This rare 1952 Bentley MKV1 4.5 litre Drophead Coupe is a veteran of numerous shows and rallies and is pictured in Ray Roberts' book 'Bentley Specials and Special Bentleys'.
The car is one of just 57 bodied by Park Ward to its sought after ‘design number 99’. It goes under the hammer with H&H Classics for an estimate of £100,000 to £120,000 on April 14th at Duxford, Imperial War Museum.
It was supplied new complete with a power hood to R.F. Haworth Esq of Manchester via Jack Barclay.
This well-proportioned four-seater drophead coupe with full flowing wings – was a favoured design of the good and the great and was bought by the likes of:
Introduced in 1946, the MKVI was Bentley's first post-war model. 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.
This lovely car has been extensively restored during the current ownership including a bare metal repaint, complete re-trim, rewire, suspension/brake system overhauls and rear axle upgraded to 'R-Type Continental' 3.08:1 specification.
Founded in the 1850s, Richard Haworth & Co became one of Manchester’s most successful cotton producers. A scion of the family, R.F. Howarth Esq took delivery of chassis B344NZ on 29th March 1952. One of just fifty-seven MKVI cars to be clothed by coachbuilder Park Ward to its design number ninety-nine, the handsome four-seater Drophead Coupe was finished in Moss Green with Pigskin upholstery and equipped with a power-operated hood.
Ordered from Jack Barclay Ltd of Hanover Square, W1 and issued with the London registration number ‘MUV 993’, the Bentley was supplied new via J. Cockshoot & Co Ltd of Manchester. Remaining in Mr. Haworth’s care until 1957, the MKVI is known to have belonged to G.S.C. Bishop Esq, Fattorini & Sons Holdings Ltd (an offshoot of the renowned Harrogate jewellers), S.R. Terry Esq and Mrs. I.F. Terry before migrating to America. Repatriated during 1990, the Drophead Coupe suffered an interior fire (presumed wiring related) later that decade. Photos on file show that the flames barely troubled the front bulkhead and indeed the four-seater was running and driving when it entered the current ownership during 2002.
A true Rolls-Royce and Bentley enthusiast who has owned and restored a number of Continentals (Phantom II and S-Series) over the years, the vendor entrusted marque specialist Colbrook of Peterborough with the task of stripping the bodywork back to bare metal, fabricating any replacement aluminium panels as necessary and applying numerous coats of Dark Green paint. Replacement seats were sourced from The Real Car Company and the interior completely refurbished by Sergent Autotrim of Norwich with a Mohair hood, West of England cloth headlining, Beige leather upholstery throughout and matching Wilton carpets. Derby Plating refinished much of the brightwork, while the Bentley was mechanically upgraded with a stainless steel exhaust system and R-Type Continental 3.08:1 rear axle ratio (courtesy of Norman Geeson) for more relaxed high-speed cruising.
Despatched to marque specialist P&A Wood in late 2010, the MKVI underwent an engine compression test, timing check, ignition system analysis and carburettor overhaul in a successful attempt to cure a niggling misfire (traced to an incorrect rubber top hat seal on a float bowl mounting bolt assembly). The clutch pedal was reset to remove free play, the handbrake ratchet sorted, a replacement steering box and column assembly installed, the nearside front kingpin rejuvenated, the front anti-roll bar bushes renewed and the hydraulic brake system bled. Carried out at an indicated 35,042 miles, the work took some 74.75 hours (then at £65 per hour) and cost £7,521.26.
Returning to Colbrook during May 2014 at an indicated 37,341 miles, the Drophead Coupe had attention paid to its gearbox mounting and stabiliser bushes, prop shafts, hydraulic roof rams, screen washers and rear axle shields plus a full service (£5,160.10). Further trips to Colbrook in July 2014 (37,667 miles, £1,655.94), July 2015 (38,402 miles, £408.50), March 2016 (38,662 miles, £1,915.68) and August 2016 (39,441 miles, £679.07) saw the front brakes improved, fuel pumps renewed, tappets adjusted and hydraulic roof pump/reservoir replaced etc.
Treated to a new distributor cap, rotor arm, condenser, rocker cover gasket, ignition points set, and spark plugs not to mention fresh oil, anti-freeze and brake fluid plus a full grease-up, new headlight seals and a carburetor overhaul as part of a thorough service carried out by Owen Turner’s Complete Rally Services of Bury St Edmunds in May 2020 at circa 39,900 miles, ‘MUV 993’ started readily upon inspection and ran well during our recent photography session (March 2021). Some fourteen years on from the bodywork’s renovation, there are a few imperfections to be found in the paintwork but overall the Bentley remains highly presentable. The smart interior benefits from a battery cut-out switch and seatbelts. Road registered as ‘9368 AP’ and erroneously identified as an R-Type when pictured in Ray Roberts’ book ‘Bentley Specials and Special Bentleys’, chassis B344NZ pleasingly retains its original 4566cc ‘Big Bore’ straight-six engine. An appealing touring prospect thanks to its R-Type Continental rear axle ratio, this decidedly handsome MKVI is accompanied by copy RREC chassis cards, numerous restoration photographs/invoices, servicing bills and sundry correspondence. The vendor’s last coachbuilt car and one he describes as being in ‘very good overall’ condition with regard to its engine, four-speed manual gearbox, electrical equipment, interior trim, bodywork and paintwork, ‘MUV 993’ will be much missed.