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1948 Bentley Mark VI 2-Door Coupe
• Original razor-edge coachwork by James Young Ltd
• 4.3 Liter 6-cylinder engine with dual carburetors
• Newly painted exterior; interior recently re-trimmed
Here we have an exceedingly handsome and especially rare coachbuilt 1948 Bentley Mark VI. Its handcrafted body was designed and built by James Young Ltd—one of the most prestigious of British coachbuilders. Founded in 1863, the venerable firm first bodied a Bentley in 1921, and turned out its last for the marque in 1968.
The story of this 1948 Mark VI’s attractive coachwork begins in 1939. That year, James Young Ltd debuted a very similar 4-1/4 Bentley coupe featuring sharply defined “razor-edge” lines. Its side-windows were encased in quite narrow frames and separated by a very thin center pillar (the appearance was similar to that of a later two-door hardtop, windows up). The striking James Young car won top honors at a prominent 1939 concours. Soon after, World War II erupted, ending Bentley car production for the duration.
After peace returned, James Young Ltd adapted its acclaimed razor-edge coupe design to the post-war Bentley Mark VI chassis. However, the era of the custom-order handcrafted automobile was by then waning. Most of the 4,946 Mark VI cars produced between l946 and 1952 would use the standard mass-produced 4-door Saloon body designed by Bentley. Relatively few Mark VI chassis were equipped with genuine coachbuilt bodies, and among that elite group were the very small number of Mark VI James Young “2-door Sport Saloon” coupes constructed—of which we are pleased to offer this surviving example.
Founded by W. O. Bentley in 1919, the marque bearing his name quickly became famous for its potent competition models. Twelve years later, in the midst of the Great Depression, Rolls Royce acquired W. O.’s financially troubled company. In 1933, a new Bentley emerged. It was a top-notch and very civilized high-performance machine that its maker quite justly advertised as, “The Silent Sports Car.”
For 1936, Bentley introduced its “4-1/4 Litre” chassis, powered by a higher performance version of the contemporary 4.3-liter Rolls Royce 25/30 series engine. The Bentley 4-1/4 would be remembered by aficionados as “one of the most pleasing pre-war touring cars.”
After World War II ended, the pre-war Bentley was further refined before being reintroduced in late 1946 as the Mark VI. Designed for the owner-driver of means, the Mark VI attracted discerning buyers worldwide with its pleasing combination of impressive performance and traditional luxuries.
The 120-inch wheelbase Mark VI benefited from its front coil-spring independent suspension. The firmness of the rear leaf spring’s hydraulic dampers (shock absorbers) was adjustable from the steering wheel center. A pedal-operated system lubricated the suspension’s moving parts from a central reservoir. The four-wheel drum brakes had mechanical servo assist.
Retaining the 4257cc displacement of the 4-1/4, the Mark VI engine adapted an F-head layout, with overhead inlet and side exhaust, valves. Equipped with twin side-draft SU carburetors, the Mark VI powerplant produced an estimated 125 horsepower. The transmission was a 4-speed fully synchronized manual design. Road testers found the Mark VI capable of cruising at 90-95 mph—and noted the car could move off smoothly in top gear from as low as six mph.
This very special and genuinely rare coachbuiit Bentley Mark VI presents nicely and runs well. Its beautiful and regal dark green paint has very recently been redone. The blackwall tires, which are appropriate to the car, are of less recent vintage.
Inside, the Bentley is freshly and correctly trimmed in tan leather. The lovely wood instrument board shows some age-related patina and retains the factory-issue Smiths instruments and 8-day clock. A period push-button radio is located at lower center. In the rear compartment, twin fold-down wooden trays, beautifully finished, are provided. The metal sunroof overhead stands ready to add to the car’s open, spacious feel.
Our offered Mark VI is fully equipped for touring with auxiliary road lamps and accessory turn signals (in addition to its original semaphore “trafficators”). The period correct dual exterior rearview mirrors greatly aid rear vision. The car is also equipped with a windscreen washer, with original glass reservoir.
With its iconic Bentley radiator grille, razor-edge body styling and elegant hardtop-type roof design, this remarkably rare and superbly elegant coachbuilt Mark VI will turn heads wherever it appears. And, since the Classic Car Club of America recognizes all Bentleys manufactured from 1919 to 1948 as Classics, this splendid Mark VI is eligible for CCCA tours and events.
There are invoices totaling over $40,000.00 available for engine, paint, wood and interior completed in 2012. This car is one of 52 built with very few still known to exist.