This powerful Bentley 6.5 litre was delivered new to Lady Cholomondley in England in 1926 and thence to a succession of owners until it was found abandoned in Rhodesia in 1960. It was restored in 1972 and then had several additional owners until it was obtained by its present owner. A total restoration was undertaken from 2004 until 2006.
This early 6.5-liter 'sport model' Bentley was the factory's choice for their team's racing cars due to its size and weight advantages. It is the last 'sports model' chassis surviving with its original coachwork intact. It has its original engine, and was the 42nd car to be delivered to a retail customer. The car was delivered on September 18, 1926, after H.J. Mulliner completed the one-of-a-kind 'Simplex Coupe' body. The coachwork is a four-window convertible with a rumble seat. The windows lower into the coachwork so as to provide full protection from the elements with the top up. When the top is down, it has the desirable 'fold flat' appearance. The mechanicals are as originally provided by the factory, including the 6.5-liter, six-cylinder, single overhead cam, four-valve, dual-ignition engine. The four-speed transmission is driven through a single-plate clutch. The car was found abandoned on a farm near Rusape, Rhodesia, in 1964, and was completely restored in the UK in 2005-2006.
It is believed that this car is the sole remaining 11-foot 'Big Six' chassis carrying its original coachwork. It also has its original engine, number FW2605. According to records, this is the 42nd 'Big Six' delivered to a retail customer, Mrs. Cholmeley of Lushill, Highworth, Wiltshire, England. Mrs. Cholmeley took possession of the car on September 18th of 1926 from Gaffikin Wilkinson & Co, Ltd. of London after it was given a body by H.J. Mulliner.
The one-off coachwork is known as a 'Simplex Coupe' drophead with dickey seat. Factory records label it as a '3/4 folding head coupe.' The body is aluminum paneling over seasoned ash framing with steel fenders.
The car was driven approximately 80,000 miles by various English owners before it was sold to South Africa in 1937. It passed through several South African owners before coming into the care of DBC member Tony Whale-Smith and Mike Simpkins of Rhodesia. It is believed that while in their care, the car was campaigned in hill climbs and other driving events. It was later abandoned in a farm field near Rusape, Rhodesia.
K. Anthony White of South Africa purchased the car in February of 1964, sight-unseen. By 1976, a full restoration had been completed, brining it back to its former glory. Since that time, the car has accumulated about 5,000 miles.
The engine retains its original and correct Smiths Bentley five-jet carburetor and its 'C' type gearbox. The headlamps are not original, but are period correct Stephen Grebel units with a Grebel spotlight.
This car has won awards at the BDC Concours at Rousham House (UK) and Amelia Island Concours. In 2008, this 6.5-Liter Bentley was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA. The car was estimated to sell for $1,200,000 - $1,500,000. As the gavel fell for the third and final time, the car had failed to find a bidder willing to satisfy its reserve. The lot was left unsold.Also photographed at :