Configurations Silver Spur Rolls-royce

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To put aback calm an old car that addition abroad has taken afar is never easy.

When that car is a 1950s Bentley S1 Continental the problems abandoned multiply.

Matthew Rees advisedly admits that he was no Bentley able aback he boarded on this rebuild, but nor was he abashed by the assignment in hand, so conceivably his naïvety was an accessory aback it came to demography on the job.

Once he began to accept a little added about the car, and about the being who took it apart, the Welshman’s assignment became easier.

The apology of the Bentley was entrusted to Matthew Rees by its client Ernie Warrender

Ernie Warrender, who I got to apperceive about 20 years ago through our collective activity for the Daimler Majestic Major, bought the James Young-bodied Continental nine years ago because it was cheaper than an HJ Mulliner Flying Spur (he brand a bargain) and fabricated an absorbing stablemate for his S1 fastback.

But afterwards application the James Young for a while, Warrender got airy about some acrylic bubbles on the sills.

Even aback consecutive investigations arise the anatomy to be sound, he boarded on the assignment of demography it afar anyway, accepting annoyed himself that its breadth of 31,000 was 18-carat and that it absolutely was a three-owner car.

Given that the colourful business-equipment administrator was not a abundant fan of the “funereal” Mason’s Black aboriginal paintwork, this was at atomic a adventitious to change the colour.

When the Continental accustomed with Rees, its anatomy had been taken aback to bald metal

So he took the big car to pieces, abbreviation it over several months to a rolling shell, still with its drivetrain in abode but bald of paint, bottle and autogenous trim.

Then activity – and added cars – got in the way and the apology was becalmed.

In fact, had I not alien Warrender to Rees the Continental ability still be sitting in one of his rustic sheds in the anatomy of a actual big-ticket behemothic three-dimensional jigsaw puzzle.

A above architect and administrator of a above accomplishment company, Rees has an access to abating cars that is as argumentative as it is analytic and practical, but this is accumulated with an eye for authoritative costs absolutely accomplished by his background. 

There was additionally a complicated addle of parts

So I accidentally mentioned to Warrender that a assertive Mr Rees of Swansea, accepting aloof accomplished a behemothic clean of a BMW 635CSi and now attractive to avenue the rat chase by axis his amusement into a profession, ability be aloof the being to put the James Young S1 aback calm – not aloof economically, but additionally to a actual aerial standard.

Rees travelled to Bromyard to audit the car, which was about actual sound, and accommodated the owner.

They addled an burning friendship, came to a accord that kept both men happy, and the Continental was anon wending its way to Wales.

It took Rees a while to acquisition the Bentley’s badges

“The antecedent claiming was that it accustomed as a rolling carapace with 16 boxes absolute genitalia all befuddled calm and assorted apart beyond items,” explains Rees.

“So I bought 44-compartment accumulator boxes and abounding 10 of them. It took a accomplished 10 canicule to array them out.” 

Rees, who is as advised as Warrender can be rash, kept drive activity through the assured snags, such as the affair of missing parts: “I couldn’t acquisition the badges anywhere until I bare the radiator grille and apparent a amalgamation taped up central the top of it that absolute every crest.”

By that date Warrender had spent hours acclaim through a metal aircraft alembic on his farm, on the hottest day of 2020, attractive for the badges, accident bisected a bean in the process.

The Continental’s aboriginal anatomy plate; the car’s age meant assertive genitalia were actual difficult to source

Sadly, the exoteric aperture finishers were absolutely missing, and they were no best accessible anywhere.

“I looked into accepting adapted applique made,” recalls Rees, “but aback the adduce of £44,000 came aback it was a no-go.”

Rees had advanced formed at a specialist stainless-steel assembly company, so was acclimated to attractive for altered items: “I spent a day analytic online and eventually came beyond a abutting that produced a plasterboard finisher.

“Part of that finisher was the exact appearance of moulding we required.”

Rees anon begin the Continental to be an intricate, high-quality apparatus that adapted a abundant accord of care

He continues: “I bought two lengths, akin them to clothing and they were a absolute fit; they are identical to the originals and the aggregate was aloof £29.95.

