The Bentley S2 is a luxury car produced by Bentley from 1959 until 1962. The successor to the S1, it featured the new Rolls-Royce - Bentley L Series V8 engine and improved air conditioning made possible by its increased output. Power steering was also standard, and a new dashboard and steering wheel were introduced. Some early S2s were built with the earlier S1 dashboard.
A high-performance S2-derived Continental edition was also produced.
In all, 1,920 standard and long-wheelbase S2 car chassis were built between 1959 and 1962. Almost all were fitted with standard factory bodywork. A number had coachbuilt bodies by Park Ward, Hooper, H. J. Mulliner & Co., and James Young.
Announced at the beginning of October 1959 the S2 replaced the S1's straight-six engine the a new aluminium Rolls-Royce - Bentley L Series V8 shared with the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II. It displaced 6.2 L (6230 cc/380 in³), and offered significantly improved performance.
As advertised in The Times, Friday, Oct 02, 1959:
“The cylinder block and heads are cast in aluminum alloy and hydraulic tappets operate the overhead valves. The engine has a compression ratio of 8 to 1 and is fitted with twin carburetors with automatic choke.
Other features available include fully automatic transmission, power-assisted steering, electrically operated ride control, redesigned and more flexible air conditioning, electric rear window demisters and press button window lifts.”
S2: 1863 (15 with H. J. Mulliner & Co. drophead coupe bodies)
S2 long wheelbase: 57 (5 with James Young bodies and 1 by Wendler)
An "S2 Continental" chassis was built with higher performance engines and higher gearing for lighter bodywork.
Bentley S2 standard saloon rear view
Bentley S2 drophead coupé by H J Mulliner 1962
Bentley Continental S2 cabriolet by Park Ward 1962
Bentley Continental S2 4-door saloon Flying Spur 1961 by H J Mulliner
Bentley Continental S2 4-door saloon Flying Spur 1959 by H J Mulliner
Mulliner & Co. (H.J.)
The British Coachbuilding Mulliner family traces back to 1760, when the company was building coaches for the Royal Mail in Northampton.
There were at one time four separate companies trading with the name Mulliner, all seem to have descended from the original family:
- Arthur Mulliner based in Northampton.
- Mulliner in Liverpool who also opened a showroom in Brook Street, Mayfair, London with Arthur Mulliner trading as Mulliner (London) Ltd.
- H.J. Mulliner who bought the Mayfair showroom.
- Mulliners of Birmingham.
Henry Jervis Mulliner founded H.J. Mulliner & Co. in 1900 in the Mayfair area of London where the factory was set up. This was probably the premises previously occupied by Mulliners (London) Ltd. The location was convenient as his clients, the nobility could afford his services. One of the early clients was C.S. Rolls who had a body built on a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost for his own use.
In 1906 the works moved out of Mayfair to Chiswick and shortly afterwards H.J. Mulliner sold his interest in the company to John Croall and retired. The family connection was maintained as Croall employed H. J. Mulliner's brother in law Frank Piesse to run the company.
Although H.J. Mulliner designed coachwork for C. S. Rolls' personal two-seater Silver Ghost roadster, it was not until 1928 that the firm began to regularly display its hand-crafted bodies on a Rolls-Royce chassis. From that year on, H.J. Mulliner always exhibited at least one Rolls-Royce chassis graced with their custom coachwork.
Following World War II, Mulliner was one of the few coachbuilders to resume building traditional, bespoke coachwork. By this time, the firm's reputation was such that it focused primarily on being a supplier to Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis, crafting the finest, high quality saloons, sedancas, limousines and dropheads for the world's wealthy and elite. By the 1950s, however, Mulliner moved away from the traditional wood-frame coachbuilding techniques of its past, turning instead to the more modern methods of its competitors using a "stressed skin" all-steel structure.
Rolls-Royce acquired Mulliner in 1959 and merged it with Park Ward which they had owned since 1939 forming Mulliner-Park Ward in 1961. This new entity can hardly be called a coachbuilder, because it was no longer an independant company and they were solely focussing on Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
Today, Mulliner is no more than the personal commissioning department for Bentley, turning the Mulliner name into nothing more than some sort of luxury badge for standard works cars with a personalized interior.
H. J. Mulliner & Co. was a well-known British coachbuilder operating from Bedford Park, Chiswick, West London. The company which owned it was formed by H J Mulliner in 1897 but the business was a continuing branch of a family business founded in Northampton in the 1760s to hire out carriages. In December 1909 the controlling interest in this company passed to John Croall & Sons of Edinburgh. Croall sold that interest to Rolls-Royce in 1959.
"Mulliner" is now the personal commissioning department for Bentley.
Henry Jervis Mulliner (1870–1967), born in Liverpool but raised in Chiswick, was the second son of Robert Bouverie Mulliner (1830–1902) from Northampton, third son of Francis Mulliner (1789–1841) of Leamington Spa and Northampton. Robert Bouverie Mulliner had first established a thriving coachbuilding business in Liverpool in the mid 1850s then sold that to his brother and in the early 1870s started another in Chiswick on the outskirts of London.
His son H J Mulliner incorporated his own company in 1897 while with Mulliner London Limited.
He found a special interest in the automobile side of that business and expanded in 1900 by buying from Mulliner London Limited the Mulliner showroom in Brook Street, Mayfair, London.
The location was more convenient for his clients than Chiswick. One of the early clients was C.S. Rolls who had a body built on a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost for his own use.
In 1906 the London works were moved from Mayfair to Chiswick and in December 1909 H J Mulliner sold a controlling interest in the company to John Croall & Sons of Edinburgh.
A family connection was maintained as Croall employed H J Mulliner's wife's brother, Frank Piesse (1885–1960), to run the company.
Although bodies were fitted to other chassis, by the 1930s virtually the entire output was being fitted to Rolls-Royce and Bentleys.
Rolls-Royce acquired Mulliner in July 1959 and merged it with Park Ward which they had owned since 1939 forming Mulliner Park Ward in 1961. A financial columnist noted that the (cash) outlay for Rolls-Royce was relatively small as the net assets of John Croall were around £250,000. It was noted that Mulliner was one of the last independent coach builders, others being controlled by motor manufacturers or distributors.