1951 Bentley Mark VI 4.5 Litre Drophead CoupeSOLD
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Estimate: 125,000£-150,000£
Estimate: €182,000 - €218,000
Estimate: $250,000 - $300,000

AUCTION RESULTS: Lot was Sold at a price of £122.925

From the Collection of Mr. Bernie Ecclestone

Specifications: 150bhp, 4,566cc overhead valve six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and drum brakes all around. Wheelbase: 120in. (3,048mm).

The Mark VI was the first post-war design for Bentley and was current from 1946 until 1952. It was also the first Bentley to be built using regular production steel bodies from Pressed Steel Company, rather than custom or semi-custom coachwork. However, clients could opt for a series of custom body designs built by H. J. Mulliner, Park Ward, Freestone & Webb, James Young, or Hooper as well as one-off coachwork from such houses as Franay, Graber, Radford, and Windovers.

Records indicate that Park Ward produced a total of 167 bodies during the years of Mark VI production including dropheads as well as coupés and saloons. As Park Ward was a specialist in drophead coachwork ever since its founding in 1919, it can be safely stated that the majority of Mark VI Bentleys wearing the Park Ward badge were open-bodied cars.

The Mark VI offered here features coachwork by Park Ward and is one of only twelve Bentleys sold in the United States in 1951. It was originally ordered in blue and grey, with blue leather upholstery, by Howard D. Kizer of Montclair, New Jersey. A standard Bentley Mark VI chassis was fitted with Park Ward’s Drophead Coupé body and constructed to left-hand drive US specifications. It received whitewall tyres, a medium- and long-wave radio, and one fog lamp in place of the standard Mark VI centre lamp.

Upon completion, it was shipped aboard the SS Mauretania, departing from Southampton on 4 July 1951 to be received in New York City by J. S. Inskip. Kizer sold the car in 1953 to Dr Ivor Harris, of Detroit Michigan. Dr Harris also kept the car for two years, selling it to Richard Stitt in nearby Illinois, who passed it on to Geoffrey Field, also of Illinois, in 1959.

By the 1980s, the Mark VI had found its way back to New York, into the collection of Philip Wichard, who had purchased the car from the widow of the previous owner. The car was mechanically and cosmetically restored in 1990 at Classic Coachworks of Cameron, Wisconsin, at a cost of more than $175,000, a substantial sum 25 years ago. Thereafter it was awarded a National First Prize at the AACA National meeting in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and honoured as the Senior Winner by the Antique Automobile Club of America in 1991.

Following Wichard’s death in 1995, the Bentley, along with the balance of his collection, was sold at auction. It was acquired by Bernie Ecclestone and shipped to Pichler Cars in Gstaad, Switzerland, where a full service was conducted upon arrival. The car has remained in the Ecclestone Collection ever since, properly maintained and in outstanding condition.

As presented, this Bentley Mark VI Drophead Coupé still remains in truly excellent, show-quality condition. Its metallic mauve over cherry red paint is excellent, as is all the chrome and brightwork. The panel fitting is virtually perfect all round and the car is fitted with trafficators and a burgundy Haartz cloth top, which is power-operated as per Park Ward specifications. The centre driving lamp, skirted rear fenders, and whitewall tyres are also present, as ordered by Kizer in 1951. In addition, an original owner’s handbook in fair condition is included with the sale.

The interior trim is very good, fitted and stitched very well, while the woodwork is also of equal calibre. The mauve upholstery matches the exterior colour very nicely while the steering wheel and all instrumentation are in excellent restored condition. Of particular note is the proper two-band radio. The odometer reads 407 miles, which probably reflects the distance driven since restoration

Expert craftsmanship is also apparent in the engine bay, which remains in high-point concours-quality condition, virtually devoid of any signs of use. All the wiring, hardware, fittings, lines, hoses, and clamps are correct for the period or excellent reproductions. The original flashlight, for instance, is properly attached to the firewall. The undercarriage remains in excellent condition showing only minor evidence of road use and detailed in an authentic show-quality manner.

The vendor advises that this car runs nicely, drives well, and has needed very little apart from maintenance since its acquisition from the Wichard Collection.

In a brochure for the Mark VI, experienced British racing motorist Wing Commander T. H. Wisdom once remarked, ‘Bentley is that delightful combination, a town carriage that captivates by its effortless high performance on the open road.’ Of course this duality was even more attractive when considering that still fewer Mark VIs were coachbuilt. As such, the Bentley offered here not only embodies these high standards of British luxury and quality but also bears a remarkable, award-winning history.

Reference Number 13139

as of 9/14/2007

Car 1951 Bentley Mark VI 4.5 Litre Drophead Coupe
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