Sable Coat in the Garage: 1964 Bentley S3

1964 Bentley S3

Imagine putting this Bentley in your garage as a daily driver (if it would fit, not too sure it would in mine)! A true garage find with a claimed three owners from new, this relatively rare (less than 1,300 produced) luxury machine can be yours if your bid is the highest one. This 1964 S3 is located in Union City, California and is available here on eBay.

1964 Bentley S3 Survivor

The S3 is mechanically very similar to the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud, which means its basic mechanicals date back to 1955. This particular right hand drive version was imported to the USA in 1976 by a friend of the current owner and purchased by him in 1991.

Amazingly, this beauty still sports its original Sable paint after 102,000 miles. Of course, that works out to an average of only 2,000 miles per year! Chrome trim also appears excellent, all wheel covers are in place, and I actually prefer the Bentley grille to the comparable Rolls Royce one (that usually comes with a larger price tag!)

1964 Bentley S3 Interior

On the inside, we’re met with a lot of British hardwood, real and original leather hides, wool carpeting, mohair headliner and typical reserved Bentley styling. While the seats do show some wear, there are no tears or other damage; just a nice patina. Somehow I find it comforting that this car was used on a regular basis and serviced appropriately (according to the ad).

1964 Bentley S3 Rear Seat

The rear seat has also seen some use. The owner actually proposes that it could be used as a daily driver in his ad copy. He must drive in different areas than I do! Thankfully, I don’t see the typical Grey Poupon mustard jar that is usually placed on the fold-down tables for ad pictures.

1964 Bentley S3 Dash

What looks like the original radio is still in place; I wonder if the UK frequencies are the same as US ones—some of the numbers look very different? Maybe it’s a shortwave radio? I love the wood, and how nice this car looks to have been preserved. It’s a shame the seller doesn’t include pictures of the aluminum V8 to see if it’s as clean and well-preserved as the rest of the car. The seller claims garage storage and it certainly looks the part, although I’m pretty skeptical that two of the tires really date from 1964 as he states in the ad–102k miles on a tire?  I think not. That also means that the tires aren’t matched.  I’m puzzled that they weren’t replaced as a set; I would be surprised if maintenance budgets were an issue for the owners of this car. The seller is talking about just over $30k for this car, which when you compare it to what you can buy now for that (a 2015 Chevy Impala near me retails for over $32k) isn’t that much. Can you see this “garage find” being used as a daily driver?

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Neil

    I see quite a few of these in my line of work. This is worth $30k every day of the week if it only needs light restoration, based on the prices they fetch here in Europe. If it’s a simple case of some upholstery renovation and new tyres then this is still a bargain at that price. The person offering $15k is really lowballing here – this would make its reserve in the UK overnight.

    There is nothing particularly complicated, mechanically, about this car but I’m not sure I’d want to use it as a daily driver! This is one of those cars where an inspection is pretty much essential but, if nothing untowards turned up, the market is not in the States; I expect this to get exported if it’s as nice as it looks in the photos.

    I can’t see any of the trim pieces missing and if I had $30k lying about to invest, this would be a great export back to the UK, Sadly, and somewhat ironically, I have spent my spare business cash importing American cars for my company!

    These cars aren’t ‘beautiful’, but they are very stately and brides love them!

  2. Mark E

    With regards to the radio, it’s an old analog set so there’s no problem. The difficulties come when you import a newer car with digital tuning. For instance, in America the FM frequencies are in “odd” tenths like 102.9 for example. Japanese cars would be set to the Japan standard of “even” tenths. Obviously this would not be a problem with a radio such as in the article.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Thanks, Mark! I saw the numbers that didn’t correspond to anything I knew…

  3. Horse Radish

    Don’t count on it going the distance, Jamie.
    Just the sentence “Please call me if you are a serious cash buyer only.” will attract the usual characters and this auction WILL BE PULLED…….

  4. Barry Thomas

    Gorgeous car, but the dual headlights didn’t add anything to its looks. I agree, that the Bentley grille is lovely and I think I prefer it to the Roller’s as well. A family friend bought one brand new in 1961 (single lights). He wanted a Rolls, but seeing as his company was a union shop, he thought that the workers would revolt at the site of the owner’s Rolls-Royce. The Bentley was exactly the same car, but a few hundred dollars less. No one really knew what it was back in the day in our little town.
    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

  5. gunningbar

    I drove for a driver service in the mid 70s and these were lovely drivers IF they were properly maintained.. when they were not they were awful…I can remember parts falling off of these cars as we drove along. But I love them..IF….

  6. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,
    Kept a brace of these on the road as wedding/limos in younger days.
    Well made cars but every one we had was modified with a GM alternator as the original charging system really wasn’t up to the level of it being a livery vehicle.
    Three of the cars had factory A/C, two had aftermarket systems. Inside controls for units identical, under the hood a different story. Aftermarket had better hoses and compressor.
    Liked the single-headlight cars with the six better than the eight though the eight could get up and move, it’s not like you’d outrun anyone in that car so the extra oomph really didn’t have a use, now if it had a 460 Ford that would be interesting though still a lots of weight to push, but at least putting your foot into it wouldn’t give you seconds thoughts about engine rebuild costs.
    Brakes unnecessarily complicated. Interiors wore like iron. Wish the tires did, as you needed to be careful picking a brand that was properly load rated but didn’t ride like a truck, actually started using a vintage tire manufacturer. Current tires rated fine but tended to be really noisy.
    Rust and corrosion, minimal but all received full paint at one time or another.
    Once the charging issues were eliminated the cars performed flawlessly.
    Driving them regularly made the reliability issues minimal.
    30K the ballpark but really have to wonder why there is “minimal rust” the car appears to have been well kept.

  7. RickyM

    Totally agree with you Neil. Would easily make that money over here. Good luck with your us car importing (can’t you fit this Bentlry into a container??!!).

  8. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    I appreciate all the good info here!

  9. jim s

    everyone should own a RR or Bentley at least once in their lifetime. great fun but a lot of work/money. this is going to need a PI by someone who knows this model and their systems. should be interesting to see where the bids end and if the reserve is met. great find

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