8 September 2014

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Lot 144

1948 Bentley Mark VI Three-Position Drophead Coupé by James Young

  • Chassis no. B267DZ
  • Engine no. B383D

£175,000 - £225,000

132 bhp, 4,257 cc inline F-head six-cylinder engine with twin 1¾-in. SU carburettors, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with hydraulic shock dampers, semi-elliptic rear springs with controlled shock absorbers, and hydraulic front and mechanical rear servo-assisted drum brakes. Wheelbase: 3,048 mm

  • Wonderful and elegant James Young custom coachwork
  • A well-known example with known ownership history
  • Original chassis, engine, gearbox, and coachwork
  • Freshly restored
  • Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club chassis cards and documentation

The Bentley Mark VI was introduced in 1946 as the first post-war Bentley of Rolls-Royce design. Rolls-Royce survived the war in somewhat good health, as it produced aero engines for the Royal Air Force, along with other engines for military vehicles. The first Bentley Mark VI was delivered to its owner in September 1946, which was just 16 months after VE Day. It was powered by a new 4.3-litre, F-head, six-cylinder engine that featured overhead intake, side-mounted exhaust valves, and an aluminium-alloy cylinder head.

The Mark VI was also the first Bentley with standard factory-designed bodywork built by the Pressed Steel Company, of Oxford, with ex-Gurney Nutting Chief Designer John Blatchley applying the refined detailing. The bodies were fitted to the chassis and trimmed and painted to a standard that rivalled the best coachbuilders. Custom coachwork, like that on this car, remained available at the buyer’s discretion. This was quite a change in philosophy by Bentley’s parent company, yet it reflected the reality that standardised bodies could be built in greater numbers at its new factory in Crewe, England. The Mark VI was both a lovely and stately automobile, and it also boasted a separate chassis that featured coil-spring independent front suspension, which was quite an engineering advance in its day.

Exactly 99, or about two per cent, of the total 5,201 Mark VI chassis were consigned to coachbuilders for special bodies. The car offered here was one of two hundred nine Mark VIs delivered to James Young Coachbuilders, the well-known Bromley, Kent, facility which was known for their exceptional bodywork fittings, especially their elegant door hinges and handles, and for the exquisite trim details on their bodies.

Chassis number B267DZ was ordered in 1948 by H.G. Barlow, Esq., of Allied Leather Industries in London, through prominent London dealer Jack Barclay. The chassis was delivered to James Young late in 1948, and the completed car was accepted by Mr. Barlow, carrying registration number LXD 678, on 3 January 1951.

The car passed through three further English owners before travelling to the U.S. in 1970 and coming into the ownership of Edward A. Adolph, of Florida and Connecticut. This example is well known amongst Bentley cognoscenti, as it was prominently pictured in a colour plate on page 307 of Bernard L. King’s marque reference, Bentley Mk. VI.

This Drophead Coupé has recently undergone a full, show-quality restoration by Black Horse Automotive Services, of Bridgeport, Connecticut. It is finished in a well-chosen glossy black paint, which enhances its charming lines; a correct and multi-position black bonnet; a lush, saddle-tan full leather interior; and gleaming walnut veneers, and the result is a fusion of the best of all worlds: elegance, function, and documentable history. Above all, this car represents an authentic and quite desirable package which all British car enthusiasts recognise, as it is a remarkable example of the venerable Bentley marque.


Please note that this Bentley is titled as 1951. Factory records indicate that the chassis was completed on November 25, 1948, though the car wasn't delivered until January 3, 1951.

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