Multiple Concours-winning and unique,1947 Bentley MkVI 4¼-Litre Saloon   Chassis no. B80BH Engine no. B40B
Lot 362
1947 Bentley MkVI 4¼-Litre Saloon
Coachwork by Freestone & Webb Registration no. SMH 3 Chassis no. B80BH Engine no. B40B
Sold for £63,100 (US$ 107,440) inc. premium
Lot Details
Multiple Concours-winning and unique
1947 Bentley MkVI 4¼-Litre Saloon
Coachwork by Freestone & Webb

Registration no. SMH 3
Chassis no. B80BH
Engine no. B40B

Footnotes

  • The policy of rationalisation begun in the late 1930s continued at Rolls-Royce after the war with the introduction of standard bodywork. In a break from the coachbuilt tradition this was made of pressed steel panels welded together. The new 'standard steel' body was available at first only on the MkVI Bentley, though customers could still opt for a coachbuilt alternative, such as the car offered here. 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 inlet-over-exhaust valve gear and breathing through a Stromberg carburettor (Rolls-Royce) or twin SUs (Bentley).

    The Autocar magazine was highly impressed with their MkVI test car in the Spring of 1950. 'Perhaps the outstanding thought from extensive driving of the Bentley MkVI built by the world's premier car manufacturers, Rolls-Royce, is that it has no single predominant feature but gains its unique position from a combination of superbly matched qualities that raise it above the level of other cars. Years of painstaking research and development with mechanical perfection as the goal show their results unmistakably. Smoothness and quietness and sheer quality are in the superlative.' Despite the popularity of the 'standard steel' body, a coachbuilt alternative remained the preferred choice of many customers. Indeed, anyone desiring a soft-top Rolls-Royce or Bentley had no alternative but to commission one from an independent coachbuilder, there being no factory-built alternative at this time.

    One of the early 4¼-litre models, the MkVI offered here carries unique semi-razor-edge saloon coachwork by Freestone & Webb of North London, one of the finest of all British coachbuilders and a firm associated with quality marques from its earliest days, particularly Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Mercedes-Benz. The Bentley is known to have belonged to a Mr S Baron White until 1954 then, for around eight months, by a Neville Hamwee. One J P Emons, the third owner, purchased the car in July 1995 and it is believed that it was he that took it to the USA.

    Chassis number 'B80BH' was in a very sorry state when it was rediscovered in the USA many years later. It was, however, complete and was purchased and brought back to the UK by Malcolm Tucker, an ex-chairman of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts' Club. In collaboration with marque specialists Healey Brothers, Mr Tucker carried out a full 'body off' restoration in the mid/late 1990s, and on completion in 1999 the car was awarded an R-REC 'Certificate of Merit'. Too lengthy to reproduce here, a complete record of the works, photographs included, is on file.

    The Bentley was purchased by the enthusiast vendor in 2001 and since then has benefited from a comprehensive engine rebuild carried out by RR&B Garages (all bills on file). Replaced in the course of the rebuild, the original cylinder block, which had been bored out to 4½ litres, is included in the sale together with a set of pistons. In 2009 the clutch and rear axle were rebuilt, all works being undertaken by RR&B. While in the vendor's care the MkVI has covered some 12,000 miles and won additional concours awards: P&A Wood 'Best Touring Car' at the R-REC annual rally in 2005 and the Bentley Drivers' Club's 'Best Patina' award for best coachbuilt MkVI or R Type in 2006 and 2012.

    'SMH 3' is finished in two-tone Garnet/Bordeaux livery with a re-trimmed interior boasting light tan leather upholstery and red carpets. Described as in generally excellent condition, running well, the car is offered with aforementioned restoration/maintenance records, current road fund licence, MoT to April 2015 and V5C registration document. Front seat safety belts and Bentley-marked Talbot wheel trims, the latter fitted from new, are the only notified deviations from factory specification.
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