Wed, 8th Aug 2012 13:00

Donnington Priory

 
  Lot 21
 

1946 Bentley MK VI James Young Fixed Head Coupe

Estimated at £45,000 - £55,000


Lot details
Registration No: XSV 393
Chassis No: B28AK
Mot Expiry: None

"The facilities devoted in times of peace to the manufacture of Bentley Cars are now concentrated on vital war production. At some time in the future the Bentley will again become a peace-time product. It will then be found that the experience acquired during further years of research and development in other engineering fields has been blended into a car which will excel even the rightly famed pre-war product." Advert by Bentley Motors Ltd, April 1942

The sentiments of Bentley's upbeat statement above were finally born out in May 1946 by the unveiling of its first post-war motorcar, the MKVI. A handsome four-door, four-light Saloon, it was the first vehicle ever offered by the company with factory-designed coachwork, and the first to be assembled in Rolls-Royce's Crewe facility rather than the old Derby premises. The rationalisation proved to be a popular move in the pervading austerity and of the 5,202 MKVIs produced 4,190 were clothed with the in-house body and 1,012 using coachbuilt ones.

The sizeable, X-braced chassis now featured hydraulic front brakes and independent front suspension by wishbones and coil springs. Only one length of wheelbase was offered - 10 ft. Power came from the new six-cylinder unit first seen in the short-lived MKV Saloon (of which only 11 examples were completed due to the onset of WWII). Though still 4256cc in capacity, it was an entirely fresh design, with F-Type alloy head and belt drive for the dynamo and water pump. The adjoining four-speed manual gearbox now had synchromesh on all but first gear. Standard equipment included: heater, demisters, leather upholstery, radio, picnic tables, vanity mirrors, reading lights, spare coil, reversing lights, oil level indicator and fog lamp. Wheel spats and a sunroof were optional extras. With some 135bhp on tap, the newcomer was capable of attaining in the region of 94mph flat out.

This notably elegant Bentley MKVI is a 1946 example and one of the 1,012 featuring a coachbuilt body - in this case an all-aluminium two-door Coupe design by James Young. According to the vendor, at £4,405, this was the most expensive of the hand-built options, with the Drophead Foursome Coupe by Park Ward available at £3,845 and the four-door Sports Saloon by H J Mulliner weighing in at £3,820. It was sold new to multi-millionaire S G Whitaker and a photo of it taken at Millhouse, France (complete with original registration number 'HYY 354') features on page 11 of the renowned Bentley tome 'The Cars from Crewe'. It is also referred to in Ray Roberts' book 'Bentley Specials & Special Bentleys, where it is described as 'a fine example of English coachbuilding' and no fewer than four photographs are dedicated to the design concerned.

In July 1990 the Bentley passed into the hands of Terence Andrew Morley, who two years later exchanged it for a Proteus Jaguar C-type Evocation belonging to a Dr Alexander. In 1994 the doctor exported the car to the Continent where a year later it became part of a large private collection. During the ensuing years it has undergone a careful programme of preservation and is thus "on the button" whilst "retaining the patina of originality". Indeed the vendor describes the Green/Grey paintwork as "original - good condition" and the Brown leather interior trim as "original - preserved", while viewing the bodywork, straight-six engine and four-speed manual gearbox as "very good". The Bentley is now offered for sale complete with workshop manual. The odometer currently reads an unwarranted 75,899 miles and the car will require a new MOT before returning to UK roads once more.

PLEASE NOTE: According to HPi, the UK registration number 'XSV 393' is still associated with this Bentley. However, it has formed part of a European collection for the last several years and as such does not possess a current V5C registration document.
 

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