1961 Bentley S2 Continental becomes rarest of retro-electrified cars
Since its founding in 2018, British firm Lunaz Design has been resto-modding classic cars into some truly magnificent all-electric creations. This month, the company really outdoes itself, introducing what it calls the rarest car to ever be converted to electric power. The coach-bodied 1961 Bentley S2 Continental at the heart of the conversion is one of a handful ever built. Lunaz swaps its classic aluminum alloy 6.2-liter V8 for a state-of-the-art 400-hp electric drive and makes it a true one-of-a-kind.
Bentley built nearly 2,000 S2 cars during the model's run between 1959 and 1962. At the time, it was still possible to pair a rolling chassis with a special body coach-built by the masterful experts at shops like H.J. Mulliner & Co. and Park Ward. This particular example wears a two-door body coach-built by James Young atop the rarer Continental-specification S2 chassis, and Lunaz defines it as just one of four like examples ever built.
As Lunaz details, after its initial commission in 1961, this S2 Continental was then sold in 1967. It went on to change hands several times, traveling to Germany and Japan before eventually finding its way back to the UK.
Somewhere within the car's history of Continental spec, James Young two-door body and simply still existing in 2023 lies Lunaz's claim of the model being the rarest to ever be fitted with a modern EV powertrain. And the British electric upfitter turns it from one of a few to one of one by trading out the original V8 powertrain for the modular electric hardware it specs individually to each car into which it breathes new life. In this case, the electric drive puts out 400 bhp and 530 lb-ft (298 kW and 719 Nm).
The newly modernized Bentley can sprint from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 6.9-seconds, and Lunaz installs a modern adjustable coil-spring suspension so the first flick of the steering wheel doesn't send the body into a wobble like that of a half-tranquilized elephant. The driver can adjust the suspension system electronically from the cockpit. The company also adds regenerative braking, along with six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers.
Lunaz's process also includes stripping the car to the raw metal, repairing the body down to the tiniest, most imperceptible imperfection and refinishing it in the client's hand-selected color choice. The interior is treated much the same, and Lunaz's team works with the client to identify just the right combination of upholstery, trim and colors. The focus is on sustainability inside this Bentley, and materials include FSC-certified sustainable wood veneers and carpets made from regenerated nylon and recycled plastic.
Lunaz has not specified a price for this particular electro-mod, but given the rare, one-of-a-kind air that clings to it, that matters only to the client who ultimately took delivery from the company's Silverstone production facility. The previous Lunaz electric creations we've looked at have started at a cool £350,000 (approx. US$421,550).