1966 Bentley Series III Standard Steel Saloon

This was the most aristocratic body style of the 20th century

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It was the most readily recognizable icon in the world

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The Bentley Series III (S3) was the last of the breed…

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Requiem For a Legend:  1966 Bentley Series III 

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A 1965 Bentley Series III (S3) is one of the rarest of the breed. Only 171 were built, and only a few were left-hand drive built for the US market. The Bentley was for the owner/driver that wanted to maintain a low profile.

A Bentley was secretly a super-charged Rolls Royce. Bentley was renowned for its high revs at low rpm. The Bentley Series III was the last of this classic body style. These were the most aristocratic automobiles in the world and they still are! The Bentley S3 was built from 1962 until 1965 with 1,285 built.

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The Bentley Series III differed from Series II by quad headlamps, and a lower radiator grille and bonnet. It was introduced at the Paris Motor Show October of 1962. The only difference between the Rolls Royce and Bentley from this genre was the badging, the prominent radiator grille and flying “B” mascot.

They used the same running gear and underpinnings as its sibling the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III. These magnificent motorcars were crafted entirely by hand in the grand Bentley/Rolls Royce tradition. Rare beauty, comfort and luxurious appointments were combined with impeccable coachcrafting to make the Bentley S3 the quintessential status symbol. A Bentley speaks so eloquently of its owner’s good taste.

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This is the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Series II (S2)

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Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Series III (S3)

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The interior of the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Series III

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The interior of the Bentley Series III standard steel saloon

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…there was absolutely no difference in quality or luxury

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In a classic Bentley you will enjoy one of the greatest satisfactions left in today’s world of mediocrity and mass production. The prize is a rare automobile that will age like a great Bordeaux wine…a Chateau Lafite Rothschild…1956 my favorite. It will become even more valuable than the day you purchased it new. As you drive the Bentley Series III you discretely but aggressively state your position in the world.

With proper care these magnificent automobiles will outlast its owner’s lifetime. Excellence is the norm…integrity is the guiding principle. This is the supreme satisfaction that only a carefully made, hand-crafted work of art can give.

You have purchased your share of luxury cars, you have also faced your share of disappointments. To actually appreciate a Bentley, you must experience the automobile crafted in the tradition of Rolls Royce…they both are the best there is…

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A Bentley is a relaxed, completely private world. It’s a world where supple leather, deep pile carpet, and hand-matched veneers blend harmoniously with advanced engineering. A Bentley is a sophisticated world of silence and serenity.

It’s a world where everything is aesthetically pleasing and convenient to the touch. Welcome to the understated luxury of the Bentley Series III standard steel saloon. Remember also, the Bentley is really a sporting Rolls Royce incognito in this genre. Safety…speed…and reliability were the classic Bentley hallmarks.

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This iconic body style lived previously as Series II (S2) made from 1959 until 1962, and Series I (S1) made from 1955 until 1958. Series I was the classic 6-cylinder engine, it was replaced by the 6.2 litre V8 engine for the 1959 through 1965 model years. It was classic Series III that became the last of this aristocratic series.

The Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Series III and Bentley Series III were replaced by the Silver Shadow and Bentley T Series I in 1965. This particular body style was the world’s most recognized automobiles, and remain highly collectible appreciating in value. These exemplary motorcars will live on in the hearts of Rolls Royce and Bentley aficionados forever…the last Series III Bentley was delivered in 1966.

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Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Series II

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A rare aluminium body by Mulliner Park Ward for the Bentley S3

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Leather by Connolly Brothers in the Bentley Series III

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Inside…the Bentley S3 was crafted as meticulously, using the same quality wood veneers, Wilton hand-tufted carpets, and of course, leatherwork by the renowned Connolly Brothers, as the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud series.

These elegantly refined interiors were upholstered with the same quality as fine European furniture. The Bentley S3 was as luxurious as its Rolls Royce sibling. The Bentley is the best there is when one seeks a thoroughbred automobile with sporting characteristics crafted in the artisan’s tradition of precision crafting.

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In 1878 the Connolly Brothers of England established Connolly Leather. They are renowned as the suppliers of exquisite leather for the interiors of the world’s finest automobiles. Their reputation for producing flawless leather still exists. Rolls Royce and Bentley have used Connolly leather religiously because of the beauty, durability, and longevity.

Connolly leather gained prominence in the world of luxury travel such as private jets and luxury superyachts like the Concorde and the luxury liner “Queen Elizabeth II.” Connolly earned a Royal Warrant being appointed Leather Tanners and Curriers to Queen Elizabeth II. There’s a term “Connollising” that describes their patent leather restoration process of revitalizing the typical wear & tear bringing the leather back to original condition as close as possible.

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Wilton carpet is a dense 100% imported lamb’s wool loop pile of the highest grade. Wilton patented their first loom in 1741. Their carpets were always machine woven and very long wearing.

This type of premium carpet is used exclusively in luxury prestige automobiles from Europe. Aside from Bentley… Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Jaguar, Lotus, Lexus, also high-end German automobiles such as Audi, BMW, Daimler AG, and Mercedes-Benz use this luxury carpet under foot.

