1951 Bentley Mark VI

1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI
Fixed Head Coupe
Coachwork: Park Ward & Co.
This 1951 Bentley Mark VI Park Ward Fixed Head Coupe is a rare left-hand drive example of this popular body style. This low-mileage specimen was originally delivered to Sweden where it saw limited use.

It found its way to the U.K. and then on to the U.S., where it has recently been restored as required. This is the only time it has ever been shown, and the likelihood of further appearance in the U.S. is small, as it will become part of a significant private collection abroad.
1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI
Coachwork: Hooper
Chassis #: B-213-LH
Sold for $17,600 at 2004 The Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction.
Sold for $24,570 at 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields at The Quail Lodge, Resort & Golf Club.
This 1951 Bentley Mark VI with coachwork by Hooper was offered for sale at the 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields auction held at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California where it was estimated to sell between $16,000 - $20,000. This would seem like a bargain for a car with Hooper coachwork, wearing the prestigious Bentley name, and in a bodystyle that is accommodating for many passengers. The final selling price did reach a value higher than the estimated value, selling for $24,570.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2007
1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI
Fixed Head Coupe
Coachwork: Park Ward & Co.
Chassis #: B181HP
Engine #: B215H
There were 5202 examples of the Bentley Mark VI constructed with 4190 of those being constructed with the Standard Steel configuration. Many were given bodies by the factory but a few were left for custom coachwork by outside builders. Many of the custom coachbuilt bodies were handled by the Park Ward & Company. The company was established in 1919 by William McDonald Park and Charles W. Ward. They were located in Willesden, London. Their first Bentley custom coachbuilt body by Park Ward was constructed in 1923. When Rolls-Royce gained ownership of Bentley, Park Ward became the prominent coachbuilder for Bentley automobiles. More than half of all Derby Bentley's were bodied by Park Ward.

In 1939, Rolls-Royce purchased the Park Ward Company and became the coachbuilder's sole customer. As such, most of the custom coachbuilt Bentley's were also clothed by Park Ward.

This 1951 Bentley Mark VI Coupe has a custom built body by Park Ward. It is powered by a 4257-cc F-head six-cylinder engine that is matted to a four-speed manual gearbox.

Park Ward bodied 16 of these Fixed-Head Coupes on the Mark VI chassis. This car spent its early life in Sussex, England before being sent to the US in the 1960s. During the 1970s it was a regular entrant at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. It participated in the 2004 Pebble Beach Motoring Classic where it completed the 1000 mile journey without issue.

This car was estimated to sell for $75,000-$125,000 at auction and was offered without reserve. On auction day this magnificent vehicle failed to meet the estimated value but was sold non-the-less. It was sold for $56,100.

By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007
1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI
Empress Coupe
Coachwork: Hooper
Chassis #: B92HR
Engine #: B46H
Sold for $104,500 at 2014 RM Auctions - Automobiles of Arizona.
Sold for $171,976 (£103,600) at 2014 RM Auctions - London.
This 1951 Bentley Mark VI Empress Coupe with coachwork by Hooper was offered for sale at the 2007 Christie's Auction of 'Exceptional Motor Cars at the Monterey Jet Center.' It is finished in Brewster green with a green leather interior. Power is provided from the six-cylinder engine with pushrod inlet overhead exhaust valves and twin 1.5-inch SU carburetors. The gearbox is a four-speed manual unit with synchromesh on the top three ratios. Braking is from the servo-assisted hydraulically operated drums in the front and mechanical drums in the rear.

The Bentley Mark IV was a very popular car, with the standard steel saloon bodies selling in larger numbers than any other Rolls-Royce or Bentley up to that era. This example has a custom body creation created by Hopper and is believed to be one of only three MKVI's built in two door coupe configuration. It has resided in the same collection for the past fifteen years. While in the owners care, the engine has been properly rebuilt, and a complete restoration was performed in the late 1990s.

At auction this car was estimated to sell for $65,000 - $85,000 which would be a bargain price considering the restoration cost around $100,000 to complete. It has traveled only a few miles since that time, and its restoration still appears to be very fresh. Sadly, the reserve was not met and the vehicle was left unsold.

