Saturday, 24 July 2010

Bentley Flying Spur Four Door Continentals



One of the most famous and most desired motor cars ever built by Bentley was the series of four door Continental saloons, built from 1957, which attracted the name the 'Flying Spur'. The name was the idea of H T Johnstone, managing director of the coachbuilder, H J Mulliner. In fact the flying spur (as shown in the photograph) is the heraldic crest of the Johnstone clan in Scotland; by legend, awarded to them for helping Bonnie Prince Charlie escape. The idea for this motor car began with the 1954 R Type Continental, two door coupe, made by coachbuilder H J Mulliner of lighter aluminium and incorporating other modifications for a faster machine. H J Mulliner and Park Ward continued to make these cars in the two door style into the S Type Continental, which had a larger engine. It was then considered that such a long car could easily be given four doors, without sacrificing the sports' styling and, in 1957, the Bentley Flying Spur four door Continental was born. Between 1957 and 1965, there were eleven variations, including two different engines. Coachbuilder James Young also produced a very sleek version of the S1 Continental and many regard this as the best of all Flying Spurs; only twenty two were built, although some of these may have had two doors. Production continued into the S3 series, made by H J Mulliner and James Young and there were also Rolls Royce versions produced but these were not really Flying Spurs, as that name was officially applied only to Bentley versions. The name is again in use for a modern Bentley model. But given a choice of the James Young model in the photograph and one of the modern cars, I know (despite the advantages of 'all mod cons'), which I should choose.

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