1950 Bentley MkVI Mulliner Sports Saloon
From a deceased estate; few owners, the current for
47 years; well-maintained with large history file; valuable number plate; lovely
patina and runs like a Swiss watch
Launched in 1946, the MkVI was the first post-war Bentley
to come out of the Rolls-Royce factory in Crewe – which had been flat out for
the previous six years making Merlin engines for the war-winning Spitfire. Power
came from a beautifully smooth 4.25-litre straight six engine with twin SU carbs
and aluminium cylinder head that was good for 95mph. Drive was sent to the rear
wheels via a four-speed manual gearbox (floor-mounted to the right of the
driver) with single plate clutch. Servo assisted drum brakes provided the
stopping power while suspension was independent with coil springs. The MkVI was
eventually replaced in 1952 by the long-boot R-Type saloon.
Most of the 5,200 MkVI models produced were factory-fitted
with a Standard Steel Saloon body that cost £2,997 at launch, but around 20%
were individually bodied by coachbuilders such as HJ Mulliner, Park Ward and
James Young with prices from £3,500 to £4,000. The chassis alone cost £1,785.
This particular car is one of around 100 Mulliner-bodied
MkVI saloons with the graceful semi-razor edge styling that was just coming into
fashion at the time. Considerably lighter and stiffer than the Standard Steel
Saloon, it benefitted from the aircraft construction techniques that Mulliner
had perfected during the war years, with much of the framework in cast aluminium
and most of the outer panels in aluminium sheet.
As a copy of the original build sheet confirms, chassis
B494FV was completed in October 1949 and despatched to HJ Mulliner of Fulham
where it was fitted with Special Six Light Sports Saloon coachwork with a Tan
leather interior. Originally painted Black, it was almost immediately repainted
in two-tone Sand over Sable. The finished car was delivered to first owner
Dudley C Page of Weybridge via G Kingsbury & Sons of Hampton in March 1950
with the registration number OPC 2 which remains in place to this day.
The original buff logbook shows that Page kept the car
until 1958 when ownership transferred to Edward Russell Lloyd of
Burton-in-Wirral and then in the mid-1960s to Dr JC Macaulay of Shrewsbury who
kept it until March 1973 when our vendor acquired it from Wrexham Road Garage in
Whitchurch – so it has effectively had just four owners from new, the current
for 47 years.
A good file of invoices from 1965 onwards detail
meticulous upkeep over the years including an engine overhaul by Bentley Motors
of Crewe in April 1965 when a new set of pistons were fitted. In 1978 the car
was sent to Scott-Moncrieff of Leek where it received a full bodywork
restoration and a bare metal repaint in white. The headlining was also replaced
using West of England cloth, the interior woodwork refurbished, much of the
wiring renewed and the rear lights modified to incorporate flashing indicators.
In latter years the car has been maintained by Broughtons
of Cheltenham, the most recent service being in April 2011 which included a
brake overhaul and a new master cylinder since when the car has only covered
around 800 miles. Always kept garaged in the current ownership, the car appears
sound and straight, the doors open and close nicely, the interior is mainly
original and is pleasingly worn. The paintwork is past its best being somewhat
microblistered here and there, but that could be just the excuse you need to
return it to its original Sand over Sable colour scheme.
A much-loved family member, OPC 2 has always been in light
regular use, including tours of France and the Scottish Highlands and has
provided suitably regal transport at various family weddings. Very little used
in recent years, it nevertheless started promptly and ran like a Swiss watch as
we moved it around for these photos, although a precautionary check-over would
be advised before any long journeys are undertaken. On offer here from a
deceased estate at a very modest guide price, this rare coachbuilt Bentley comes
with a good file of history and a very eye-catching number plate which is
transferable and doubtless has a substantial value of its own.
For more information please contact James Dennison on
07970 309907 or email email@example.com