1963 S3 – 176 FGH
Chief Designer John Blatchley’s S Series proved a major success for Crewe, with strong sales on both sides of the Atlantic. Launched in 1955 with the 4.9-litre six-cylinder engine from the preceding Mark VI, the S Series gained fresh impetus in 1959 with an all-new aluminium V8 engine in the S2. By 1962 those stately lines were beginning to date, and Crewe’s design team created the S3.
The most striking difference was the switch to four headlights instead of two, and a radiator shell that was shortened by 1.5 inches. Inside, the front seats were separated and individually upholstered, while a little more legroom was found for the rear seat passenger. As higher-octane fuels were available in most of Bentley’s markets by the early sixties, the engineering team raised the 6,230 cc V8’s compression ratio in the S3, improving performance without any detriment to fuel consumption. Maximum power was 215 bhp, giving the 2,050 kg S3 Bentley a 0-60 mph time of 11 seconds and a top speed of 115 mph.
An Iconic Engine
The Bentley V8 engine in the S Series was destined to become one of the longest-lasting production engines in the world. Designed by Jack Phillips and Ronald West as a replacement for Bentley’s 150 bhp pre-war six, the original brief from Engineering Director Harry Grylls was simply: “go away and think about a 50% increase in power”. After more than sixty years of constant evolution, the all-aluminium V8 proved capable of developing a reliable 53 0bhp and 1,100 Nm of torque in turbocharged form.
The S3 saloon in the Bentley Heritage Collection is a standard steel model, with bodywork designed and produced in house. It is finished in Garnet with tan upholstery and piping. It joined the collection in 2021.
|Body||Standard steel four-door saloon|
|Engine||V8 capacity 6,230 cc. Pushrod overhead valves; aluminium block with cast iron liners, aluminium cylinder head; 5-bearing crankshaft|
|Power||215 bhp @ 4,000 rpm|
|Transmission||4-speed GM automatic transmission, hypoid final drive|
|Chassis||Steel box section x-braced welded frame, pressed steel body. Independent coil and wishbone front suspension, live rear axle|
|Dimensions||Wheelbase 312.4 cm; track 148.6 cm front, 152.4 cm rear; length 538.5 cm; weight 2,076 kg|
|Performance||Maximum speed 115 mph|