By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007
1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI
Coachwork: Radford
One of nine 'estate car saloons' built by Harold Radford Limited of Park Royal, North West London (a stone's throw from the Guinness brewery) on the Bentley Mark VI chassis. Radford was founded only in 1950 and in 1958 was bought by the Swain Group who already owned coachbuilder Freestone & Webb. Radford hit the headlines with its series of customized Minis in 1963 known as the Mini de Ville, at least one of which was bought by Peter Sellers for Britt Ekland.
1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI
Facel-Metalon Coupe
Coachwork: Facel Metallon
At the end of 1946, the Mark VI Bentley appeared, bearing a new engine of 4.25-liters featuring overhead inlet and side exhaust valves. At the instigation of M. Jean Daninos of the Forges et Ateliers de Construction d'Eure et de Loire - or FACEL for short - the Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina produced the first Cresta Bentley on the Mark VI chassis, which was shown at the Paris Salon in 1947. A limited run of 16 cars were then built by the Facel-Metalon company in Paris. Facel-Metalon later produced this special coupe for M. Daninos' wife, and it became known as the 'Baby Cresta.' In 1954, the Facel Company launched its own car, the FVS and the similarity between this coupe and that first Facel Vega is very clear.
1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI
Drop Head Coupe
Coachwork: Park Ward & Co.
Chassis #: B79LKL
Sold for $249,696 (£121,000) at 2007 RM Auctions - Automobiles of London.
Sold for $192,500 at 2010 RM Auctions - Sports & Classics of Monterey.
The Mark VI was the first Bentley to be built using regular production steel bodies from Pressed Steel Company. Many of Bentley's clients demanded an exclusive design, resulting in a series of custom body designs built by H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward, Freestone & Webb, James Young, or Hopper. Other coachbuilders, such as Franay, Graber, Radford, and Windovers produced one-off bodies. It is believed that Park Ward produced a total of 167 bodies for the Mark VI, in open and closed coupes and saloons.

This Parkd Ward Drophead Coupe is one of only twelve Bentleys sold in the United States in 1951. It was ordered as a left-hand drive by Howard D. Kizer of Montlcair, New Jersey. It was shipped aboard the SS Mauretania, departing from Southampton on July 4th, 1951 to be received in New York City by J.S. Inskip. Kizer sold the car in 1953 to Dr. Ivor Harris of Detroit Michigan. Mr. Harris retained the car for two years before selling it to Richard Stitt in Illinois, who later sold it to Geoffrey Field in 1959.

By the 1980s, the car was back in New York and in the collection of Philip Wichard, who had purchased the car form the widow of the previous owner. In 1990, the car was cosmetically and mechanically restored at a cost of more than $175,000. Afterwards, it received a National First Prize at the AACA National meeting in Hershey, PA and honored as the Senior Winner by the Antique Automobile Club of America in 1991.

After Wichard's death in 1995, the car was sold at auction. It was acquired by Bernie Ecclestone and shipped to Pichler Cars in Gstaad, Switzerland. The car remained in the collection until 2007, when it entered the care of its current owner.

The car is painted in metallic mauve over cherry red paint. There are trafficators and a burgundy, power-operated Haartz cloth top.

In 2010, the car was offered for sale at the Sports & Classics of Monterey presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $175,000 - $225,000. The car would leave the auction unsold, after a high bid of $115,000 failed to satisfy the car's reserve.

By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2010
1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI
Coupe DeVille
Coachwork: Franay
This one-off Bentley Coupe Deville, which was commissioned by Rolls-Royce, featured a Cabriolet style hard-top roof with a retractable front section, which left the rear seat area covered with closed-quartered side panels. The 1951 Bentley Mark VI chassis was built for display at the 1951 Paris Salon and was applauded as the best built, best handling car Rolls-Royce Bentley had ever produced. Coach builder Franay Freres capitalized on two decades of French styling experience to produce seven Mark VI chassis between 1946 and 1952. This example was purchased at the 1951 Paris Salon by Aristotle Onassis for his wife Athena. The early MK VI chassis was powered by a 4.25-liter, F-head, six-cylinder engine and, after 1951, by a new 4.5-liter engine producing a robust 150 horsepower delivered through a four-speed gearbox.

This vehicle has 64,550 miles on the odometer and has been in the Nethercutt Collection since 1969. It sold new for $7,500.

1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI 1951 Bentley Mark VI
Chassis #: B196LJ
This Bentley Mark VI Coupe 4 Door was purchased by its current owner in 1972 with 29,800 miles on the odometer. The vehicle was driven 400 miles before removing chrome and repainting the Bentley in original colors. It was then garaged and placed on blocks until 2010. Beginning in 2010, all the wood interior pieces were removed, stripped and refinished. The chrome (in wrappings from 1973), were refinished, along with wood interior pieces. Door felts, window felt and welting on front fenders and grill were replaced. The engine, brake system, and mechanical components were re-serviced as needed. All of the leather surfaces were recovered with Connolly leather. New English wool carpets and headliner were installed. Since the work was completed, the vehicle has been driven just over 100 miles.
By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2015
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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Price Comparison

1951 Mark VI
1951 Bentley Mark VI Base Price : $9,900

Model Year Production

1956Chevrolet (1,567,117)Ford (1,408,478)Buick (572,024)
1955Chevrolet (1,704,667)Ford (1,451,157)Buick (738,814)
1954Ford (1,165,942)Chevrolet (1,143,561)Plymouth (463,148)
1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)
1951Chevrolet (1,229,986)Ford (1,013,381)Plymouth (611,000)
1950Chevrolet (1,498,590)Ford (1,208,912)Plymouth (610,954)
1949Ford (1,118,308)Chevrolet (1,010,013)Plymouth (520,385)
1948Chevrolet (696,449)Ford (430,198)Plymouth (412,540)
1947Chevrolet (671,546)Ford (429,674)Plymouth (382,290)
1946Ford (468,022)Chevrolet (398,028)Plymouth (264,660)

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