- Fresh from a five-year rebuild
- Incredibly stylish 30s coachwork
- Great attention to detail
- Cleverly conceived and executed
- Excellent condition
Introduced in 1946, the MKVI was Bentley’s first post-war model. 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 (later 4566cc) overhead inlet/side exhaust straight-six engine mated to four-speed manual transmission. Unfortunately, the model was fatally flawed by the poor quality post-war steel used for the coachwork and by the mid-1960s there was a plentiful supply of mechanically strong, but cosmetically tatty cars that triggered the building of Bentley MKVI-based Specials, and this has continued to this day.
Ray Roberts documented this remarkable story in his two-volume book ‘Bentley Specials & Special Bentleys’. Covering specials from W.O Bentleys of the 1920s, up to the cars of the 1990s, when the book was published. If and when there is a Volume III this car would no doubt have a place in it.
Our ‘Special’ is based on a 1952 MKVI and its flamboyant coachwork was inspired by the earlier generation of WO Bentley Specials and bespoke cars of the 1930s. As such it is one of the more beautiful of the Special Bentleys having been lovingly constructed as a lifelong dream of its owner/restorer.
In order to achieve these elegant lines and maintain correct prewar proportions, and in order to accommodate the famous rolls Royce straight-eight engine, the chassis was extended forwards by over 17 inches (then reinforced) and reduced by the same amount at the rear. Not only did this significantly improve the aesthetic, but it also served to keep the pedal arrangement in the original position, along with the gearbox, without interfering with Ackerman steering principles. Even more significantly it left the all-important cruciform in place so as not to compromise the chassis inherent strength and integrity.
The rear axle was narrowed and fitted with Jaguar rear brakes while retaining the power loc 288-1 differential.
The front brakes also changed to Jaguar and fitted with ‘modern’ vacuum-driven servo as a safety feature for driving in modern conditions. Most fixtures and fittings are in stainless steel, or high chrome-content alloy steel, while 19in wheels have been fitted to give the correct period ride height and proportions.
The all-alloy body is the work of master craftsman Kevin Court, and like many of the best artisans, he is highly respected in the ‘trade’ but probably little known in the mainstream. Completed over a five-year period, all in all, the concept was completed with both impeccable style and forethought.
Five years in the design & build process, the car comes with a history file documenting the whole restoration, from the origins of the donor car to the completion of the project. Presenting in excellent condition both mechanically and bodily is on the button and ready to be enjoyed.