1952 Bentley Mark VISaloon Coupé
Year of manufacture1952
To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sothebys' A Passion for Elegance event, 19 June 2021.
CHF150,000 - CHF200,000
- One of just 30 examples finished in this style
- Originally delivered to Australian tycoon Tom Elder Barr Smith
- Beautifully restored and maintained, in the original livery
- Accompanied by copies of its build documentation and FIVA Identity Card
The Mark VI was Bentley’s first postwar automobile and the first to be sold by the company complete with coachwork, a “Standard Steel Saloon.” Not all of Bentley’s clientele was content to move into the new era, however, and for those clients there continued to be available a separate chassis for custom coachwork. Several British firms had survived the Second World War II to take on new influence from continental styling in the baroque curves of their designs, which were carried out to especially fine effect on the Mark VI.
Few coachbuilders produced such consistently beautiful designs on the Mark VI as the Kent firm of James Young. As in the prewar years, this shop especially excelled in fine detailing, witnessed in the superb finishing of their coachwork. Every detail of a James Young body is a delight to the eye, making each as satisfying to examine as it is to ride within.
The Mark VI offered here, right-hand drive chassis number B260MD, was delivered with engine number B130M, still present today. Afterward it was bodied by James Young to their especially sleek and sporting design number C10BM, used on just 30 Mark VIs.
The order for the automobile had been placed by Tom Elder Barr Smith of Adelaide, South Australia, via his local salesrooms, Kingsway Ltd. Mr. Barr Smith had inherited vast holdings from his father, especially land and wool-production facilities. He expanded the factory interests into shipping and financial institutions, further increasing the fortune. A keen sportsman, he was highly involved in the worlds of horses, yachting, and golf, but was also known for his kind and generous personality. His avid philanthropy would lead to a knighthood in 1959.
Finished in two-tone Grey Green and Green over Beige, Mr. Barr Smith’s Bentley was quite fitting to his personality; simply put, it looked the part of a wealthy sportsman’s automobile. It was outfitted with dual fog lamps and two dashboard-mounted ashtrays, as well as small “companions” that included folding mirrors for checking one’s appearance before dismounting. Interestingly, the car seems to have prepared for use on rough roads; special instruction was given to the tune of the front shock dampers, “Colonial front springing” was mounted, and the car was “dust proofed throughout.” These features were not all that unusual for Rolls-Royce and Bentley automobiles shipped “Down Under” at the time. James Young’s build records are included in the file and specifically note the highly detailed nature of the finishes.
The Mark VI remained in Australia for many years, with the Rolls-Royce Foundation listing subsequent owners as Peter W. Shellard of Melbourne, Victoria, in 1975, and Ralph P. Wilkie of Warrawee, New South Wales, in 1983. Eventually it wound its way into the present collection, where it has continued to enjoy superb maintenance and regular use. Still an exceptionally comfortable automobile, it is virtually saloon-like in its capacious appointments, with both the front and rear seats being of equal luxury.
Very nicely restored and presented, this extremely special, highly attractive coachbuilt Bentley is one of the true stars of the collection.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/ns21.