The S saloon was introduced by Bentley at the end of April 1955 as a replacement for the R series, that had been in production, in some form or another, since immediately after World War II.
The S saloon model did not enjoy such a long run, only until the end of 1959.
At the time of the launch, Bentley hastened to point out that the iconic R Type Bentley Continental model would continue to be available, with most of the production coming through bespoke coachbuilders HJ Mulliner.
To members of the motoring press, the S Series was in essence Bentley’s (and Rolls-Royce's ) first release of a redesigned standard production car since the end of World War II.
In addittion. the Bentley S series was the last standard production car with an independent chassis to roll off the production line at Crewe.
The Bentley S series was a more generously sized five-seat saloon (although it could comfortably seat six) than its predecessor.
The car’s body was manufactured in pressed steel using stressed skin construction, while its doors, bonnet and baggage locker lid were all produced from aluminium.
Still fitted with the traditional Bentley radiator grille, the main upgrades from the R type were as follows: Wheelbase three inches longer Lower stance without any reduction in headroom. Increased luggage space
The Bentley S series came with a four-speed automatic gearbox as standard, with the gearbox capable of selecting select individual ratios according to the drivers choice.
As with its predecessors, the Mark VI and R type Bentleys, there was almost no difference in the external appearance between the standard Bentley and Rolls-Royce models, with the Bentley S differing only in its traditional radiator grille shape from the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud.
In the two years that it was in production, the Bentley S series came with a choice of two wheelbases: 123 inches (3,100 mm) when it was initially released and, from 1957, 127 inches (3,200 mm).
This innovation meant that the Bentley despite having had a new and longer-wheelbase chassis with an all-new but bulky body shell weighing in considerably more than its predecessor, the R-Type, still used the same engine and transmission combination, which had some effect on speed and fuel consumption.
Despite that possible shortcoming the Bentley S-Type saloon was a popular addition to the company's stable and was the recipient of regular development changes, among them power-assisted steering and air-conditioning options that came along in 1956, and a more powerful engine from late 1957, with the release of the long-wheelbase version.
From then onwards, developments were few as the research team at Crewe began to prepare for the arrival of the Bentley S2, which was fitted with Rolls-Royce’s brand-new V8 engine.
The SI Continentals may well have taken a lot of the glory. although Bentley can rightly be proud of their S Saloon, an excellent car in its own right.