1951 BENTLEY MARK VI COUPE
COACHWORK BY GRABER
Chassis No. B214JO
Crimson with tan leather interior
Engine: six-cylinder, overhead valve, 4,275cc, 135hp at 4,000rpm; Gearbox: four-speed manual; Suspension: front, independent, rear, semi-elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: four wheel drum. Left hand drive.
Two major developments accompanied Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motors' return to car production in 1946. Firstly, all car manufacturing was transferred from Derby to Crewe, and secondly the decision to supply complete cars with standardised bodywork made to the company's specification and finished in their own workshops.
The first model to adopt this principal was the 4 1/4 liter Bentley MK VI with a new all steel four door which became known as the Standard Steel Saloon. This was totally assembled in Crewe, and although the body shells were made by The Pressed Steel Company, they were to the drawings of the Crewe design office.
The first post war Bentley MK VI launched in May, 1946 was, in comparison with its pre-war counterparts, an entirely new departure both in engineering and design and was to set the basis of all future models. In production numbers it was almost mass produced with over 5,000 cars leaving the production line between 1946 and 1952 compared with 2,500 units of the 3 1/2 liter and 4 1/4 liter models produced between 1932 and 1939. The car was compact in design and very much an owner/driver vehicle with a comprehensive interior specification which included heater and de-misters, leather upholstery, radio, picnic tables, vanity mirrors, and reading lights. The distinctive radiator carried a forward sloping winged 'B' fixed to a dummy radiator cap.
The revised 4 1/4 liter now had an F-type alloy cylinder head and featured belt-driven dynamo and water pump. The engine gave a healthy 135bhp at 4,000rpm, provided brisk acceleration with 0-50mph in 12 seconds and a top speed of nearly 100mph.
While the majority of MK VIs were built as standard steel saloons, a few chassis were sent to specialist coachbuilders such as H.J. Mulliner, James Young, and Freestone and Webb. One of the most desirable and rarest of all the coachbuilt cars was the Bentley Coupe by the Swiss coachmaker Graber. Supposedly Graber bought fifty of these motor cars in 1951 and completed the bespoke coachwork to the buyers' specifications. This particular car was finished for an Iranian Princess for her use while she was in school in Switzerland, and on occasional circumstances by the Iranian Embassy in Bern.
The current owner purchased the car in 1974 from the Embassy. The Mark VI has just over 100,000 kilometers on the odometer. The rare body was crafted in aluminum, and the interior woodwork is exceptionally fine burled walnut. The interior was restored about six years ago with new Connolly hides and top-quality carpeting. All the bright-work was replated and the car was stripped and repainted. The car has always been garaged in California since the owner purchased the car.