This is the last of a series of fourteen Bentley Mark VI chassis to have Pinin Farina coachwork; it was completed in October of 1951 for export to the Geneva Auto Show in Switzerland. It has lived, literally, all over the world.
Its first owner kept the car in Switzerland until his demise in 1969. It was then sold to a Swiss Collector who sold it to Frank Dale & Stepsons in 1971. It remained in their care for 15 years and was eventually imported to the United States before relocating to Japan. From there it spent another ten years back in England before arriving in the United States.
In 2011, it was restored and refinished in its original colors. The body, chassis and engine have never been separated. Thanks to the current owner, this beautiful one-off has been saved for posterity.
High bid of $200,000 at 2016 Mecum. (did not sell) The Bentley Mark Vi represented the first post-World War II development by Rolls-Royce and Bentley of a luxury car designed for owner-drivers. Sir John Black, the Managing Director of Standard Motor Company Ltd., commissioned this unique 1952 Bentley Mark VI four-passenger convertible coupe with coachwork by Mulliner of Birmingham in 1950. After acquiring the Triumph Motor Company, Sir John's Standard Motor Company worked with the coachbuilder to design and build the Triumph Razoredge saloon in 1946, from which several design elements were used on his new Bentley. Sir John's Mark VI later served as the inspiration for the design for the 1956 Standard Motors - built Triumph TR2. The signature flowing line of the Bentley's flanks can be found on both the earlier Razoredge and the later TR2. This car is the only Bentley finished by Mulliner of Birmingham after 1945.
This Bentley was completed by Park Ward on March 18, 1952. It arrived in New York on the SS Media on March 29, 1952 and sold to Mary T. Horn by J.S. Inskip on May 12, 1952. This car is one of only six Mark VI Park Ward convertibles built for 1952 with left hand drive. The current owner purchased the vehicle from a 93 year old woman who owned it for forty years. A ground-up restoration has just been completed.
Sold for $95,000 at 2016 Mecum. Production of Bentley's first postwar luxury car, the Mark VI, began in 1946 and continued through 1952. It was the first model built with all-steel coachwork and the first car fully assembled and completed at their factory. The coachwork was constructed by Park Ward, a company that was founded in 1919 by William M. Park and Charles W. Ward.
Park Ward built bodies for various car manufacturers in the early 1920s and initially became associated with Bentley after they moved their chassis manufacturing factory to a nearby town. Bentley enlisted Park Ward to complete the coachwork for the majority of their cars in the mid-1920s.
Rolls-Royce purchased Bentley in 1931, precluding Bentley purchasing a stake in Park Ward Coachwork.
With the start of the Mark VI chassis, Bentley was producing their own all-steel bodies in 4-door and 2-door saloon, and 2-door Drophead Coupe configuration. They also produced a bare chassis for custom coachwork to satisfy customer's individual requests.
This particular example is a Drophead Coupe with coachwork that was built by Park Ward. It is one of only 27 examples produced. When it was built, it was the most expensive production car and the fastest 5-seater in the world.
This Drophead Coupe is finished in tan with brown fenders and skirts with red pin-striping. It has chromed Flying B mascot, fender mounted mirrors, chrome bumpers and bumper guards and chrome grille. It has left-hand drive configuration and the interior features gray leather upholstery with contrasting piping, wood grained dashboard, window sills, defroster and Smiths gauges. The car is powered by a 4.2-liter inline-6 cylinder engine mated to a 4-speed manual transmission controlled by a column-mounted shifter. By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2016
Sold for $198,000 at 2017 RM Sothebys. There were 57 examples of Park Ward's drophead coupe, design number 99, built on the Bentley Mk. VI, with bodies constructed of corrosion-resistant and lightweight aluminum panels. Just 12 of these were given left-hand-drive configuration from the factory, including this particular example. It was supplied on March 27th of 1952 to Mrs. Ariel P. Hall of Marblehead, Massachusetts, via Boston's Foreign Motors. Mrs. Hall was a harpist, who - years later - traded it in for a Cadillac while in Houston on a concert tour.
The second recorded owner is Alex Cameron III of Houston, Texas. In late 1956, it was advertised for sale in a local newspaper, and purchased by Harold Block of El Paso. He used it regularly for the next seven years. At the time, it had registered about 30,000 miles. He kept the car for several decades, driving it occasionally but mostly keeping it in storage. Between 1974 and 1978, he had the Bentley restored and finished in a color scheme of silver taupe over black, with complementary upholstery.
