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Lot 181: Bentley MkV1 'Gibbs Special' Sports Two-Seater

Goodwood Revival Sale, Bonhams (15 September 2012)

Built using a MkVI chassis, the car offered here takes the 'Bentley Special' concept to its ultimate expression and is surely the most advanced such creation in the world. This Bentley was hand built by the late Paul Gibbs of Wisbech Engineering, who constructed around 120 cars during his lifetime. His swansong project, it was constructed between 2003 and 2006 with no regard to cost. Paul's idea was to build a Bentley MkVI Special racer for entry into the Bentley and Aston Martin classic race series, which would also serve as an exciting two-seater road car for rallies and tours. The Special started life as a complete 1948 MkVI chassis into which Paul fitted a new 1997 Bentley Cosworth 6750cc V8 development engine. The build process took over three years and circa 6,500 man-hours. Most of the car was built by hand using a lathe and an English wheel. Parts and materials of the highest quality were sourced worldwide to produce a very quick, safe and tractable car with awesome handling, boasting a stunning futuristic-looking body. The aircraft inspired tubular spaceframe chassis is built in CDS2 material. There are gas/oil adjustable dampers and tubular anti-roll bars. A Halibrand aluminium quick-change rear axle is fitted together with AP Racing 330mm vented discs and four-pot callipers. The axle is located by four links and laterally by an 'A' arm. The racing wheels are 10"x22" diameter aluminium, shod with soft compound road tyres. For safety this Bentley is fitted with driver and passenger roll hoops and five-point safety harnesses. The cockpit has adjustable brake bias and full, custom made gauges set with aluminium anodised switches. The heart of this car is its engine: an 'as new' 1997 ex-Cosworth Bentley development 6.75-litre V8 fitted with custom twin turbochargers, stainless steel headers and a full bespoke exhaust/silencer system. The engine has been modified for reliability and racing with a dry sump lubrication system, while the management system uses a Pectel T6 ECU. To date the engine has covered circa 1,000 miles and has had eight oil changes. A TurboHydromatic 400 automatic gearbox handles the enormous torque, fitted with full racing internals and modified to manual quick shift. A competition fire extinguishing system has been plumbed in, accessing the fuel/oil tanks, driver and passenger compartments and the engine bay. The body is hand crafted 18swg aluminium, built by Shapecraft and finished in a current Bentley colour: Silver Tempest. The seats and interior are trimmed in the highest quality German-sourced Berry Red leather. The owner describes the performance as shattering, with about 525bhp on tap depending on tune and more than 670ft/lbs torque. The car weighs 1,290kg un-laden so acceleration is brutal but controllable with 0-62mph achievable in 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 170mph (200mph-plus would be possible with higher gearing and streamlining). For road use there is a full tonneau cover. The car has appeared in a Bentley concours where it was awarded a rosette (included) and declared a 'very special' Bentley, which it certainly is. It has even been used in central London, bringing traffic to a stop and attracting crowds wherever it was parked. The car also came 2nd in the Bentley Drivers' Club race meeting at Silverstone in 2009, beaten only by a purpose-built racing car. The Gibbs Special is only being sold as the owner is spending more time in Asia and has several other Bentleys stabled in the UK, which means that this car is not getting the use it deserves. There is nothing else like the Gibbs Special and it is sure to be an amazing yet very usable acquisition for a collector or driver who wants some serious fun without risking their million dollar classics. Accompanying paperwork includes a disc with hundreds of detailed photos of every part of the build process and associated invoices. Taxed, MoT'd and offered with Swansea V5, the Bentley has just been fully serviced in the workshop it was built in and is ready to drive home from the sale or be raced immediately. There is a comprehensive package of racing spares available by separate negotiation with the vendor, including race wheels shod with slicks and wets, and even a spare brand new Bentley engine. Please enquire for a list of parts. All in all this is a stunning re-creation of a Vintage racing car, built using modern mechanicals to ensure reliability and eligible for many classic and modern race series around the world. A truly unique, road registered and usable Bentley Special, equally at home in the fast lane or on the racetrack.

Lot Details
Auction Goodwood Revival Sale
Bonhams, Chichester, Goodwood
Lot Number181
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration number188 UXA
Chassis numberB210DA
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors