“I’ve got too many cars. I’ve lost count,” admits Jools Holland OBE, DL, musician, television presenter and classic car aficionado.
However, he is now clearing a space by offering for sale one of his three Bentleys: a rare and elegant 1964 S3 two-door convertible, which is on the bill at the Bonhams New Bond Street saleroom, in the auction house’s final motor car sale of the year on Saturday 7 December, with an estimate of £110,000 – 120,000.
Holland is parting with the Bentley after eight years of ownership, having acquired the car from a friend.
“I’d decided on a four-seater convertible. I like older convertibles and a friend had this one. I tested it and it drove so beautifully. It’s like a piano – you know within minutes whether you’ll get on with it.”
The classic car collector, who has had “a lot of ’50s and ’60s Rolls Royce and Bentleys, quite unique models, produced in low numbers” was immediately taken with the S3, which is considered a rarity, with only two convertible versions created ‘in period’ from the ‘standard’ car (although more examples of the exclusively coach built flagship Continental model were produced in ‘drophead’ form).
“I’ve used the car for going to car shows and also travelling to my own [television and radio] shows, with the hood down on a nice day – it has an electric power hood which operates pretty quickly. The great thing about ‘60s cars is that they can be used like a modern car. They’re most usable classics, they keep up with modern traffic. You can really drive them – either to the shops, or even to China,” neither of which Jools has done, although he and the S3 did take part in a Red Cross classic car rally in Holland a few years ago.
Starting life as an ‘ordinary’ S3 E-series saloon – still one of the most powerful motor cars of the period, benefitting from a powerful 6.2 litre V8 engine, and the last of the marque’s mainstream models to employ a separate chassis – this S3 was later converted into Mulliner-style soft-top by a previous owner (the exact date of the transformation is unknown).
As befitting its more flamboyant guise, the original Tudor Grey paintwork ordered by its first owner, a Captain C Roberts MBE of Yorkshire, was replaced by a Mason’s Black finish with a matching mohair hood, and the green interior trim replaced with tan hide.
In addition to power steering and a four-speed automatic transmission, the Bentley’s other luxurious features include air conditioning, front seat belts (not standard issue at the time) and walnut picnic tables in the rear of the front seats. There is also a more modern Kenwood stereo/CD player. However, perhaps unusually for a musician – although normal practice for a proper petrolhead – Jools tends not to listen to music except in a modern car. “I listen to Bach, which is good driving music – but music is a distraction in a classic. I’d rather listen to the music of its engine.”
The most remarkable attribute of this Bentley is its mileage – the odometer reads circa 58,000 miles, a little over 1,000 miles driven per year in its lifetime. As the car’s catalogue entry describes it, it has been used sparingly in recent years, one reason for its owner deciding to let it go.
“I have three Bentleys – that’s too many – and other convertibles and fast cars, not just British but German and US cars too. You have to exercise cars regularly, like a dog.”
The Bonhams Bond Street Sale takes place at 2.30pm tomorrow, with viewing from 9am. The online catalogue can be viewed at bonhams.com.
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