1949 Bentley MkVI 41/4-Litre Drophead Coupe  Chassis no. B265DZ Engine no. B382D

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Lot 708
1949 Bentley MkVI 41/4-Litre Drophead Coupe
Registration no. KLU 6 (see text) Chassis no. B265DZ Engine no. B382D

£ 45,000 - 60,000
US$ 58,000 - 78,000
1949 Bentley MkVI 41/4-Litre Drophead Coupe
Coachwork by Abbott

Registration no. KLU 6 (see text)
Chassis no. B265DZ
Engine no. B382D
The policy of rationalisation begun in the late 1930s continued at Rolls-Royce after the war with the introduction of standard bodywork which, in a break from the coachbuilt tradition, was made of pressed steel panels welded together. This ‘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 measuring 10’ exactly. Notable features were independent front suspension and hydraulic front brakes, while powering the range was a new 4,257cc six-cylinder engine featuring inlet-over-exhaust valvegear and breathing through twin SUs in its Bentley configuration.
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.”
Coachbuilt MkVIs are considerably rarer than their ‘standard steel’ fellows, and this unique car is illustrated in Rodney Steel’s definitive work on the marque: Bentley - The Cars From Crewe. ‘B265DZ’ was completed on 3rd January 1949 for bodying as a drophead coupe by coachbuilders E D Abbott Ltd, of Farnham, Surrey and sold new via Jack Barclay Ltd to first owner S Freedman Ltd of London EC1. The vendor purchased the car earlier this year in the USA from the estate of Leonard Martin (deceased) of Ross, California, who had owned it for approximately 25 years. Mr Martin had undertaken a thorough mechanical overhaul, details of which are recorded in an accompanying Statement of Repair, dated 17th December 1992, prepared by Rolls-Royce & Bentley specialist R Gross, of Hayward, California. Work listed as undertaken includes a complete engine rebuild, radiator re-core and braking system overhaul, while major parts replaced include the clutch, exhaust system, voltage regulator and fuel pumps. The cosmetic restoration, including bodywork, paint, chrome, interior trim, carpets and hood, was completed by the vendor on the car’s arrival in the UK in 2004.
‘B265DZ’ is finished in blue metallic with grey interior and presented in good condition throughout. Nevertheless, careful re-commissioning is advised in view of the lengthy period of time that has elapsed since the mechanical rebuild. The vehicle is offered with copy chassis cards and current MoT, and the DVLA has advised us that the registration mark ‘KLU 6’ has not been allocated to another vehicle, and should be recoverable.
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