This 1961 Bentley Restomod Takes the EV to a New Level of Refinement

This 1961 Bentley Restomod Takes the EV to a New Level of Refinement
Courtesy of Lunaz

The Bentley S2 Continental is powered by an electric motor with 406 horsepower and 530 pound-feet of torque and has a range of up to 250 miles.

In the world's longest-running motoring event, London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, David Lorenz drove a fully electric Columbia built in Connecticut in 1902. With no weather protection and only 3.5 horsepower at his disposal, he traveled 60 miles from Hyde Park to England's south coast in torrential rain in November. 

As Lorenz’s madcap, slightly masochistic journey illustrates, electric cars are not new. By "upcycling" old cars with modern electric technology, Lunaz Design's founder hopes to connect the past to the present. As a result, he aims to build “usable, reliable and sustainable” classic cars, he says. 

The all-electric 1961 Bentley S2 Continental restomod of Lunaz. Courtesy of Lunaz

A stone's throw from the Hamilton Straight at Silverstone circuit in England, Lunaz is a homegrown British classics shop. Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and Phantom V are among the vehicles that have been converted to electric power by the company, along with Jaguar XK120s, Aston Martins' DB6s and Range Rover Classics. A large proportion of orders come from the US, and production has ramped up to nearly two cars per week.  

“This all stems from a love for classic cars,” Lorenz explains as he shows me around the production facility. “I was inspired by Elon Musk and how Tesla broke the automotive mold.” Lunaz vehicles are taken back to a bare shell, then rebuilt to “concours standard”. An electric power train replaces the engine and transmission, and the chassis has been upgraded to handle it.

This 1961 Bentley S2 Continental is one of only four two-door sedans bodied by London coachbuilder James Young.


A car is built to order and customized with almost unlimited options for paint, trim, and personalization. “Some of the interesting requests we’ve had include a cigar humidor, a screen to display NFTs and a drinks cooler for a specific bottle of tequila,” Jen Holloway, former Q designer at Aston Martin, reveals.

Among the four Bentley S2 Continental restomods bodied by London coachbuilder James Young, I'm driving one of four that are particularly special. Lorenz calls it "the rarest vehicle ever converted to fully electric propulsion". The whereabouts of the other three cars are unknown. 

Courtesy of Lunaz

Rather than the factory-fitted 6.2-liter V-8, Lunaz installed an 80 kWh battery and two rear axle motors. The Bentley can cover zero to 62 mph in 6.9 seconds with 406 horsepower and 530 ft lbs of torque, both significantly more than the original engine could handle. Depending on how “spirited” you drive, the range can range between 180 miles and 250 miles. 

Courtesy of Lunaz

There are six-piston calipers at the front and four-piston calipers at the rear fitted to the existing suspension. The original car featured only drum brakes, which were electronically adjustable.  

The Bentley looks black in photos, but its deep paintwork reveals a subtle green tint in the stark winter sunshine. With broad shoulders, flowing fenders, and an elegant glasshouse with thin pillars, this machine is both sportsy and statesmanlike. A classic car with green flash license plates seems a bit out of place, too, since they are reserved exclusively for electric vehicles in the UK. 

Depending on driving intensity, the range can range from 180 miles to 250 miles. Courtesy of Lunaz

Apparently, Rich Report is of the opinion that the interior of this S2 Continental is similar to the interior of the car when it left Crewe six decades ago. Lunaz has restored the walnut dashboard and leather seats, and the Bakelite steering wheel and chrome toggle switches remain intact. One of the custom dials features a slide-out infotainment touchscreen and a digital display. Only the tequila fridge is missing.

With a wheelbase longer than an original Mini and an enormous rear overhang, the Bentley feels surprisingly small when you drive it today. It's a huge car with a huge wheelbase. As you drive through the narrow lanes that snake around Silverstone, it feels rather intimidating at first. The huge, thin-rimmed wheel feels light, but vaguer than a politician's promise, and it requires a lot of twirling.

Lunaz has restored the walnut dashboard. Courtesy of Lunaz

As I become accustomed to its laid-back demeanor, I begin to enjoy it. Like all electric cars, it is easy to drive, with two pedals and an easy column shift. Avon tires help make the ride as comfortable as you'd expect, and the beefy brakes feel reassuring - you can increase regen to drive one-pedal.

S2 Continental's long prow and "Flying B" hood ornament make it seem like a thoroughly aristocratic car when parked at SUV height. With its single-speed transmission and EV refinement, the car makes smooth, unruffled progress, while its ample torque from the electric motors picks up speed quickly. It has always been marketed as a car for those who love to drive. Rolls-Royces were purchased if you had a chauffeur.

An S2 Continental feels thoroughly aristocratic with its long prow and "Flying B" hood ornament. Courtesy of Lunaz

Lunaz's electric Bentleys start at around $475,000, but the cost depends greatly on the donor car, including this S2 Continental, which costs more than $60,000. There is no doubt that, in this case, converting a classic car to electric is a perfect match for the vehicle's character, despite some questions about the ethics of it. Considering how history might have played out, I believe Bentley would have chosen an electric vehicle if the electric era had arrived much sooner.

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