1960 Bentley S2 Wendler Shooting Brake with Mercedes W112 parts is a classic crossover
The Bentley S2 and Mercedes W112 modeled into a single piece of automotive art by the coachbuilding genius of Wendler
In the 1960s, the vast majority of Rolls-Royce and Bentley models featured standard bodyworks ex-factory.
That’s because in 1955, when the Silver Cloud/S-Series arrived, the two sister brands realized that factory coachwork allowed for higher production volume and increased earnings. However, the company couldn’t refuse special requests, which meant that a few wealthy customers ordered their Silver Clouds and S-Series with bespoke bodyworks.
The second generation of Bentley’s S-Series came in both standard- and long-wheelbase form, and the vast majority of them received the Standard Steel Saloon coachwork. Bentley built just 57 long-wheelbase S2 models, and only six of these got custom coachwork from new.
Enter the mystery customer who wanted a super luxury shooting brake
The headlights are from a US-spec Mercedes-Benz 300 SE of the W112 generation
Chassis number LLBA9 is one of the six long-wheelbase Bentley S2 models delivered to an outside coachbuilder. The unique vehicle was built in left-hand-drive configuration and delivered ex-factory to Wendler Karosseriebau of Germany, a coachbuilder with a long-standing tradition dating back to 1919.
No one knows who commissioned the remarkable automobile, but what’s certain is that the order was placed via New York-based dealer J.S. Inskip. The owner wanted his identity to remain hidden, so the order for LLBA9 was placed in the name of his buyer’s agent. Furthermore, factory records do not show the client’s name, and the address is listed as the New York Yacht Club.
Refused by Mercedes-Benz, he turned to Bentley and Wendler
The mystery client already had commissioned Wendler another one-off shooting brake car based on the Mercedes-Benz 300 d “Adenauer,” following Mercedes’ refusal to do it themselves. When time came to replace that car, Mercedes again refused to build an estate model based on the W112-series chassis, so he turned to Bentley to supply a coachbuilder-ready chassis.
The taillights are sourced from a 1960 Buick Skylark
Wendler then created a unique car by grafting a Mercedes W112 body onto the Bentley chassis. The coachbuilder reinforced the panels, and used many of the factory Mercedes fittings such as the lights and exterior trim. Obviously, many parts had to be made by hand to suit the new shooting brake body style and the grander scale of the chassis. The result is an intriguing motor car that seamlessly combines the DNAs of the Bentley and Mercedes-Benz brands into a remarkable machine.
A classic crossover that seamlessly combines Bentley and Mercedes-Benz bits
Somehow, the “Heckflosse” tail fins from the W112, vertical US-market Mercedes headlamps, bullet-style taillights taken from a 1960 Buick, and Bentley radiator shell all came together to form a coherent package. The car rides on whitewall tires as originally specified on the build order, and the steel wheels feature Bentley wheel covers.
The vehicle underwent a restoration to concours condition from 2012 to 2013 and was returned to its original silver-gray exterior and orange-red interior. The opulent cabin combines Connolly leather with oak trim, as well as Bentley controls and instruments with Mercedes-Benz dashboard. The dials are placed in a bespoke central fascia surrounded by oak trim instead of the typical walnut veneer, with the fine wood also adorning the windscreen surround, door tops, and cargo area floor. The extravagant shooting brake is equipped with a sunroof and a Becker Europa audio system.
Yours for $575,000
The car is said to be in excellent order mechanically, with the engine bay fully detailed to a high standard. The seller, Hyman Ltd. Classic Cars, claims that LLBA9 “drives as expected of a Bentley S2, with seemingly an even greater sense of solidity.” If you think of it, the S2 Shooting Brake combined the best of both worlds: Bentley's solid chassis and powerful 6.2-liter V8 engine with the body and interior from Germany's finest.
The fittings and switchgear look like Mercedes items, but they are all bespoke, made by the coachbuilder to mimic the factory parts
Once you realize what an exceptional car this is, the $575,000 asking price seems a bargain, really.