With the 1955 debut of the new Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and its Bentley S-type sibling, British magazine “The Autocar” raved, “The latest Bentley model offers a degree of safety, comfort and performance that is beyond the experience and perhaps even the imagination of the majority of the world’s motorists.” Praise indeed, but considering its price at nearly twice that of a top-range Cadillac, it really had to deliver. In the case of this rather singular example, its first owner, Hollywood mogul Jack Warner, paid considerably more than even that. While the factory-bodied “Standard Steel” versions accounted for the vast majority of the 3,107 Bentley S1 production run, a mere 145 were coachbuilt, and only a fraction of those were completed by the noted London firm Freestone & Webb, which rarely handcrafted as many as 15 cars in a single year. Such exclusivity commanded a premium that could only be justified by higher levels of refinement, detail and craftsmanship. From the first year of production, Warner’s 1955 Bentley S1 Saloon is further distinguished as one of only seven built to this design by Freestone & Webb, as well as the first and only one in left-hand drive configuration. Warner retained it until his passing in 1978. And yet, it still wouldn’t have felt antique by then, as the S1 with its 4887cc straight-6 mated to GM’s 4-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission was capable of 103 MPH with 0-60 MPH in 13.1 seconds. An all-new chassis and front suspension setup, allied to electric ride control to vary the rear shock absorber settings, ensured comfort and road manners kept pace with the performance. Warner’s spacious and airy S1 has the further benefit of power steering, which didn’t become standard until 1957. Exquisitely elegant and extremely rare, the Jack Warner Bentley has one further distinguishing achievement: its movie role alongside Bette Davis in the 1964 thriller “Dead Ringer.”
Arrangements to purchase this vehicle can be made directly by contacting Mecum representative Rob Williams by phone or text at (262) 236-7705 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.