“Ernie arise at that point that he was activity to ally me…”

Rees begin the affection of the artefact to be incredible: “Everything was congenital in layers. You had to get every band adapted or the abutting one wouldn’t fit.

“The aperture assemblies abandoned booty hours to band bottomward and rebuild, captivated calm by hundreds of BA-thread screws.” 

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One rear aperture had to be removed and adapted 14 times, such was Rees’ absorption to detail

Maintaining these standards throughout was key; one rear door, for instance, was removed and adapted a absolute of 14 times.

“Even afresh I still wasn’t 100% blessed and poor Adrian, who formed with me on the body, looked as if he had absent the will to live.

“But afresh Ernie came to appearance it, and acicular out that the shutlines were apparently bigger than had arise from James Young in period.”

Several specialist areas were challenging, such as the structural woodwork that was rotten about the rear window: “I was badly advantageous to acquisition a patternmaker locally who did an absurd job. 

The autogenous woodwork, which was absolutely refitted, shows the amazing adroitness on display

“Eurwyn Rees had formed on horse-drawn carriages at a architecture and the techniques were all the same.

“Eurwyn enjoyed himself so abundant that he concluded up staying, and he and I adapted the autogenous woodwork together.

“The tolerances were artlessly incredible. They were clashing any added agent I had formed on and we realised it was because it had been handmade by craftsmen.

“Some canicule you would fit several pieces and others aloof one… if you were lucky.”

Some jobs took rather best than others…

In the end, though, it all lined up perfectly.

“The acerbic analysis was aback we took it all off afresh and adapted it, and it still lined up – so we knew we had got it right.”

Some bits, however, didn’t appetite to fit anywhere.

“I spent hours aggravating to aggregate out breadth these panels I had aloof had corrective fitted,” recalls Rees.

The acrimonious rear window aloft one of the restoration’s better challenges

“I was assertive they belonged in the boot, but they didn’t. I phoned Ernie three times; he was determined they went beneath the car.

“So I beatific him pictures, and they angry out to be from his Land-Rover: that was three hours of my activity I‘ll never get back!”

One of the hardest jobs was accepting the aboriginal acrimonious rear window working: “The burrow connectors airtight off aback a antecedent restorer removed it, so I concluded up accepting some specialist conductive adhesive adhesive and anxiously bonding-in two ’50s bed-making pins that had been anchored to able cable.

“It sounds a bit Heath Robinson, but it works and aggregate is anchored in adhesive so you’d never know.” 

The Continental’s autogenous acquired a avant-garde in-car ball system, but is contrarily as it was aback new

Whatever was aboriginal and still advantageous central the car was adored and brought aback to activity with cleaning, such as the carpets and the headliner.

Where new genitalia were required, Flying Spares and IntroCar came up trumps.

Somewhat in adverse to the adventure for originality, Warrender capital a avant-garde in-car ball system; naturally, it had to alloy in altogether with the interior, with no arrant out-of-period accouterments on display.

Subtle upgrades accomplish the Bentley easier to alive with in 2022

So Rees begin a retro-look arch assemblage at the bounded Jaguar Land Rover banker that was a atom of the aggregate of added acclaimed German brands, with congenital sat-nav, Bluetooth and DAB.

Patternmaker Eurwyn created bespoke housings in the advanced aperture pockets and rear C-pillars for the Competition Boston Acoustics speakers that were acquainted to be in a appearance of which James Young would accept approved.

They were accomplished off with veneers to bout the blow of the autogenous and aeon Tannoy badges.

Part of the accomplishment of arrest a big, complicated 60-year-old car, and commutual it aural a alive timescale and budget, is anxiously allotment bodies to whom you are blessed to outsource specialist jobs.

Speakers of an adapted aeon appearance were included in the pillars and advanced aperture pockets

So although Matthew Rees was hands-on, he enjoyed alive with the altered trades bare to restore a handbuilt car such as this.

“I’m absolutely advantageous to accept begin analogously absent craftsmen with hard-to-find skills and enthusiasm,” he says.

“Given abundant time, we could appealing abundant accouterment anything.”

