Formerly the Property of H.R.H. Prince Rainier of Monaco and Alfred Heineken
1948 BENTLEY MARK VI SEDANCA COUPÉ
Registration No. Formerly registered KWW 354 (U.K.)
Chassis No. B 296 CF
Engine No. B 148 C
Sand over Sable with magnolia leather upholstery
Engine: six cylinder pushrod inlet over exhaust valves, 4,257cc, twin 1.5in. SU carburettors; Gearbox: automatic, column change; Suspension: independent front by wishbones and coil springs, rear live axle with half elliptic leaf springs; Brakes: servo-assisted hydraulically operated drum to front, mechanical drum to rear. Left hand drive (see text).
The firm of J.Gurney Nutting was founded in 1919. In the early Twenties they began to be commissioned to build coachwork for Rolls-Royce chassis, and received acclaim for their outstanding Sedanca de Ville designs, which became the choice of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, the Duke of York, later King George VI, and the Duke of Kent, earning the company the Royal Warrant between 1931-35.
Much of this success can be attributed to the brilliant designer A.F. McNeill, who penned some of the most graceful lines on Rolls-Royce and Bentley chassis, and was renowned at home and overseas for Sedanca de Ville and Sedanca Coupé styles. In the post war period in line with the limited demand, consolidation amongst the coachbuilders was prevalent, and Gurney Nutting became absorbed by Jack Barclay. Working closely with another London based coachbuilder James Young in the late 1940s they prepared coachwork for the new Bentley.
The Sedanca Coupé designs were updated for the Mark VI. The company offered a Sedanca with faux hood irons, or for better light and vision for the rear passengers, a swept tear drop window was added in the rear quarter panels, as on this car.
This rare Sedanca Coupé was exhibited at the first Post war U.K. Motor Show at Earls Court in October 1948. Immediately after the show, in November 1948, it was sold through Jack Barclay to D. Tinker of Thongsbridge, nr. Huddersfield, and was registered 'DT 1'. The subsequent history of the car is recorded in the original old buff log book, the car changing hands in June 1951, to J.P. Gallimore, of Longton, Staffordshire. U.K. at which time the registration number was changed to KWW 354, then in November 1959 to A.W. Shenton, of Stoke-on-Trent. In June 1964 it was purchased by Lennox Gilmour of Barnes, London, and became the property of James Bidwell in Aintree fourteen months later. It was last registered in the U.K. in 1968.
Some time after this the car was acquired by H.R.H. Prince Rainier of Monaco. It was from Prince Rainier that the car was purchased by the late Alfred H. Heineken on 27th September 1972, a note on file confirming the sale on Palace notepaper, clearly it was a friendly sale as beneath the price quoted in French Francs and U.S. Dollars is the comment 'to a collector or museum I would put up these prices'.
In Alfred Heineken's ownership the Bentley was sent to Henri Chapron coachbuilders to be restored in 1980. By then the car was black, and so was repainted to the original colour, of two tone (light) brown livery to accentuate its coachwork lines. The interior was restored also at this time, and the steering converted from Right to Left hand drive.
Since this restoration work was completed the car has seen relatively limited use, its speedometer actually reads 00973 miles which may be post this rebuild. Despite this modest activity, the restoration has aged a little and there are a couple of minor scratches or repairs to the paint, but in essence it presents very well.
The Bentley also underwent a full mechanical service in 1995, carried out by ATS of Valkenberg.
Copies of the factory build sheets are offered with the car, together with the paperwork listed above.