1947 Bentley Mk VI Special - “Black Adder 6”
A stunning and wickedly powerful special, this car started life as a 1947 Bentley standard steel saloon. It was the 23rd Bentley Mk VI built after World War II. In the 1970’s, this car was rebuilt as the 4th Donington Special. It was raced in the UK and competed in a number of events, winning the Bentley Drivers Club’s Kensington Show Best in Class (Modified Crewe Bentley) in 1979 and 1983. In 2005, its current owner decided it could use a full makeover. The car was completely stripped to a bare frame and a new custom, aluminum boat-tailed body was fabricated by hand. At the same time, every mechanical component was meticulously refurbished, almost entirely out of parts from the “Factory Parts Bin.”
In addition to its new aluminum body and cycle fenders, B46 AK features a specially built Bentley 4.9 liter straight six engine with a Continental “big valve” cylinder head and twin SU carbs. This engine is mated to a center-shift, high-ratio, manual 4-speed transmission from a Bentley R-Type Continental Lightweight. Cooling is handled through a custom-fabricated radiator and the 24-gallon gas tank gives the car tremendous range on the track or in time/distance events. The original Donington chassis was largely unchanged, though special modifications were made for the steering column and a new bulkhead was fitted. In keeping with Bentley engineering practice, all controls are run through linkages, entirely sourced from pre-war Bentley and Rolls-Royce parts. It has a large trunk (boot) space for necessary storage.
The interior is beautifully upholstered in tan leather (by a known Pebble Beach upholsterer) with a walnut dashboard and full instrumentation completes the driver’s experience. This special also boasts a large boot and two “Zeppelin” wing steps that double as lockable storage.
The result is a blisteringly fast, yet well-mannered and tractable Bentley roadster that upholds the tradition of these special cars. Completed in 2012, the project was featured in 2011 in the Bentley Drivers Club Review magazine in a two-part article titled “The Third Life of B46 AK.” It has appeared in Sports and Classics magazine (UK) and is listed in Michael Hay’s Bentley Specials and Special Bentley’s, Volume 1.
In its present form, the car won Best in Class at the 2016 “Britain on the Green” which took place at Gunston Hall, Virginia. It was exhibited at and won the 2013 British Invasion Concours d’Elegance in its class. Additionally, it won Best of Show and Best in Class at the 2015 “Britain on the Green” which took place at Gunston Hall, Virginia. It was also the first Bentley Special permitted to be judged by the RROC and won a third in class in 2015. It can probably be re-registered in the UK as HXN-2.
“Black Adder” is not only an outstanding example of the Bentley Special, it is a tribute to modern coach building and design. It is ready to tour, show, or race as its new owner desires. Offers near $130,000.