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1949 Bentley Mark VI 4¼-Litre Saloon
Registration no. NPB 393
Chassis no. B250EY

'In a very short time, however, it was easily seen that the pressed steel Bentley bodies were as elegantly proportioned, as highly finished and as comfortably furnished as anything the traditional coachbuilders of the past had done; with the added virtues of immunity from rot and greater rigidity.' - Anthony Bird & Ian Hallows, 'The Rolls-Royce Motor Car', 1964.

The policy of rationalisation begun in the late 1930s continued at Rolls-Royce after the war with the introduction of standard bodywork on the Mark VI Bentley. Rolls-Royce's first post-WW2 product, the Mark VI was introduced in 1946, a year ahead of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith. Although mechanically similar to the Mark VI, the latter was exclusively a coachbuilt car, the first 'standard steel' Rolls-Royce, the Silver Dawn, not appearing until 1949.

The decision to offer a complete car with 'in-house' bodywork had been dictated by harsh economic reality. 'Export or die' was the watchword of the late 1940s and the manufacture of standardised steel-bodied cars was essential to selling in sufficient quantities to overseas markets where the environment was inappropriate for the traditional coachbuilt body, with its ash framing and aluminium panels.

Nor were any of the established coachbuilders capable of making the costly investment in new plant and equipment to produce standardised bodywork, so Rolls-Royce established production facilities in which bodies were built to their exacting standards by one of the leading experts in this form of construction, the Pressed Steel Company. Additionally, facilities had to be installed at the Crewe factory for the high-quality interior trim, woodwork, and paintwork that set Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars apart from the products of lesser companies. Despite the misgivings of traditionalists, exports rose steadily and, when the home market stabilised, the classically-styled Standard Steel bodywork proved equally acceptable, making up 80% of total production of this first post-war Bentley.

This beautifully presented Mark VI benefits from a recent engine rebuild by the highly respected marque specialists Frank Dale & Stepsons, as evidenced by their invoice for circa £18,000 on file. As one would expect, the engine is said to run smoothly and quietly, never missing a beat. The car is finished in green with stone coloured interior trim, the latter in excellent condition, while other noteworthy features include a central spot lamp, rear wheel spats, and whitewall tyres. Previously registered in Spain, the car now has a UK V5C Registration Certificate for its original registration mark.

Bentley's post-war steel saloons have long been regarded as an affordable entrée into the varied activities of the Bentley Drivers' Club and this fine example offers just that opportunity to the aspiring enthusiast.

Bonhams 1793
101 New Bond Street
United Kingdom
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Bonhams Collectors’ Car department