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Aiming for success, Bentley Motors Limited hit the mark with the Mark VI. This was the automaker’s first post-World War II luxury car. It was also the first vehicle from Rolls-Royce (which had purchased Bentley in 1931) with all-steel coachwork, and it was the first complete car assembled and finished at its factory in Crewe, England. In all, nearly 5,200 Mark VIs were built between 1946 and 1952. The Mark VI was replaced by the longer and more elegant Bentley R-Type.
The Bentley Mark VI was based on the 1939 Park Ward-designed Mark V. Its engine and shorter wheelbase and chassis were variants of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith. Prior to 1949, all models – including this one – were right hand drive and right side floor shift, ideal for the British market. Another notable feature is the car’s “suicide doors,” less alarmingly known as doors hinged at the rear instead of the front. These were common in automobiles in the first half of the 20th century.
W.O. Bentley founded Bentley Motors Limited in 1919 in Cricklewood, North London. In its early years, the automaker became famous for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1924 and 1927-30.
A Rare Find
This particular Bentley is a collector’s dream. It is one of only around 1,000 Mark VIs sent to individual coachbuilders, in this case, James Young Ltd. These vehicles enjoyed extra attention to detail to satisfy an exclusive clientele, and are much sought after today.
Alas, many Mark VI vehicles have not survived to the present day. This is largely due to their poor steel quality – imposed on the automaker by governmental postwar controls – that results in rust.
1948 Bentley Mark VI specs
- F-Head 6-Cylinder, 4.3-Litre Engine
- Twin SU Carburetors
- Leaf Spring in the Rear Chassis, Independent Coil Springing in the Front
- Four-Speed Manual Transmission
- Servo-Assisted Drum Brakes
- Right Hand Drive and Side Floor Shift