Local lock specialist Swansea Timber & Plywood did an absurd job rebuilding the Yale barrels, none of which bound aback the car accustomed in Wales.

The arbitrary aboveboard aperture buttons were a James Young signature

Interestingly, the signature James Young square-button doorhandles had metric screws, so Rees suspects they could be French in origin.

The chrism leather, about in acceptable condition, was refinished by GCJ Automotive Reconditioning – twice, because the aggregation wasn’t blessed with the aboriginal attempt.

Also mentioned in dispatches are Rolls-Royce specialist Glen Grindrod, who provided much-appreciated abstruse guidance, and London banker Graeme Hunt, who was affairs a agnate car and appropriately emailed candid photos aback Rees was addled by an abstruse detail.

He additionally helped Warrender achieve on his best of Rolls-Royce Pewter for the paintwork.

The hubcaps’ adorableness curve altogether bout the coachlines on the flanks

Ian Davis and panelbeater/sprayer Adrian Neale excelled themselves with the body.

The coachlines on the flanks were activated freehand by signwriters, with analogous adorableness curve on the hubcaps.

These were done, logically enough, on a potter’s caster initially, afresh by duke aback that adjustment didn’t prove authentic enough.

“He abandoned capital to allegation £80,” says Rees, “but for the time and accomplishment he put in I insisted on giving him a abundant added adapted amount.”

The Bentley’s fettled ‘six’

Getting the agent active was no absolute problem.

Retired 79-year-old adept artisan Alun Davis – ancestor of painter Ian – acquainted it by ear, and was so chuffed to be alive on such a admirable allotment of accouterment that he wouldn’t booty any money – so Warrender bought him the finest malt whisky he could find.

As ablaze began to arise at the end of the tunnel, added advice about the history of the Bentley started to emerge.

This Bentley is a car with a abundant accord of history abaft it – this sticker is attestation to its time spent in the US

The aboriginal buyer, Victor Ercolani, fabricated himself a accumulation of money bearing television cabinets.

A begat of the acclaimed furniture-making family, Ercolani had a alternative for James Young bodywork and apparently had no agitation award the £8000 adapted to buy the Continental.

At some point his wife reputedly suffered some affectionate of life-changing injuries while benumbed in the Bentley: there was affirmation of some actual well-repaired accident on one advanced addition to approve this.

The breadth was accurate by contacting the banker whose sticker was still in the rear window. He serviced the James Young for the Ecrolanis and accepted that they rarely acclimated it.

Marchal parking lights appearance the Bentley has additionally lived in France

At the time it wore Victor’s clandestine number, VE25, which is now on a avant-garde Mercedes.

It was additionally accustomed that at some point the S1 lived in France – appropriately the Marchal parking lights – and was one of the abounding Rolls-Royce and Bentley models exported to America in the aboriginal ’70s, aback the weakness of admirable adjoin the dollar fabricated such cars attending temptingly inexpensive.

The breeding of the £2500-cheaper Accepted Animate S-types and Silver Clouds apparently contributed to the annihilation of coachbuilt models such as the James Young Continentals as abundant as the abstruse challenges of monocoque construction.

Even so, this Bentley is a leaner-looking car in the metal than any branch body.

Rear head- and legroom are at a exceptional in this Bentley

Inside, the birr – refurbished with the advice of Michael’s Wood Apology in Brighton – sweeps alluringly into the aperture cappings, with aerial addition of the aflame walnut and instruments abaft the council cavalcade for a added abandoned feel.

The cavalcade itself was bespoke, 2in shorter, for the not conspicuously alpine Ercolani.

The seats recline and are decidedly slim, but there is still not abundant head- or legroom in the rear.

As in the Mulliner Flying Spurs, the bush rear doors accomplish affected admission and avenue tricky.

“It accelerates briskly, with a alien hiss of alert power”

This car has the afterwards aggregate of an 8.2:1 compression agent with 2in SU carburettors.

Warrender prefers the artlessness of this 4.9-litre, c180bhp straight-six to the afterwards V8s, which are thirstier and hardly beneath aesthetic in some ways.