In 2014, at the age of 76, Mr. Block sold his Bentley after seeing the odometer tick over to 100,000. The car was purchased by Mr. Orin Smith.
The car has the correct and rare Lucas R-70 headlamps with their Bentley 'B' insignia, single left-hand exhaust pipe, and the correct clock mounted in the right-hand 'cubby door.' By Daniel Vaughan | May 2017
Sold for $253,000 at 2017 RM Sothebys. This chassis was ordered through the Geneva agent, S.A. Garage de L'Athénée, by Monsieur A. Walter Gemuseus of Zurich. It was given coachwork by Swiss coachbuilder Hermann Graber of Basel. Special features requested included a steering column in the lowest possible position, a metric speedometer, 'no horns or fog lamp,' double-filament headlights, and a special Swiss long-wave radio.
The car was delivered to Monsieur Gemuseus on 1 June 1952 and it wore 'two-seater coupe' coachwork. At some point in its life, it was converted into the cabriolet coachwork that it wears today.
The ownership history of the car includes residing in the care of Mr. Singh of California, who later sold it to Gene Epstein in the early 21st century. Mr. Epstein treated the car to a ground-up restoration, and refinished in the body in forest green and black two-tone. The interior features tan leather upholstery. The driver's door contains a cubby with two crystal decanters and four glasses, while the luggage compartment contains proper sets of hand and road tools, a period Norelco Sportsman electric razor in its original box, a Coracle wicker picnic hamper with full complements of flatware and plastic food boxes, and a three-piece set of period fitted luggage. By Daniel Vaughan | May 2017
In 1946 Bentley introduced the Mark VI which stayed in production until 1952 with just over 5200 examples being produced. The Mark VI's were large and impressive four-door automobiles. This marked the first automobile completely constructed by Rolls Royce and signified their desire to move towards a 'standardized' body construction. Prior to this, Rolls Royce and Bentley provided a rolling chassis to coachbuilders. The vehicle was then outfitted, often under the direction of the individual buyer. This meant that the specifications often varied and each creation was a unique design. The Standard Steel Saloon body was produced at Pressed Steel's factory and delivered as a shell to the Rolls Royce factory. The body was then fitted to the chassis. It then received paint, lights, and chrome. The headlamps were no longer separate units but were integrated into the front wings. The interior was the final step in the build. It was outfitted in leather from Connolly and walnut veneer. Prior to 1949, all models were right hand drive and right side floor shift, which suited the British market. From 1949, the Bentley Mark VI was equivalent to the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn. Their biggest difference was in their performance, with the Bentley the clear champion.
A sunroof and rear wheel spats were optional equipment. Later, the sunroof became standard on all Bentley Mark VI models.
The Bentley Mark VI saw very few changes during its six year production life span. The most significant change was the adaptation of an enlarged engine which was introduced in 1951. The 4566 cc (4.5 liter) engine did improve the performance of the vehicle.
Four thousand of the Mark VI's were outfitted with a F-Head 4257 cc (4.25 liter) inline-six cylinder engine with twin SU carburetors, and aluminum cylinder head. Power was sent to the rear wheels courtesy of a four-speed manual gearbox with single plate clutch. Top speed was achieved around 94 mph. Servo assisted Drum brakes provided the stopping power and the suspension were independent with coil springs.
Around 1000 of the Bentley Mark VI's were sent to individual coachbuilders. Some of the notable coachbuilders were H.J. Mulliner, James Young, Pinin Farina, Franay, Park Ward, Saoutchik and Facel. Their designs included custom sedans and convertible, also referred to as dropheads.
These rare creations were given additional attention to detail to satisfy their exclusive clientele. In modern times, they are highly sought after.
Four thousand Bentley Mark VI's were created with the 4257 cc engine with 832 examples being outfitted by coachbuilders. 1202 Bentley Mark VI's were created with the 4566 cc engine with 180 examples being outfitted by coachbuilders.
The Mark VI was succeeded by the R-Type Bentley. Many of the Bentley Mark VI's have not survived, this is mostly attributed to their poor steel quality of the early postwar years which results in rust. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006
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