1952 Bentley Mk VI
Beautifully presented manual big-bore Bentley; the subject of a major body restoration; tool kit; Michelin tyres
The Bentley MkVI made its debut in May 1946, the firm having been hard at work towards the end of the war on plans for a new model designed to make the most of the crucial export market.
The decision was taken to produce a standard model with an all steel body – doing away with the traditional aluminium panels and ash frame of its predecessors, enabling the firm to bring the final assembly of the complete car in-house for the first time. With high volume aspirations, the body shell was farmed out to specialists Pressed Steel Ltd. in Coventry for manufacture, the completed units returning to Crewe for painting and trimming and building into complete cars.
The chassis itself was a traditional cruciform structure, with leaf springs at the rear and independent coils up front. A silky-smooth F-head 4,257cc straight-six was initially employed, later increasing to 4,566cc as fitted to this car. The Mk VI enjoyed considerable success both at home and abroad with some 5,200 cars leaving the factory before it was replaced by the largely similar R-Type in 1952.
B-407-NY was dispatched from Crewe finished in Black with a single ivory coachline and trimmed with grey Conolly hide on 17th May 1952. It’s first owner was Mr Wilkie from Surrey.
He specified that bonnet locks be fitted as a special feature and the car supplied with loose seat covers supplied in Oyler’s special dark grey cloth. It was originally registered MX 668 and Hooper and Co Ltd handled the supply, through an ‘area dealer’ Weybridge Autos Ltd. It was delivered new with a manual gearbox.
The service record shows four subsequent owners the third of which acquired the car in November 1963. It subsequently left the UK for America and by 1979 was in the hands of a gentleman from Ventura, California according to various bills on file. These include invoices from James Young Coachworks Ltd of Van Nuys, California who looked after the car, including a retrim to the seats and door panels etc and bodywork restoration to the tune of $14,000.
There is little more history relating to its Californian adventure, but by 1989 it was back in the UK now registered WSU 668. It has passed through various new owners, the previous keeper acquiring the car in 2006, selling it to the vendor in 2013 according to the accompanying V5C.
There is reference on file to an earlier engine rebuild, although we cannot exactly pin down what was done and when, the vendor adding that it is an instant starter and has always been a paragon of reliability with excellent oil pressure and plenty of go.
Mulsanne Motors of Dalkeith have serviced and maintained the car on a regular basis and the vendor used Gilbert Michelson Ltd to replace the sills and repair wing edges etc prior to a comprehensive lower half respray (photo CD on file). Bills for this work total some £12,000. In addition, the rear bumper has just recently been rechromed (£500) as well as the wheel embellishers which finish the car off very nicely.
Although exempt from such matters, it is MOT’d until September 2021, showing the mileage at that time as 88,772 miles (with just a few added since). An old MOT from 1996 shows that just 25,000 miles have been covered over the last 25 years.
It retains its comprehensive took kit underneath the dashboard, original jack in the boot, torch under the bonnet and handbook specific to the car. It has been shod with Michelin tyres which transform the handling when compared to the original fit crossplys, and look the part too.
Finished in its attractive metallic bronze two-tone livery, this Mk VI has been well cared for and recently restored so is now fit and ready for the next 69 years.
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Reg No: WSU668
Chassis Number: B407NY
Engine Number: B453N
Engine Size: 4566
Docs: V5C, MOT September 2021, 3 old MOT's, Invoices, Hand Book,
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