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The beautiful symmetrical grain wood veneer dash was no accident. The mirror pattern when building wood veneers is a process called “book-matching” where four successive leaves are placed end to end creating a symmetrical pattern across the fascia. No short cuts are taken on any aspect of wood working.

The new Bentley Mulsanne has a total of 33 wood panels with each panel taking at least seven hours to complete. The veneers are given five coats of lacquer and three days to cure prior to hand polishing. The veneers retain their natural color, Bentley doesn’t bleach the rare woods. The entire wood working process takes about two seeks to expedite.

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Some Bentley Series III standard steel saloons were equipped with air conditioning, power windows, and seat belts. The S3 refinements included individually adjustable front seats replacing the split bench of previous models. The new front seating configuration increased rear seat legroom.

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The Bentley S3 used the new light alloy 6.2 litre V8 engine. It was fitted with twin SUHD8 carburetors, and a Lucas vacuum-advance distributor to increase fuel economy. The engine produced 197 hp @ 4,500 rpm with 450 Nm of peak torque @ 2,500 rpm.

Performance was estimated as 0-60 mph in 12.6 seconds, 0-100 rpm in 46.3 seconds, with a top speed of 115 mph. It did the ¼ mile @ 75 mph in 19.5 seconds. The engine was mated to GM’s Hydra-Matic (Flashaway) 4-speed automatic transmission.

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The same engine under the hood of the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud S3

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The Bentley S3 was built as body on frame construction. It had the luxury length of 211.7”, was 74.7” in width, and rode upon a long 123” wheelbase. The front suspension used unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, opposed piston hydraulic dampers, and a torsion roll bar.

The rear suspension was hydraulically self-leveling. It was fitted with electronically controlled piston-type dampers and single radius rods. It had hydro-mechanical power assisted front and rear drum brakes with a live axle.

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The Bentley Series III was for the driver that dared to own a legend. The beauty of a Bentley is its bespoke nature…no two Bentleys will ever be alike. A specification book followed the car through each stage of production ensuring the customer’s detailed requirements were met. Then…there was that Bentley pride in perfection…very little automation went into the 1966 Bentley S3’s crafting.

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Rolls Royce and Bentley designers always kept previous models looking as fresh as they did when they left assembly. The newly introduced model never made its predecessor appear outmoded. There has always been a styling continuity, none of the models looked out-of-place (except that homely Rolls Royce Camargue).

The legendary Bentley Series III is rarer than the Silver Cloud Series III. This generation of Rolls Royce and Bentley shared bodyshells, running gear, and underpinnings. And who would have ever thought one day Bentley would outshine the Rolls Royce!!!

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A Bentley as stated, is renowned for its high revs at low rpm. The original Bentley Boys won many victories at racetracks during the 1920’s driving Bentleys. Their most famous victories were their four successive wins in the 24-hour endurance races at LeMans in 1927, 1928, 1929, and 1930.

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Kidston & Barnato at LeMans 1930

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Woolf Barnato & Bernard Rubin  with the 4 ½ litre 1928

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Why, it was Woolf Barnato, one of the famed Bentley Boys who bet he could beat “Le Train Bleu” (The Blue Train) from Cannes to Calais AND already be seated at his favorite club located on prestigious St. James Street in London, England.

He bet 100 Pounds Sterling. Barnato covered 830 miles in 22.5 hours at an average speed of 43.4 mph. A Bentley is a proven roadcar, it was a thoroughbred among the best…’ole Woolf won the bet by the way-

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This is the infamous Bentley Blower

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The “Blue Train” Bentley Arnage Collector’s Edition Saloon

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It wasn’t until 1931 when Rolls Royce purchased Bentley, that the brand became an afterthought. The Bentley became the bastard at the Rolls Royce family reunion. The Rolls Royce always “threw shade” to the Bentley Brand.

Since Volkswagen purchased the company and BMW purchased Rolls Royce, they now became fierce competitors. The Rolls Royce no longer throws ‘ole “Big Ben” any shade here in the 21st century…both brands are running neck to neck in the race.

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The Bentley Mulsanne for 2014

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The Bentley Series III was the last of the aristocratic body style. Only 171 were built for the 1965 model year making it highly collectible. The Bentley S3 was suave and sophisticated without a lot of bling. It was designed for the owner/driver that wanted to maintain a low profile but didn’t want to sacrifice the luxury aspect.

Its powerful 6.2 litre V8 moved the Bentley S3 swiftly. Connolly leather, exotic wood veneers, and Wilton hand-tufted carpets were just a few of the 1965 Bentley S3’s luxuries. The Bentley was just as luxurious as the Rolls Royce. A Bentley never becomes a ‘used car’ it becomes a classic…

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This is the only Bentley badged Camargue in existence

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This is the ultra-rare Bentley Corniche

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Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III Mulliner Park Ward Drophead

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1966 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Series III 

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The Bad Boy’s Club presents the Turbo R 400 Mulliner Park Ward

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Bentley Turbo R 400 Mulliner Park Ward Saloon

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1958 Silver Cloud “Honeymoon Express” by Freestone & Webb

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Special thanks to Bentley UK, and Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars

3 Responses to “1966 Bentley Series III Standard Steel Saloon”

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