Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club - for Rolls-Royce and Bentley Enthusiasts

H J Mulliner Design No 7401 & 7412 for the Bentley S Type chassis and Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud chassis

by Davide Bassoli

 

 

1955 Bentley S Type chassis B216AN with body design n° 7401. This was the photo used in the H J Mulliner catalogue. It was the first car built to this design and was used like trial car by H J Mulliner.

Construction

A four door body of all-metal light alloy framework with a steel floor and the panelling in rustless aluminium. The front doors are hinged on the forward edge and the rear doors on the hind pillars for easier access to the interior, all on concealed hinges. The main door windows all drop and there are front swivel windows and hinged quarter windows for extra ventilation. Particular attention has been given to dust sealing of the whole car and special sections of rubber have been employed to the windscreen and door opening etc.

Seating

This most important part of a luxury car has been given the greatest thought by our designers. The standard style of trimming known as Renillum allows a border around the top and outside of each squab and cushion to hold the occupant firmly in the seat, and fluted centre panels in the centre made to give full support to the body. The front seat is arranged so that each seat slides independently, but when the two are positioned together, three people can comfortably sit abreast. Folding armrests are provided to the inside of each front seat to line up with the outside adjustable armrests on the doors, which are shaped to form door pulls. The squabs are adjustable for rake on easily set three-position fittings. A folding armrest with concealing panel is provided to the centre of rear squab.

Period photograph of 1955 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud chassis SWA76 with body design n° 7412

Cabinet work

This is carried out in a tasteful style with solid walnut to the horizontal faces of the wood panels and figured walnut veneer to the vertical faces, all highly polished. The comprehensive instrument board is swept right round continuing into the door panels, which are decorated with light banding. A cubby hole with door and private lock are fitted in the instrument board on the side opposite to the steering and an open recess in the front of the driver. A picnic tray is fitted in the centre under the radio to slide out when in use and a built-in sliding ashtray in the centre underneath. Folding tables in polished wood are provided in the backs of the front seat and the ashtrays in the rear are shaped into the door polished wood panels. A clothes brush is nested in a recess at the side of the rear seat and also a mirror. Cigar lighters are provided in the instrument board and each side of the rear seat. Useful recesses with spring flap doors are built into the front ends of the front doors for additional accommodation.

1956 Bentley S Type chassis B24BA: photo Andrew Morris

Luggage boot

This carries a genuinely large amount of luggage and much additional space is gained by placing the spare wheel to one side on the floor of the boot with a fitted carpet cover. The tools are nested in a compartment in the rear end of the floor. The boot door is hinged at the top with spring balances and the opening of the door operates an interior light in conjunction with the side lamps.

Glass

A wide curved screen of laminated glass is fitted and the remainder of the glass is toughened except the backlight, which is laminated for de-misting.

1956 Bentley S Type chassis B38BA: photo Andrew Morriss

Locks

H J Mulliner special patent press-button door locks which have proved most reliable are fitted and the private locks are to a system allowing all locks in the car to be opened with a master key, and a duplicate key that only operates the ignition and doors, leaving the boot and cubby hole locked.

Paintwork

In cellulose of approved material, with a highly polished coachbuilders’ finish in single or dual colours to the customer’s selection.

Upholstery

In leather or best West of England cloth with headlining and carpets to tone to the customer’s choice within the range available from manufactures.

Additional equipment

Further appointment can be arranged to meet any special requirements at an extra charge such as: sunshine roof, electric operation of door windows, suitcases, sundym glass, extra floor covers and rugs, seat covers, picnic and cocktail fittings, electrically operated radio aerial.

H J Mulliner drawing for Design n° 7412/ 7401

Design 7401/ 7412 was the H J Mulliner alternative to the standard steel saloon Silver Cloud or S Type, destined for customers who still preferred individuality and the pleasure of a tailored, handcrafted car in the best English coachbuilding tradition. With a straight waistline and slightly prominent elegant rear wings, H J Mulliner inaugurated a new styling theme for the Silver Cloud/ S Type chassis, which was also used on the drophead coupés and on the fastbacks for the Continental chassis. This design has the rear suicide doors with prominent top hinges. It is funny to read on the brochure, reference to the doors “all on concealed hinges”.

 

1956 Bentley S Type chassis B36BA at the 2005 RREC Annual Rally: photo Davide Bassoli

Design 7412/ 7401 has been very important because the Flying Spur design for the Continental chassis is an evolution of it. Due to the lower radiator grille and column steering position, the shape of the Flying Spur is probably more dynamic, but Design 7412/ 7401 is more refined inside. In fact, for passengers seated on the rear seats, Design 7412/ 7401 is equipped with folding tables in the back of front seat, a clothes brush and mirror nested in a recess at the side of the rear seat and cigar lighters on each side of the rear seat. On front doors are provided also recesses with spring flap doors for additional accommodation.

In total, just four Silver Cloud Design 7412; and twenty seven S Type Design 7401 have been built.