1950 BENTLEY MARK VI Standard SteelView vehicle description
The Mk. VI four-door standard steel sports saloon was the first post-war luxury car from Bentley. Announced in May 1946 and produced from 1946 to 1952 this very expensive car was a big success for the company. it was also the first car from Rolls-Royce with all-steel coachwork and the first car to be completely assembled and finished at their factory.
In 1952 both Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn and Bentley Mk. VI standard steel bodies were modified to incorporate a boot of about twice the size and the result became known as the R-Type Bentley. Mk. VI engines and chassis were modified to provide higher performance and sold to be bodied by selected coachbuilders as the first Bentley Continentals.
The MkVl used the same six-cylinder B60 4 1⁄4-litre ‘F-head’ straight-six engine as the pre-war MkV.
A four-speed syncromesh manual transmission was fitted to the Bentley version, with the floor-mounted gear stick sitting to the right of the driver.
In Ian Fleming’s early novels, Bond's one true love was his 1933 Bentley 4½ Litre. After this was destroyed during a chase sequence with the villainous Drax in Moonraker, he used his gambling winnings to buy a Bentley Mark VI.
So there you go.
This fine looking vehicle is presented in black over cream with a fine red stripe for detail. It has a light beige leather interior.
It appears to a very solid, proper example and a car that, even today, is as right for special occasions as it is for just nipping to the shops in considerable style.
This car was born in the year that C.S. Lewis’ ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ was published, Gloria Swanson brought a tear to the eye in Sunset Boulevard and, somewhat bizarrely, Bertrand Russell won the Nobel Prize in Literature.
So, it’s getting on a bit. A close inspection tells the story of its years. The paintwork had a scratch here, a chip there, and scuffs here, there and elsewhere. The interior is in good fettle generally – and certainly for its age – but there are cosmetic jobs to be done if the next owner wants to get it up to the highest standard. Mechanically the car seems perfectly sound and we’re told by the vendor that it runs beautifully and is good to tick along at 55-60mph all day long.
And so it should be, if you believe that it has covered just 12,800 miles from new in 70 years of life. If that’s true, then this car is barely run in. We can’t prove the mileage, and the fact that it was used as a wedding car for a while might suggest that the mileage has been somewhat under-reported.
That said, it’s certainly true that it was recorded as having a mileage of 6,431 on the occasion of its 2005 MOT. The current vendor has added around 500 miles during his 18 trouble-free months of ownership.
He is only selling because it was ultimately a bit too big for simply pottering to and from the pub and, although his original intention had been to spend time and money on a proper restoration, he ultimately felt that his minimal use of the vehicle didn’t quite warrant the expense.
On the Outside
It’s a handsome car, there’s no mistaking that, and taken as a whole it really does look very smart indeed. It’s in generally fine condition and, we’re told, is a joy to look at, drive, sit in or just be around.
But it’s not perfect and could do with some overall attention to the bodywork.
There are some quite awkwardly shaped (from a construction point of view) box and panel sections on this Bentley. But everything fits together nicely with consistently narrow and parallel gaps between sections, aside from a slightly wayward example at the bottom of the boot lid, and reflect the quality of the craftsmanship that went into what was a very expensive car in 1950.
The paintwork is a bit of a curate’s egg: it’s good in parts. Get close and you’ll see peeling lacquer on the o/s front wing, scratches and scuffs on the n/s front and rear wings, scuffing and a slight indentation on the o/s rear wing, and sundry other marks, blemishes, cracks and smudges on the boot, the bonnet and the door hinges. There is a small area of bubbling on one wing.
It’s hard to know whether or not the car has been resprayed at some point in its long history, but the vendor has a hunch that it might have been.
All exterior lights work, as do the original trafficators, and the car has nearly new matching tyres all round.
On the Inside
The light beige leather upholstery is in excellent condition and comfortably belies the car’s age. The carpets, too, are very good. The roof lining is largely in decent nick, save for a small tear and a hole, and the door cards, handles and windows are in good working and cosmetic order.
The original radio doesn’t work. Now, this could be because (i) it just doesn’t work (ii) no-one makes programmes for Long Wave today (iii) ‘Dick Barton – Special Agent’ isn’t on any more.
The sun-roof no longer works, but it is sealed shut and doesn’t leak.
