Carriage Trade: Engineless 1961 Bentley S2

No engine or transmission, you say? Hmmmmmm….Here’s a project to bring out our creativity! If money were no object, what would you do with an engineless 1961 Bentley S2? Money need not be an object to acquire it, either, as long as you have something interesting to trade; otherwise it’ll run you $4,500—for starters. Find it here on craigslist out of Galt, California (archived ad).

Not only is the seller of this Bentley open to trades, that’s how it was acquired. I’m guessing it wasn’t in much better condition than this at the time; how long it’s been outside is an important question, given that the rear window seen here seems to be the only piece of glass still installed, and I use the term “installed” loosely. Still, the body doesn’t look half bad, aside from a few relatively minor dents. A shame that the Bentley radiator grille is missing, although the radiator itself isn’t.

Inside, things look about as bad as you’d expect. The wood dash is likely shot, and none of the other interior woodwork appears to be in place, although it looks like some of it may still be with the car, along with assorted other bits and pieces. The seller, ever the optimist, notes that the gauges are all there, and tries to tell us that the “front and rear seats look in decent condition.”

This is a sad end for such a splendid machine. As long as we’re not footing any of the bills, let’s give it a new lease on life; what would your dream restoration or reuse of this Bentley look like? Hitch up an elegant team and offer horse-drawn Bentley rides? LS swap all the things? Plunk the body onto a frame from something else to build the most regal LeMons racer ever? Stick it in your backyard, renovate the interior as the most luxurious tiny house ever, and rake in the big bucks as an Airbnb? (Hey, you could really one-up this guy!) Share your ideas in the comments!


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  1. Calvin T.

    Compared to some I’ve seen on here lately. $4,500 is a steal.


  2. Rx7turboII

    What is below parts car status? Lol

    Like 1
    • jcs

      Scrap metal.

      Like 1
    • St. Ramone de V8

      Yard Art

  3. Rovinman

    I think it would make an excellent planter !
    Remove hood and trunk lids, fill liberally with soil and plant your most precious blooms.
    Shame it wasn’t a convertible ! More sunny planting areas !

    • Billy

      A guy down the roads from me has a 51 Studebaker as a planter right now. As sad as I am to not see it on the road, I am happy it is not crushed.

  4. Al

    Ideal for a family of 4 as a pedal-car.

  5. ROAR

    continue its life as a parts donor, there by helping another rolls/bentley continue on.

    • Bill McCoskey

      As someone who ran a Rolls-Royce & Bentley restoration, service and parts company, I can say 100% this is a parts car, nothing more, and the number of usable parts on it are far & few. $4,500? No way. Half that is more like it. And then only if you have a place to store it or an extra garage space to tear it apart.

      Like 1
  6. BiggYinn

    Seller “traded” for it ….what a hit on his crack pipe???

  7. Dovi65

    Painful, & sad to see. How does someone let such a [once] magnificent automobile deteriorate to this point? Especially models from this era; they are rolling works of art. I’m sure maintenance costs were part of the slide, but …

  8. healeydays

    Could always be used to start the build of a Bentley Tesonaso.

    • Bill McCoskey

      A friend bought a Bentley S-1 grill shell from me a couple of years ago, he’s slowly creating a “replica” Bentley continental out of a ’46 Pontiac Eight 2-door fastback, he’s going to call it his Bentley Incontinental!

    • Bill McCoskey

      Checked into this car – look closely at the rear window – it’s in the normal location, and even if it was a fastback with a regular rear window location, then there would be an identical sail panel on the back side of the body. this is a computer-generated piece. It does not exist.

      The “Creator” indicated the engine is a Rolls-Royce Merlin aircraft engine. Problem is, it won’t fit under that hood [Bonnet]. Too tall.

  9. 86 Vette Convertible

    Well you could do like a guy talked about a car he saw, this was when I was in the service over 45 yrs ago. He said while in Germany he saw a Bentley on the Autobahn that passed him like he was sitting still. Warren said he saw it at a gas station a ways up the road and stopped for gas. It was being driven by a Warrant Officer, and he told me the car looked strange for some reason but wasn’t sure why. While he talked to the Warrant Officer, the guy opened the hood and the reason it looked strange became apparent. The front end was extended some, and there was a Rolls Royce Merlin out of a Spitfire in there. Warren wasn’t a car guy so he didn’t get details other than being amazed someone got an engine that size into a car. This was back in the early 70’s so it wasn’t a wanna-be based on so many cars today.

