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Lot 536: Bentley MkVI Drophead Coupé(

Grand Palais Sale, Bonhams (7 February 2013)

The policy of rationalisation begun in the late 1930s continued at Rolls-Royce after the war with the introduction of standard bodywork. In a break from the coachbuilt tradition this was made of pressed steel panels welded together. The new 'standard steel' body was available at first only on the MkVI Bentley, though customers could still opt for a coachbuilt alternative, such as the car offered here. A separate chassis was retained, the same basic design being built in three different wheelbase lengths, that of the MkVI (and Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn) measuring 10' exactly. Notable features were independent front suspension and hydraulic front brakes. Powering the range was a new 4,257cc six-cylinder engine featuring inlet-over-exhaust valve gear and breathing through a Stromberg carburettor (Rolls-Royce) or twin SUs (Bentley). The Autocar magazine was highly impressed with their MkVI test car in the Spring of 1950. 'Perhaps the outstanding thought from extensive driving of the Bentley MkVI built by the world's premier car manufacturers, Rolls-Royce, is that it has no single predominant feature but gains its unique position from a combination of superbly matched qualities that raise it above the level of other cars.' This elegant drophead coupé on the Bentley MkVI chassis is the work of the Swiss Carrosserie Graber. Graber's designs were always executed to the very highest standards and his creations were necessarily expensive, costing far more than those of his British contemporaries. This right-hand drive car was delivered new in May 1949 to the current vendor's father, Dr Leo Gentinetta, via Garage de l'Athénée in Geneva, Switzerland. Apparently, the Bentley had been ordered by a customer who later decided that they did not want it. According to the chassis card, 'B138BH' was originally intended for bodying by Franay of Paris and scheduled for delivery via Bellvue Garage of Berne, Switzerland. A Bentley MkVI identified as 'B138BH' was pictured at the 1948 Paris Salon carrying drophead coupé coachwork unlike that currently fitted, so assuming that the car was correctly identified, it must have been re-bodied by Graber subsequently. The Bentley is known to have had an accident in the 1950s, the repairs being carried out by Hermann Graber, so it is possible that the body dates from that time. (Since acquisition, the Bentley has been driven only by Dr Gentinetta and his wife, Lotti, but has not been used for the last five years. Routine servicing was carried out by Garage de l'Athénée initially and subsequently by Siegrist in Berne. Finished in grey with oiginal red leather interior, this rare coachbuilt Bentley MkVI soft-top is offered with copy chassis card, factory correspondence and Swiss Carte Grise.

Lot Details
Auction Grand Palais Sale
Bonhams, Paris, France
TypeCar
Lot Number536
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price€175000
Hammer Price (inc premium)€169050
Year1947
Condition rating2
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberB139BH
Engine numberB69B((
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors