West Coast Classics are proud to present a very rare and quite exceptional example of this late and last year of production 1952 Bentley Mark VI sedan and one of only 1 of only 1,202 of the 4 1/2 litre 'Big Bore, Small Boot' Mark VI's built between 1951-52. The car was reportedly first sold in Italy and was refurbished prior to it's purchase in Columbus, Ohio some six years ago by it's most recent owner. Subsequent work included replacement of the water and fuel pumps, timing gear, belts and hoses, brakes, dampers, wheel bearings, wheels, tires, and more. The previous owner has driven this Mark VI more than 6,500 miles in the last three years, including on numerous events with the Rolls-Royce Owners Club before we recently acquired the car.
This particular example is strikingly finished in a 'Silver & Gray' two-tone color complete with hand painted pin stripes which is matched to a beautiful and extraordinarily condition full 'Dark Blue/Gray' leather interior and carpeting. The car has an original Mohair headliner and it's original factory sliding sunroof. This car was restored and repainted some years ago with the leather interior reupholstered and with all the chrome work, including the original and now very rare Bentley grille and the front and rear bumpers, all in quite exceptional condition and with the original wood also in exceptional condition. The 5-digit odometer shows just over 69k miles. The clock in the dashboard is an aftermarket unit with a factory face and beneath it is a removable drawer housing the original and complete in-car tool kit.
The previous owner of this particular example replaced the timing gear, belts and hoses, water pump, and fuel pumps in 2015 as well as rebuilding the crankshaft damper and repairing the starter. Underhood modifications include a spin-on oil filter and an electric radiator fan. Additional work consisted of installing new rear wheel bearings as well as equipping the braking system with new shoes, hydraulics, and rear mechanical parts.
The car drives extraordinarily well with the original 4 speed manual transmission matched to the original 4.1L 6 cylinder engine for an extremely strong and responsive drive and the car drives as straight as an arrow with no strange road wobbles, shakes or rattles and it is a truly remarkable and daily driver with supremely smooth and easy transmission shifts in all gears! The car has adjustable ride control, Lucas fog lights, sealed beam third headlight, twin picnic tables and a mohair headliner.
Debuting in 1946, the Mark VI was built with all-steel coachwork and was the first Bentley to be assembled and constructed fully in-house at Crewe for painting and fitting out with traditional wood and leather.The Bentley Mark VI was the first Bentley factory finished car, reflecting a change in Rolls-Royce policy from strictly hand-built cars to 'standardized' bodies that could be produced in greater numbers at the firm's new factory at Crewe, and was named the Mark VI and was produced from 1946 to 1952.
It was both the first car from the Rolls-Royce factory with all-steel coachwork and the first complete car assembled and finished at their factory for Bentley. These very expensive cars when new were a genuine success and the chassis continued to be supplied to independent coachbuilders as they had been since inception. Like pre-war Bentley's they were large, stately and impressive and featured rear hinged 'suicide' doors at the front with concealed hinges, a sliding sunroof, a permanently closed windscreen with an electric defrosting and demisting unit hidden in the scuttle and a second heater that made use of the coolant and was fitted with an electric fan beneath the left front seat. Twin screen window wipers were fitted and provision was made for the fitting of a radio with a short and flexibly mounted aerial that could be swung up above the center of the screen.
A four-speed syncromesh manual transmission was fitted in all Bentley MK VI's with the change lever to the right of the driver on RHD cars and on the column on LHD versions.The car rode on a massive separate chassis useing leaf springs at the rear and featuring independent coil springing at the front, quite an impressive advance for the marque in this period. A control on the steering wheel center adjusts the hardness of the rear springing by hydraulically adjusting the rear dampers. This is achieved via opening a check valve that provides pressure by diverting transmission oil to the dampers. A pedal-operated central lubrication system type 'Bijur-Girling' allows oil to be applied to moving parts of the suspension from a central reservoir by using a foot pedal
In 1951, a 4 1⁄2-litre, 4.6 L (4,566 cc/278 cu in) version of the engine was introduced. The increase in displacement was accomplished by increasing the bore from 3 1/2 inch to 3 5/8 inch. The later version is casually referred to as the 'big bore' engine, the earlier version as the 'small bore' version. The 4,566cc F-head inline-six was introduced in mid-1951, replacing the 4,257cc unit used in the earlier Mark VI. 4 1⁄4-litre cars had chassis numbers from B 1 AJ through B 400 LJ, with the final two letters indicating the series in which it was built. The 'big bore' cars serial numbers begin with B 1 MB (although B 2 MD was the first big bore Mark VI built) and ended with B 300 PV (although B 301 PU was the last one built). Each alphabetic series only contained either even or odd numbers, and 13 was always skipped for the odd-numbered sequences
The 4 1⁄4 L and can be quickly identified from its single exhaust in RHD cars. The 4.6 L (280 cu in) is known as the 4 1⁄2 L and features a twin exhaust in RHD cars. The oil filler cap is another way to identify engine type; a plastic cap is typical of a "small bore" engine, a metal cap of a 'large bore' engine. The 4.6-litre, factory bodied car tested by 'The Motor Magazine' in 1951 had a top speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 15.0 seconds, quite remarkable performance for any 4 door sedan at any time let alone in 1952!
This standard steel sports saloon shorter wheelbase chassis and engine was a variant of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith of 1946. In late 1952 both the Rolls Royce Silver Dawn and Bentley Mk VI standard steel bodies were modified to incorporate a trunk (boot) of about twice the size and the result became known as the R type Bentley based on the Chassis number at which the change took place.
For those who are unfamiliar, Rolls Royce & Bentley no longer exists as it had for over one hundred years - this is one of the original line of cars built in the legendary Rolls Royce factory in Crewe, England with a quality and craftsmanship that far surpasses that of today's mass produced models with many BMW parts - this is a rare opportunity to own a piece of automobile history, from a time when Rolls Royce and Bentley were truly building the world's finest motor cars.
This increasingly desirable and legendary marque, the 'big bore' Bentley Mark VI along with it's tall grille and Bentley 'Flying B' hood ornament mascot on the hood is a moving work of art from a time when Rolls-Royce and Bentley were famously building the "Best Cars in the World" with the craftsmanship and quality of these cars obviously speaking for themselves.
It is becoming increasingly hard to find such rare original examples as these models become thinner and thinner on the ground and even harder to find as time has its way with most of them and with only some 1,202 Bentley Mark VI 'big bore' models built and especially considering how numerous numbers of these rare Bentley's were tragically and unceremoniously 'butchered' (converted) into Rolls Royce's by replacing their beautiful grilles and hubcaps and mascots!
So buy with confidence, this will no doubt prove a fabulous investment for the astute investor, Bentley or Rolls Royce enthusiast or collector to own one of the last remaining Bentley Mark VI 'Big Bore' cars!