    I think it would be cool to have something like that. Honestly though the most likely non-oem engine though would likely be some form of LS IMO.

    • Peter Brookes-Tee

      Quite true. Made big news here. The German Police complained to RR, would they please not road test their new models in Germany as they were not able to “clock” them !

  10. MFerrell

    Speaking of LS builds, check out last week’s Jay Leno’s Garage:

  11. Joe Nose

    Put it up on blocks and turn it into guest accommodations.

  12. Gary D.

    Street Rod! Or not.

  13. Ross W. Lovell

    Nothing there worth $4500.

    I’m sure someone will say otherwise but it’s only a ’61, which are lines I love but far too much is gone.

    Taking the glass out sped up that interior decay, which killed the value for me.

  14. That Guy

    On the plus side, that’s pretty dry country out there so it may not have much rust. I’m looking at my phone so pics are small. It could be a good body-panel donor.

    Otherwise, brush-paint it pink and put it on top of a pole to advertise your gentlemen’s club.

  15. George

    An interesting thought… drop in a crate Hellcat motor in it… for a “mere” $22k, you can have a 707 hp fire-breathing dragon that would be funny to run the strip in. It could make for one cool sleeper…

  16. David Miraglia

    Love the Bentlys, but this one is going to be horrendously expensive to restore.

  17. Bill Parker

    With a Cummins it would be like a locomotive on tires!

  18. Treebeardzz

    Just a general observation that the number of knowledgeable interesting comments are being quickly eclipsed by the deluge of LOSERS living in grandma’s basement who now stalk this site in a rush to be the first to display their stupidity in mindless drivel, of infantile criticism of every vehicle. OBVIOUSLY, the morons have NEVER priced parts for ANY Bentley as, sad as it would be to part this mostly straight body out, the front clip would EASILY bring $5,000 even with the grill missing. As for myself, the condition of the car would make it easier on my conscience to possibly attempt a Coddington Cadzilla style custom with a Ford V-10 or mate a pair of V-6s or even a pair of V-8s (a classy custom, in contrast with the talent-less crap-fests best described as rat-turd rods). Even in present condition, this example of the classic lines of Mulliner, has infinitely more class than the sum of all the rat-turd droolers that trip over each other in their rush to insult cars that are far better than THEY will EVER deserve.

  19. John

    Don’t go off your meds again…

    • Treebeardzz

      Hmm, I addressed the sorry comments of the losers who can’t even check their own oil, yet troll here to do nothing but criticize cars…..and boom!, you float up. Put down the crack pipe, Johnny or your mommy will turn off your internet.

  20. Governor

    When all else fails……big lift plus 4×4!

  21. Dirks Bently

    Right hand drive to start off.. parts are thru the roof to buy !!!

    Bury in the ground with rear sticking out and make it a Bentley ranch art piece!

  22. Van

    Chevy 502, 871 blower, MT drag tires, wheelie bars, flat black paint. I’d rather own a nice original 1952 Bently Continental. Restoration is not reasonable. Parting out would be more responsible, where’s the fun in that.

  23. Treebeardzz

    They only made less than 2000 of that model and as far as I know, they are no longer manufacturing replacement parts. Concours examples go for over a quarter million and if one of those examples gets in a fender bender, how much do you think the owner would pay for ONE unwrinkled fender? The pair of bumpers alone, go for $3,000. A complete door for a ’69 Impala can go for $500-$1000 when you need it. These cars were LITERALLY handmade with designs that will NEVER go out of style for people that can appreciate class and quality. That said, there is a red one for sale that has been nicely hotrodded(but not quite finished), that is sadly now for sale, due to the owner’s health.

    • Van

      Low production numbers can’t save a car like this. It can up the price for a parts car.

  24. Arthur

    If only the chassis could have been salvaged, it could have been fitted with boxing plates, a custom x-brace with exhaust passages, and suspension packages from companies like Heidt’s or Ridetech. After which, an Arrington Hemi and a Bowler Performance 4L80E could have been installed. Finally, a custom coachbuilt body could have been created.

    However, if the body could have been repaired, particularly through the efforts of a company like Moal Coachbuilders, this Bentley could have received an Art Morrison or Roadster Shop chassis to which the aforementioned Arrington Hemi and Bowler Performance 4L80E could have been fitted.

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