The wood veneers on the dashboard have lost some of their glossy lustre over the years but gained a charming patina of age. A bit of elbow grease or a few quid could probably restore their former glory and undo the effects of years of exposure to sunlight.
There is a small hole in the wood on the driver’s side. This is where the heater control should be. The vendor hasn’t been able to find a replacement, but it shouldn’t be impossible.
The boot is sparse but tidy and has a spare wheel, toolkit and jack under the floor. Some metal hinges on the floor have a light dusting of surface rust, but nothing much.
All the seats are in good condition, with the rears having pop-out ashtrays in the arm rests. They look like the kind of thing Mr. Bond might have adapted for use as weapons launchers. Rear seat passengers also have at their disposal two beautifully engineered, wood veneer, fold-down picnic tables on which to rest their Dom Perignon and beluga.
Overall, the undersides look surprising good for a car of this age. Yes, there is some corrosion and there are places where this has produced flaking of the metal. It looks as if part of the rear of the exhaust system may have been replaced in the not too distant past.
The new front and rear shock absorbers can clearly be seen in the accompanying photographs.
The engine bay has a few areas of superficial surface, as do the undersides of the folding sections of the bonnet (you’ll soon get the knack of opening and closing these). Everything is where it should be and there is nothing we’ve seen in the photographs to raise a frown or prompt a tut.
The vendor tells us that the engine is fine and that the car always starts on the button. He also tells us that the new shocks transformed the driving experience from ‘OK’ to ‘very good’.
The car had four new tyres fitted in 2019. It also earned an invoice in excess of £4k for new shock absorbers all round and the dismantling and reassembly of the suspension system. So, although the leaf springs may look more than a little rust coloured, they’ve clearly been looked at recently and deemed to be of at least no immediate concern.
The car was last serviced in 2019 and has a digital paper trail of MOTs back to 2005.
Apart from that, its history is something of a mystery, apart from the fact that we know it’s been laid up for a few years, we know it’s done hardly any miles in the last 15 years, and we know the vendor bought it through Historics Auctioneers in March 2019.
The Bentley doesn’t have a current MOT certificate, and while it is exempt by virtue of its age, we would strongly encourage the new owner to have the car re-MOT’d at the earliest. The cost of an MOT is a small investment when offset against the purchase and upkeep of any classic car, and it gives an independent, third-party assessment of the car’s condition, which not only provides reassurance to the owner (and any subsequent purchasers) but might also be invaluable in the event of a bump when negotiating with the police and any interested insurance companies…
If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage given its project status – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment.
NB. We know that many of you will be limiting your social exposure over the coming days and weeks, so if you’d rather not come to see the car in person, please contact the owner and ask if they can shoot a personal video of the car honing in on any areas you’d like them to concentrate on.
And please be reassured, we’ve undertaken a full COVID-assessment and put into place strict control measure to enable us to safely facilitate a no-contact, socially distanced viewing that includes disinfection of the vehicle before and after your viewing.
However, if you’d rather not come to see the car in person, please give us a call and we can shoot a personal video of the car honing in on any areas you’d like us to concentrate on.
Or, even better, why not contact us with your mobile number and we can set up a WhatsApp video call? You get to direct us in real-time, giving you a virtual personal viewing experience while maintaining the lockdown. We like to call it ‘The Market’s 2020 Vision’…
What We Think
We think this is a good example of both the model and the marque. What it lacks in history it makes up for in charm, aesthetics and mechanical integrity. We’re told that it runs well and we’re as confident as we can be that the car’s excellent condition is hiding nothing untoward.
In our opinion, this lovely 1950 Bentley could be happily bought and enjoyed as it is, or it could become the deserving subject of an ambitious restoration programme. Either way, it’s a class act and will almost certainly give its new owner a great deal of pleasure.
We’re confident to offer this vehicle for auction with an estimate in the range of £10,000 - £15,000.
Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with the seller in Hampshire; to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
This vehicle is not with us at The Market’s HQ near Abingdon, which means we have had to rely on the owner’s description of it, in conjunction with the photographs you see here, to compile the listing.
With this in mind, we would encourage potential bidders to contact the owner themselves and arrange to view the car in person, or to arrange a dedicated video call in which they can view the car virtually and ask questions.
If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and an array of regional providers for transporting it.
BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.
Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.
Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.
Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.
Want to know how The Market auctions work? Take a look at our FAQ'sView FAQ's