced, and the car comes with three boxes of documentation from (at least) its last 23 years of service to one family.

The original leather seats show some wear, but present well. The seat contours, color, and piping almost identically match those in my father’s 2001 Jaguar XJ8.

Take a virtual walk to the seller’s web site at realcar.co.uk for more pictures of this luxury classic. The seller describes this Bentley as “running and driving very nicely.” The 6.2L V8 makes 200 HP and 332 lb-ft of torque, the latter no doubt providing satisfying albeit not exhilarating performance for most Bentley owners, despite the car’s 4850 lb curb weight (thanks to automobile-catalog.com for some details). This car is way out of my league, but it’s gorgeous and I hope the new owner can afford to drive it as often as prudent. Where do you see yourself piloting this car for a weekend?

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Comments

  1. fahrvergnugen

    Lovely car indeed, but I’d rather have the fastback. Not that I’m able to go beyond the Corgi version, mind you.

  2. StuB

    The S1 was the last 6 cylinder, S3’s have the V-8

    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Fixed now. Thank you StuB!

    • Beatnik Bedouin

      …and disc brakes…

  3. ccrvtt

    My problem with these cars is that there’s always going to be someone who knows more about it than I do.

    That and the fact that at this price I’d have to scrape to even live in a van down by the river.

  4. Frank

    Beautiful lines. Just curious, was this one of the first times a factory installed sunroof was on a car?

    • Ross W. Lovell

      Greetings All,

      Jaguars and a host of other cars had them in the late 30’s, but this is one of the first I’ve seen that was glass, most painted boys color or covered in vinyl.

      • Gerry

        I had a 1954 Austin A55 with a wind out metal hard top , WOW was great then.

  5. Chuck Foster Chcuk F 55chevy

    I see myself piloting the car to the Chunnel, and over to France, and then as far as I can get before I get caught for theft.

  6. Coventrycat

    Love the way the door caps sweep seamlessly into the dash. Lovely car, that.

  7. Dolphin Member

    Other than the earlier R-type Continental, I like these S3 Continentals more than any other Bently, including the ones that VW group is making today….despite the 4-eye headlights. Trouble is, the R-type Continentals are now approx. $1.5 million cars.

    I can sympathize with those who like these S3 Continentals but can’t afford the price of this one since I’m in the same boat. But the Guide says this car is greatly overpriced at the equivalent of the $338K price, since these have been selling for a median price of about $111K at auction lately. Maybe prices in the UK are higher, and I’m guessing they are, but still a truly beautiful car.

  8. Bruce

    I have a chance to work and drive one of these back in the day. They are even more impressive in person. Elegance in every detail. All the controls butter smooth, the ride not so much but given the day as good or better than you can expect.

    Until you work on one it is so hard to understand the detail finishing of every element of the car. Interior, exterior, dash, trunk with only the engine bay lacking the highest level of finish. Instead of perfect finish there is a elegance in placement, and strength of both materials and how they are fastened together.

    I have also worked on a couple of James Young Razor Edge cars from the 50’s that had the same level of finish. Of note their supplier of wood veneer keeps spare samples of matching veneer wood for as long as the chassis exists. I was given about 30 matching samples of Carpathian Elm Burl that was nothing less than breathtaking for some work I did for that supplier. I was told that the car was totaled in a building fire and these were the extras for a car built in the middle 1930’s. That my friends is attention to detail.

    • Bill McCoskey

      Bruce –

      As someone who repaired & restored Rolls-Royce & Bentley automobiles, as well as having owned some 30 of these fine cars, I can tell you that the storage of identical piece of burl veneer is one of the more circulated myths about Rolls-Royce & Bentley cars. What the coachbuilder likely did was look at the original photographs of the car, and select similar pieces of paper-thin burl. A few of the other myths include:
      Rolls-Royce cars have a lifetime warranty with unlimited mileage.
      Rolls-Royce will send a repair person, anywhere in the world, to repair one of their cars, at no charge.
      The bonnet [hood in US English] of a Rolls-Royce is sealed by the factory so no one except the factory service people can service the engine.
      Rolls-Royce will only allow you to purchase one of their cars NEW, if they feel you are worthy. Well this might be partially true, if part of being “worthy” is having the funds to do so! If you’ve got the cash, you’ve got the car.

