1927 Bentley Speed Six Two-seater and Dickey  Chassis no. DH2206 Engine no. NH2732

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Lot 638• W
1927 Bentley Speed Six Two-seater and Dickey
Chassis no. DH2206 Engine no. NH2732

Sold for US$ 335,000 inc. premium
1927 Bentley Speed Six Two-seater and Dickey
Coachwork by Markham

Chassis no. DH2206
Engine no. NH2732
Few cars have the sheer presence of a big vintage Bentley, and this stunning two-seater Speed Six has that presence in spades. It was created in 1936 by combining the chassis of a 1927 standard 12 ft. wheelbase Weymann fabric saloon by Gurney Nutting, shortened to a very non-standard 10 ft. wheelbase, with the engine from a 1930 Speed Six saloon originally delivered to a Miss Unwin to create one man's dream of the ultimate high-speed tourer. That individual was motor dealer Reg Mead, of Taplow, Buckinghamshire, who specialized in buying and selling high-quality second-hand sports cars - Alvis, Aston Martin, Bugatti, Frazer Nash, Invicta, Lagonda, MG and Rapier were his stock-in-trade apart from Bentley - and was thus well-qualified to create the ideal road car.

Apart from the shortened wheelbase and Speed Six engine, the changes to the Bentley included lowering the radiator and bonnet, 18 inch front wheels and a 3:1 final drive ratio. When the work was completed the car was re-registered, with the 1936 Berkshire license tag JB9020 replacing the original 1927 London registration YH451.

The vendor, who has owned the car for the past 26 years, confirms the potency of the car's revised specification: "The combination of the 18 inch front wheels, the lightened coachwork and the high-speed rear axle make JB9020 a true motorways between 75-90 mph at well under 2000 rpm is a real treat. ”The car has proved to be perfectly stable at over 100 mph and the rare burst to 120-plus leaves a good deal of pedal to the imagination."

Though the identity of the engineer who carried out the chassis transformation is not known, Mr. Mead commissioned a distinguished local coachbuilder, Markham of Reading, to build the light ash-framed sports two-seater body still fitted to the car. Markham, founded by Arthur Markham in Reading, Berkshire, in the early 19220s, are best-known for the light two-seater body that they built on a short-chassis Squire sports car ion 1935.

Despite the spectacular nature of this Bentley, its history between its creation and its acquisition by an American owner in St Louis in 1965 remains a mystery. It current owner found the car in 1979 and recalls that "this swoopy roadster with a very powerful drive train pleased me upon first sight."

Over the winter of 1980 the engine was dismantled, the camshaft was straightened and reprofiled, the cylinders rebored and new Venolia racing pistons and conrods were fitted. The bottom end was rebuilt with new white metal and the crankshaft, dynamo and flywheel were dynamically balanced. The seat and door panels were retrimmed in red leather, some rechroming was undertaken and the car was completely resprayed.

The restored car made its debut at the 1980 North American Rolls-Royce Owners' Club Annual Meet in Newport, Rhode Island, at which the owner first encountered the Bentley Drivers' Club, a meeting that led to the establishment in May 1981 of the annual North American Vintage Bentley Meet, now in its 24th year; JB9020 has attended some 20 of the 24 NAVBM events.

Its owner has taken JB9020 abroad on many occasions, the first being participation in a French Alpine rally in 1985 when, "due to some snafus", the car was not released from Liverpool Docks in North-West England until the day before the rally, due to start on the far side of France the following evening. The car left Liverpool at noon, crossed London during the rush hour and caught the 11 pm cross-Channel ferry. With only five hours' sleep en route, the Bentley arrived at the start of the rally in Megeve, some 500 miles away on the Swiss border, at 4 pm the next day, in time for the welcoming cocktail party. "It was an epic journey," recalls the owner. "About the only car that went by us was a Ferrari doing at least 120 mph!"

After that rally, the car then underwent a total rebuild at British Bentley experts McKenzie Guppy, did a 1500-mile shakedown around England and was shipped back to the USA for regular usage.

Between 1985-90, almost 50,000 ($75,000) was spent on the mechanics of JB9020, including a new induction system and three modern HD8 carburetors and, notes the owner, "as a testament to the quality of tithe work done by Barry Guppy the car has never failed us in the past 50,000 miles and runs as well today as it did in 1990.

"During my 26 years of ownership JB9020 has visited four continents and is particularly proud of her 10,000 high-speed miles on the roads of South Africa. Now, after 75 years of motoring down the highways of history, JB9020 is looking forward to another 75, thrilling future proud owners with her performance and panache long after we are gone…"
1927 Bentley Speed Six Two-seater and Dickey  Chassis no. DH2206 Engine no. NH2732
1927 Bentley Speed Six Two-seater and Dickey  Chassis no. DH2206 Engine no. NH2732
1927 Bentley Speed Six Two-seater and Dickey  Chassis no. DH2206 Engine no. NH2732
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