Lot details Registration No: DXV 460 Chassis No: B368BH Mot Expiry: July 2006
Introduced in 1946, the MKVI was Bentley's first post-war model. Aimed at the emerging 'owner-driver' luxury car market, it was closely based on the 1939 MKV (of which only fifteen were produced). Built around a massive cruciform braced chassis with independent front suspension and a leaf-sprung 'live' rear axle, it was fitted with a freshly developed 4257cc oise straight six engine mated to a four-speed manual gearbox. Capable of over 100mph when clad in the factory's understated 'standard steel saloon' coachwork, the MKVI quickly developed a reputation as a well-appointed, spacious sports saloon. However, despite the excellence of the 'basic' car, there remained a core of Bentley enthusiasts who found its styling too anonymous.
Finished in black with vermillion window surrounds and deep red leather upholstery, this particular MKVI was bodied by Gurney Nutting. The esteemed London coachbuilder's first post-war Bentley Sedanca Coupe, it appears in Rodney Steel's authoritative tome 'Bentley, The Cars from Crewe'. Reputedly selected by Rolls-Royce and Bentley for a four-month Trans-America promotional tour, it duly arrived in New York harbour on 20th October 1947 aboard the SS Mauretania. Subsequently displayed in the Foyer of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, it is not thought to have entered private ownership until purchased by a Mrs Dorothy King of Miami, Florida in July 1948. To right-hand drive specification, it only returned to the UK in 1991 since which time it has apparently had three private keepers. The subject of an older restoration, it is described by the vendor as being in very good condition with regard to its engine, 4-speed manual gearbox, electrical equipment, interior trim, paintwork, bodywork, chassis and wheels / tyres. As befits a company that (under the guidance of founder J Gurney Nutting and chief stylist A.F. MacNeil) had been crafting coachwork for W.O. Bentleys since the early 1920s, gained a royal warrant the following decade and been privileged with such commissions as the Maharajah Duesenberg Model J and Malcolm Campbell's Bluebird Land Speed Record Car, chassis B368BH's lines are flamboyant but elegant. From its sweeping front wings to its sculpted partial rear-spats via its enveloping C-posts (complete with faux pram-irons), it combines an air of luxury with one of rakishness. Inside, it retains its Gurney Nutting Ltd kickplates, a glovebox lid mounted clock, rear picnic tables, four push-release chrome ashtrays and rear vanity compartments (one housing glasses). Externally, it benefits from the retractable Sedanca roof, opening front quarter light windows, a Bentley centre spotlight (flanked by Lucas auxiliary lights) and modern trafficators. A stunning motorcar with a unique history, it is offered for sale with MOT certificate valid until July 2006.