      One of the fascinating parts of a Rolls-Royce is that one can sit on the seat inside the car, with the doors closed, and looking around at the beautiful interior appointments, not see a single fastener of any kind. No screws, hex head bolts, No fasteners are visible.

      And when we consider this policy dates back to when all the parts were hand made & finished, using ONLY metal or organic materials like leather & wood, often on a one-of-a-kind automobile, the level of engineering & design to keep all fasteners hidden is of the highest possible degree.

  9. Maestro1 Member

    Brilliant.

  10. Jack Quantrill

    Gorgeous motorcar!

  11. Beatnik Bedouin

    Always liked S2 and S3 Bentleys since they were new, but at around 5’6″, I’m a bit short this week to pay the asking price…

    I’ve found the V8 models, along with their Silver Cloud cousins, to be much nicer to drive than the six-cylinder versions.

    • Brakeservo

      I”d wager that you’ve never actually owned one – those who “know” avoid the V8s, particularly the early S2 and Cloud II versions like the plague! How do I know this?? I’ve owned over 200 six cylinder Bentley and Rolls Royce cars but only 2 V8s – that was enough for me!

  12. David Miraglia

    Always preferred Bently over Rolls

  13. Martin Horrocks

    I don´t think the glass sunroof is typical of the model. Interesting detail but not sure I´d want to live with it. So pass.

    • Kevin Sellwood

      Not like lack of funds has anything to do with you passing on this car!

  14. Andrew Tanner Member

    Love these cars! You don’t see them too often either. I saw one in person for the first time about 6 years ago, and I haven’t seen one since.

  15. Brakeservo

    That is NOT the original upholstery – the fit on the driver’s seat alone is atrocious and the contrasting piping is highly dubious. If you want to drive it (and you should) the six-cylinder is the far superior car, especially if you enjoy doing your own maintenance. The V8 has the potential to “drive you to poverty” at least figuratively if not literally. Keep in mind that this car was built with the finest technology the 1930s had to offer!

    • Peter

      Some of the new Bs have contrasting piping in the upholstry. It is not a new thing. It is a bit later than 1930 surely Bservo?

  16. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    Craved these coupes and the fast back’s when I was in my early teens….kept photo’s of them….right next to my girly pictures

  17. Bill McCoskey

    It would be interesting to take a look at the original “Chassis card” of this vehicle to see if the glass roof is original equipment on this car. I suspect it is a modern addition, done to the high level of quality expected, however the exposed screw fasteners suggest this is a later addition,

  18. Bill McCoskey

    Just looked at the seller’s photos. The installation of modern A/C was certainly not done to the level of quality expected of this car. To leave the A/C box and those horrid bright blue air return ducts exposed would never been approved by the Bentley factory. To meet that level of quality would require the equipment be covered by a carpeted back wall panel, finished with bound leather serges [edges].

    That said, I would be honored to have such a car in my garage anytime!

  19. John Taylor

    You have to also remember that the H.P rating on English cars were rear wheel H.P. and most of the American ratings were done at the flywheel hence the such a large difference in H.P. ratings.

  20. Grid Michal Member

    Back in the 50s in Richmond VA on The Boulevard were a line of foreign car dealers…Jags, Italian species, French, and ROLLS.About once a month our dad, tired of smelling–and smelling like–boat engines would get dressed up, get my brother and me as clean as two country kids could get, and make the hour-plus drive to Richmond to go to each dealership to–get this–smell the insides of the cars, What is my everlasting memory of the Rolls dealership? How far up the salesperson’s eyebrows went when he saw us come through the door. Sheer panic would be an understatement. Mr. McCoskey just answered all the questions I would have asked the salesman if he could have breathed.

  21. Peter

    Very elegant body and nicely laid out interior.

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