1950 Bentley MkVI
From a deceased estate; Park Ward body; interesting history file from new; fewer than 13,000 miles on rebuilt engine; bodywork requires localised attention; nice interior; lots to like!
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. It was also the first car to be fully finished at the factory, using all-steel coachwork produced by Pressed Steel. Up to that point all Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars had been supplied in rolling chassis form for despatch to a coachbuilder of the customer's choice.
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 by leaf springs at the rear with independent coils up front.
While most of the 5,200 MkVI models produced were factory-fitted with the Standard Steel Saloon body, around 20% were sent out in chassis form to be individually bodied by specialist coachbuilders such as HJ Mulliner, Park Ward and James Young with prices from £3,500 to £4,000 – compared to £2,997 for the Standard Steel body. The chassis alone cost £1,785. The MkVI was eventually replaced in 1952 by the long-booted R-Type saloon.
As copies of the factory build sheets confirm, this particular MkVI (chassis number B.391.GT) was bodied by Park Ward and was originally black with a single gold pinstripe and a brown leather interior. Ordered by a VA White Esq. of Belfast, it left the factory in July 1950 and was first registered as OZ 658.
Mr White must have used the car hard because in 1957, when it had covered 50,000 miles, it went back to the factory for what appears to be a substantial restoration which included a full engine rebuild, a full respray in black cellulose plus much else besides.
In 1958, when it was described as being in 'mint condition' by the slippery ex-Colonel handling the sale, it was acquired by a JA Waugh Esq. of Tettenhall who was to keep it for at least 30 years, a thick file of invoices showing that it was well looked after throughout this time with regular trips to Crewe for servicing. By 1988 the car had covered c.81,000 miles, an invoice showing that the cylinder head was rebuilt at this time along with various other jobs.
Old MOTs show that it continued to be lightly used during the late 1990s, the ownership trail picking up again in 2000 by which time it was in the hands of a David King of Winchcombe who had it serviced annually until 2003 by which time it had covered another 3,000 miles.
In 2004 it was re-registered as 368 UXB and was acquired by a Nigel Brooke of Dorset who sent it to the Barracks Motor Company in Dorchester for a light restoration which included localised body repairs and a repaint in the current black and green. The bottom half of the engine was also rebuilt with a reground crank, new crankpin plugs and new bearings. The chassis/brakes/carbs/clutch were also serviced, the mileage at this point being c.84,000.
In 2009 it changed hands again and moved to Shaftesbury, the new owner keeping it until 2014 when it appeared in a local auction which is where our vendor acquired it, paying £15,000 to secure it. The catalogue stated at the time that: “The Bentley runs and drives well with good oil pressure but a little cosmetic work would be beneficial”.
A member of the Bentley Drivers Club, he had the front seats recovered in brown leather and fitted new rear wheel spats supplied by Flying Spares along with a pair of Desmo door mirrors. The brakes also received some attention and the car was in light regular use, attending various VSCC and BDC events.
On offer here from a deceased estate, the Bentley is now showing 96,779 miles and has been starting promptly and running nicely as we have moved it around on site, with good 30psi oil pressure and effective brakes. As you can see in the photos, it looks generally very presentable but could do with some localised bodywork repairs here and there. It comes with an interesting history file from new and retains its original driver’s handbook.
A most handsome car that has covered fewer than 13,000 miles since the bottom end was rebuilt, it is being offered at a modest guide price that should leave ample scope for the remedial works now required. Or you could just save your money and enjoy it as it is.
For more information contact James on 07970 309907 or email [email protected]
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