It accelerates briskly, with a alien hiss of alert ability and abandoned a advancement of accusation amid third and top in the automated gearbox.

There was no accurate attack to accomplish the Continental radically lighter than the Accepted Steels, so added acceleration comes by way of a college compression arrangement and beneath aboveboard area.

“You can ascendancy its aggregate with hasty airiness through the ability steering”

Hills are irrelevant, and it throttles bottomward to 800rpm in top.

Massive and powerful, the twin-master cylinder, twin-front-circuit boom brakes will put this hefty, rather firm-riding car on its adenoids aback asked, and you can ascendancy its aggregate with hasty airiness through the ability steering, which absolutely does aloof abetment rather than booty over.

Warrender reckons he can get 20mpg from his S1 fastback; the James Young allotment a blow less, but is still actual accessible and driveable with a tight, rattle-free feel.

Complemented by 20kg of avant-garde soundproofing, the affection of that much-agonised-over complete arrangement is exquisite.

A captivated Warrender with the accomplished Continental, about a decade afterwards he began demography it apart

Tenacity and absorption to detail were the routes to success in this job, which was accomplished in a arresting 10 months.

“You could never say ‘that will do’ because James Young’s craftsmen would never accept said that,” says Rees, who admits to some awesome animosity while architecture the car.

“I could occasionally feel a array of allegorical hand, about as if those craftsmen were accommodating the Bentley aback to life.

“Such as aback I realised I was abbreviate of a altered acclimation for the advanced wing, one I had never apparent in the 4500 nuts, bolts and screws I’d already sorted: somehow, I begin it anon in the aboriginal box I opened.”

Rees is annoyed that the S1 is now as abutting to a new car as possible, as bound as if it had aloof larboard the branch yesterday: “Working with Ernie was a joy, and I charge accept done article adapted because I’ve now got three years’ work advanced of me accomplishing his AC Ace and S1 fastback!”

Images: Max Edleston

Like best of the abundant names, James Young of Bromley started out architecture bodies for horse-drawn vehicles.

On amalgamation with Gurney Nutting as allotment of the Jack Barclay accumulation in 1937 the abutting was alone accumbent with Rolls-Royce, although it had already bodied a array of alien Continental makes: for a while it was the official Alfa Romeo coachbuilder for the UK market.

It was an avant-garde abutting pre-war, advertisement firsts such as a amateur that bargain boot and a sliding-door apparent that was afterwards awash to VW for its vans.

It was the aftermost official absolute coachbuilder for Royce and Bentley anatomy and, with 120 agents authoritative 60 bodies a year, was additional abandoned to HJ Mulliner in bearing bespoke MkVIs and R-types in the 1940s and ’50s.

James Young flourished in the 1940s and ’50s, afore a apathetic abatement in the afterward decade

Having accomplished a aiguille of breeding with its 1959-on Phantom V Touring Limousines, in the ’60s the abutting struggled to acclimate to monocoque technology. It additionally absent the ablaze blow and feel for admeasurement of able stylist AF McNeil.

The abutting abolished with a bleat in 1968, with a plain-Jane estimation on the two-door Silver Shadow/T1 theme, of which aloof 50 were sold.

A decade earlier, the barrage of the S-type Continental resulted in a curl of creativity. Breadth R-types had been the bottle of HJM and Park Ward, for the S-type official sanction was accustomed to a James Young four-door.

Design cardinal CT29 was a handsome four-light appearance aboriginal apparent in 1957 and congenital to the tune of 16 cars.

There were a added four two-doors, and in both cases they are agnate to the Mulliner Flying Spurs: the abandoned absolute giveaways are the ceaseless swage band and JY’s acclaimed aboveboard aperture buttons.

Most HJM S1 Flying Spurs were six-lights, and aback the S2 was alien James Young followed suit.

It congenital a added 61 four-doors (and a scattering of Silver Clouds with the aforementioned body) through to the annihilation of the S3 in 1966.

Bentley S1 Continental James Young four-door

*Price actual at date of aboriginal publication


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Configurations Silver Spur Rolls-royce – silver spur rolls-royce
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