As part of the S-series of cars, the Bentley S2 was one of the last Bentleys to feature a separate chassis and body. Compared to the original S-car, the S1, this new model had one major upgrade: the engine. But there were many other minor updates and upgrades that made the S2 a significantly changed car. From 1959 to 1962, just over 2,000 Bentley S2s were manufactured; significantly less than that over-3,500 S1s that rolled off the production floor in the preceding 4 years.
Talk About a Long-Lasting Engine
Having scrapped the inline-6 from the S1, Bentley chose a new aluminium V8 engine for the S2. Now the big luxury saloon was powered by a 6.2-litre L Series engine. Designed in a collaborative effort between Rolls-Royce and Bentley, this stalwart engine was first introduced in 1959 but is – get this – still in use today. That’s right, the 6.75-litre engine powering the modern-day Mulsanne is part of the same L-series line of engines!
This being a Bentley, the car isn’t all about the engine. Step inside the car and you will find a host of rare and ground-breaking (for 1959) luxury features. Included in that list are amenities such as an improved air conditioning unit, power steering, automatic transmission, electric windows, and even an electric ride control feature. The Bentley S2 was truly the height of luxury for its time.
While most Bentley S2s were built with the standard factory bodies, some were given custom coachwork by the likes of Park Ward and H.J. Mulliner. A variety of body styles were produced, including 4- and 2-door saloons, as well as a drophead coupe. And, in addition to the standard 3,124mm (122 in) wheelbase, 57 S2s were built with a 3,225mm (127 in) wheelbase for extra legroom in the rear quarters.
A more powerful engine made its way int the “S2 Continental,” which also used higher gearing for a sportier driving experience. Bentley even went to the effort of installing new, lighter, bodywork on the Continental. In all, 388 of these hot-rodded S2s were manufactured. The car would be redesigned in 1962, resulting in the updated S3 nameplate.