1948 Bentley MkVI Saloon Coachwork by H J Mulliner Registration no. SKD 559 Chassis no. B83BG Engine no. B241B
The policy of rationalisation begun in the late 1930s continued at Rolls-Royce after the war with the introduction of standard bodywork on the MkVI Bentley. Rolls-Royce's first post-WW2 product, the MkVI was introduced in 1946, a year ahead of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith. Although mechanically similar to the MkVI, the latter was exclusively a coachbuilt car, the first 'standard steel' Rolls-Royce, the Silver Dawn, not appearing until 1949. A separate chassis was retained, the same basic design being built in three different wheelbase lengths, that of the MkVI (and Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn) measuring 10' exactly. Notable features were independent front suspension and hydraulic front brakes. Powering the range was a new 4,257cc six-cylinder engine featuring 'F head' (inlet-over-exhaust) valve gear that permitted the use of larger valves than the pre-war overhead-valve unit with a consequent improvement in gas flow. As a concession to the marque's sporting pedigree, the Bentley version was equipped with twin SU carburettors, the Rolls making do with a single Stromberg. The MkVI was a 90mph car while its interior was typically well appointed, boasting leather upholstery and walnut dashboard and door cappings, while the right-hand manual gearchange was a characteristically pre-war inheritance. Despite the popularity of the 'standard steel' body, a coachbuilt alternative remained the preferred choice of many customers. Boasting coachwork by H J Mulliner, a company Rolls-Royce would later acquire, chassis number 'B83BG' is one of only 307 Bentley MkVIs bodied by this most celebrated of British coachbuilders. The car was purchased in 1982 for £6,600 by the current vendor from H A Fox of Torquay, official Rolls-Royce and Bentley distributors, representing the bargain of a lifetime as it had just been completely restored at a cost of £13,000 (see accompanying correspondence). Coachbuilders & Automobile Renovating Services of Cheltenham had completed the rebuild in July 1981 and there is a letter on file detailing the work carried. The latter included removing the body from the chassis; stripping and rebuilding the engine, gearbox and differential; overhauling the suspension, steering and brakes; repainting the body: re-plating the brightwork; and a full interior re-trim. Offered with old-style logbook, current road fund licence, MoT to September 2010 and Swansea V5, the Bentley has been its owner's pride and joy for the past 27 years and is only offered for sale because of his advancing years.