15th Mar, 2023 13:00

Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire

  Lot 117

1949 Bentley MkVI Special
Single family ownership since 1967

Sold for £23,625

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: AJE 884
Chassis No: B347DZ
MOT: Exempt

  • Single family ownership since 1967
  • Harry Rose fibreglass body with aluminium engine side panels
  • Built by R. J. Bradley & Sons, Motor Engineers between 1997 and 2000
  • Shortened chassis with original engine and gearbox
  • Full tonneau cover
  • Extensive history file

Introduced in 1946, Bentley's MkVI was the first vehicle ever offered by the company with factory-designed coachwork, and the first to be assembled in Rolls-Royce's Crewe factory rather than the old Derby premises. Aimed at the emerging 'owner-driver' luxury car market, the newcomer 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 (overhead inlet side exhaust valve) 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 for being a refined yet responsive drive.

‘AJE 884’ started as a 1949 Standard Steel Saloon, which the previous owner bought in 1967. The car was running and on the test drive drove well. However, the steel body had started corroding and the owner decided to remove the body in 1971, encouraged by the prospect of owning a MkVI Special. The chassis was painted and parts removed and dry stored. It was not until 1997 that more progress was made. The car had one owner between 1967 and 2015, when it was passed to his son, the current vendor. The previous owner decided on a Harry Rose Body and the chassis was shortened at the cruciform by 315mms to suit this. The engine has not been moved back and remains in the original position. Between 1997 and 2000, R. J. Bradley & Sons, Motor Engineers in Oxfordshire, built up the car. It has the original engine, gearbox, axles, wheels, steering, brakes and suspension, altered radiator grille, and petrol tank, on the modified original chassis. The details of this work are in the History File. The car had a suspension overhaul, springs altered, overhauled brakes, removal of engine for part rebuild, rebuilt clutch, refurbished cylinder head, SU carburettor overhaul, prepared and painted chassis, alloy bulkhead, fabricated radiator, radiator fan, wiring up of complete car, fitting of original radiator grille, and the manufacturing and fitting of the body. The Harry Rose body tub is fibreglass and the engine side panels are aluminium. The bonnet is in one piece and is lifted off. The bulkhead is aluminium. The windscreen is a Morgan 4/4 type to fit the body, and the seats are also Morgan. Harry Rose was a Bentley and Morgan owner, who designed and supplied fibreglass bodies for Derby and MkVI Bentleys. The trim is by All-Wheel Trim in Witney, and includes a tonneau. The car was completed in the Summer of 2000.

The vendor says the Bentley starts well, runs smoothly, moves in and out of the garage, but is in need of recommissioning as it hasn’t been on the road since 2012. The distributor was overhauled in 2017, and the dynamo in 2020. The recorded mileage since 1949 is 74,817, which is believed to be correct, although it cannot be guaranteed before 1967. There were four owners between 1960 and 1967, including an owner at Chilham Castle in Kent. More details of the many cars with Harry Rose bodies are in the book Bentley Specials by Ray Roberts. The Bradley Brothers also feature in the two books, with information on the cars they built and their racing success with their own car, which was specially built for competition use. This Bentley Special is offered with a history file containing previous MOT Tests, copies of invoices for the works, and details of the Harry Rose body, as well as the current V5C, a duplicate Brown log book from 1960, a MkVI Bentley Handbook (A 1967 Bentley Reprint in excellent condition) together with 3 sets of keys. Also included in the sale are some spare parts, including a new fuel pump, fuel pump bracket and front shock absorber, as well as the original 1949 Winged ‘B’ mascot.

For more information, please contact:
Julian Pinkster
07889 223 904


Auction: Imperial War Museum | Duxford, Cambridgeshire, 15th Mar, 2023

Established in 1993, H&H has sold some of the world's most significant motorcars and motorcycles over the past 30 years. Trusted by over 75,000 clients worldwide, we are the longest established auction house of our kind in Europe. 

An auction of classic, collector and performance motorcars to be held at the iconic and visually stunning Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Cambridgeshire. 

Bidding will take place live at the venue, online via our website, by telephone and commission. 

Parking and entry into the auction is free for auction attendees with a catalogue, available at the door. 

To enquire about entering your motorcar into the auction please call our sales office on 01925 210035, email sales@HandH.co.uk or click the Valuations For Sale button below. 

All our professional valuations are complimentary and without obligation.

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Tuesday 14th March 2023, from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 15th March 2023, from 9am

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