1951 Bentley MkVI Manual

From the John Malyan collection; a fine car in lovely driving order; nice number for royalty; excellent history; under 76,000 miles from new

Beautifully built in the finest Bentley tradition, the stately MkVI made its debut in May 1946 after months of painstaking development to ensure that it would pass muster on the crucial export market.

For the first time ever at Crewe, the decision was taken to produce a standard model with an all-steel body, thus doing away with the traditional handmade aluminium panels and ash frame of its predecessors. This enabled the firm to keep assembly of the car largely in-house although, with high volume aspirations, the body shells were farmed out to specialists Pressed Steel Ltd. in Coventry, the completed units returning to Crewe for painting, trimming and final assembly.

The chassis itself was a traditional cruciform structure with leaf springs at the rear and independent coils up front, a central lubrication system allowing oil to be applied to moving parts of the suspension from a central reservoir. Reassuringly powerful servo assisted drum brakes provided ample retardation.

Motive power came from a beautifully smooth 4.25-litre straight-six with twin SU carbs and an aluminium cylinder head, driving the rear wheels via a four-speed manual gearbox (floor-mounted to the right of the driver) with a single plate clutch. With a top speed of 95mph, the big saloon could hold its own with most sports cars of the day.

This splendid 1951 Bentley Mk VI, chassis B373LH was first registered TN 1 to Mr Stanley Murray of Newcastle on 5th July 1951.

The factory order reference indicates Rolls-Royce Crewe Standard Steel coachwork, finished in Tudor Grey with Red and Silver lines. On the inside, Mr Murray ordered maroon hide VM3186 with matching piping, grey headcloth and maroon carpets.

He kept the car until 1970, when it passed to a new owner at the same address.

Service bills show that it was regularly attended to by Bentley’s own service department, with considerable overhauls in 1957, 1963 and 1969 – at 21,158 miles, 36,276 miles and 40,096 miles respectively. No expense was spared.

The car was then registered to an executor before passing to Mr Gilbert of Wanstead who was to keep the car until 1985 – adding just 7,000 miles during this period. By this time, the car had been re-registered 279 HRH, the number which it still wears to this day.

Further owners continued to look after the car. By 1994 it was in the hands of Peter Press Ltd who enlisted Royale Refinishing to undertake a full respray, including attention to the headlight nacelles and base wing sections – lead loaded and then prepared for paint.

Attention was also given to the interior, including repolishing the woodwork, replacement brightwork where required, the bill for this work totalling £9,425.

Its owner also used Tim Walker Restorations for further general maintenance – clearly looking after the car with the due care and attention that it deserved.

Judging by the invoices, Peter Press Ltd were to keep the car until at least 2000, the car becoming the personal property of Frank Dale and Stepsons before passing to John Malyan in 2010.

He used David Cooper from Vintage Restoration and Maintenance to look after matters, further improving what was already a very special Mk VI. He used it sparingly, no surprise given the number of cars already in the garage, yet it remained a firm favourite.

Now offered by the Malyan family, it has a fresh ‘no advisory’ MOT which expires in April 2022 and still shows under 76,000 miles on the clock. It was driven over 140 miles to the sale and since arrival on site has simply purred every time it has been run. Lovely....

For more information - contact [email protected]

Reg No: 279HRH
Chassis Number: B373LH
Engine Number: B386L
Engine Size: 4249CC
Docs: V5C, MOT April 2022, 16 old MOT's, Invoices.

Estimate: £25,000+

Lot 41

Lot ended

Monday 17/05/2021

Hammer Price (inc. buyers premium)

£37,889
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