2020 Shannons Spring Timed Online Auction
1951 Bentley Mark VI 4.5Lt Saloon
|Engine||In-line 6-cylinder, 4500cc|
This lot is no longer available
Launched in May 1946, the Mark VI was Bentley's first post-war production model and broke new ground for the marque in more ways than one. Of more compact proportions than its predecessors, the smaller, lighter Mark VI was oriented towards the owner-driver and won universal praise for its excellent performance and road manners. Although customers could still choose to have their Mark VI bodied by an outside coachbuilder such as Park Ward or H J Mulliner, the majority of the 5,208 chassis made were fitted with standardised bodywork, a stylish four-door saloon made by Pressed Steel, with final assembly taking place at Crewe. Around one in five were sent to outside coachbuilders and bodied to their owner’s own requirements, the most popular being H J Mulliner, Park Ward and Freestone & Webb. The Bentley was powered by the 4257cc B60 six-cylinder engine with light alloy cylinder head and twin SU H6 carburettors, developing an estimated 130 horsepower - making a genuine 100 mph possible. The chassis of the Mark VI had coil-sprung front suspension and rode on a 120-inch wheelbase, making the new model considerably more wieldy than pre-war models and it had the advantage of fitting into any decent sized garage. A larger capacity engine with raised compression ratio of 6.75:1 was introduced in 1951, resulting in a marked improvement to the Bentley's on-road performance. During the lifespan of the Mark VI (and its successor, the R-Type), it sold very well in Australia - indeed, this country became the largest export market in the world for these cars and more survive here than anywhere outside of Great Britain. Today, the Mark VI is justifiably recognised as being an underrated classic post-war saloon, with strong performance, excellent build quality and plenty of character available for a very reasonable outlay.