This Bentley Mk VI is a rare example of an exceptionally good, early Bentley Mk VI. Its first owner was Mr. Edward (Teddy) Rosen who joined Marconi in the Post Office Wireless Department in 1911. During World War I he joined the Royal Flying Corps where he serviced radios. In 1920 he founded Ultra Electric Limited where he was keen on delivering quality radio sets at a reasonable price. During World War II, Ultra turned production over to equipment for the war effort including manufacturing parts for the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito (one of my favourite WWII aeroplanes). At the 1947 British Industries Fair (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. C.1507) Ultra Electric Limited offered ‘Ultra’ Radios, Radiograms, Television Receivers, Aeronautical Radio and Inter-Communication Equipment and Actuators and Aircraft Components. In August 1948 Teddy purchased B152DA and this is the Bentley Mk VI for sale.
The Bentley Mark VI 4-door standard steel sports saloon was announced in May 1946 and produced until 1952. Still sold as the Silent Sports Car, these very expensive cars were a genuine success and today they can offer you an exceptionally fine and fast drive providing the car is in very good order. John Blatchley (head of the talented team at Crewe responsible for the styling) designed an almost perfectly proportioned, quintessentially British motorcar. That indefinable Englishness with high style that nonetheless never ran into brashness or excess. Their long-term weakness lay in the inferior steels forced on them by government’s post-war controls. The lamentable consequence of this is, that few thoroughly good early ones remain, which makes B152DA a rare proposition. Phrases like “few cars lend themselves so well to the creation of modified and fast special tourers as the Bentley Mark VI” say it all. My Bentley Mk VI is for sale after giving our family years of reliable pleasure. Too many hobbies and too little time.
Bentley Mk VI For Sale
The date of original registration is 17th August 1948 and the first registration number was JYP 97 which Teddy had transferred when he bought a big bore small boot MkVI. B152DA has a very torquey 4¼ Litre, F-head, Straight Six engine (4,257 cc) with overhead inlet and side exhaust valves and a pair of SU carburetors. Its engine has been referred to as ‘very sprightly’ with the 4¼ widely considered to be ‘sweeter’ than the 4½ engine. This small bore small boot Bentley never had spats (assembly points are absent) nor did it have chrome trim on the sides. Bling simply wouldn’t do in post war Britain, gone are the days. It has the rare and oh so comfortable front seats with side panels to give you support in corners, the rear bench (arm rest can be deployed) is a sofa in motion. All seats have single panel leather (plain not piped) which were Connollised as was the fashion. There are no back-seat picnic trays or chrome grab handles. It is quite rare to have the long chrome handle for operating the drop glass quick release on both driver and passenger door (on the latter it became a wind up handle). The chrome edge of the drop glass descends into the door on lowering it. This car has the original leather luggage straps which are as rare as hen’s teeth, that said, this doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference to how well it drives. The Bentley Mk VI for sale has always been garaged and resides inside a ventilated Carcoon Veloce. Beyond meticulous A and B schedule services, much work has been done over the years which is listed below.
In my quest to find a very good, completely unmolested Mk VI, I was much helped by Ashley James (who restored several Mk6s to perfection) and it was ultimately Gary Bretherton (the Rolls Royce and Bentley surveyor used by P&A Wood and other top dealers) who sourced B152DA. His work, after me purchasing it, confirmed just what exceptional condition this car was in and that the low recorded mileage of 58,783 would seem accurate. My aim for B152DA was to be able to drive this Silent Sports Car in the way Bentley’s were meant to be driven (not slow and in reliable safety). Mechanically this has to be one of the best early Bentley Mk VI cars. Between Norman Geeson seeing to her rear axle (including a 3.4 to 1 differential which he states alters the final drive ratio to 74 mph at 3,000 rpm) and a complete engine/cooling overhaul by Richard James, I briefly allowed B152DA to run 90 mph (TomTom GPS) and there was plenty more in her with perfectly balanced handling. No, it’s not really a sports car -occupants enjoy too much comfort for that classification- yet this unquestionably is a driver’s car. Installing Harvey Bailey Engineering anti-roll bars at both front and back certainly added to the fun of driving. I have driven hundreds of miles in a day often and this Mk VI is utterly competent in modern traffic. The 3.4:1 diff helps this Mk VI to be as economic on fuel as heavy modern cars are (e.g. Range Rover). Having all three headlights re-silvered dramatically improved light output which makes driving at night safe and pleasant. No need to heed Joseph Lucas’s quote a gentleman does not motor around after dark.
Yours is a good and interesting car and rare – Ashley James (restored 1951 MkVI JTM 50 and 1952 MkVI KDA 132)
From the work I have carried out I can believe that the mileage is correct but there is not enough history to guarantee this. Despite cosmetic issues and ongoing maintenance, car is very original and sound – Gary Bretherton’s initial survey (Rolls Royce & Bentley Surveyor)
The image grid at the very bottom of this web page gives you a fine impression of some of the work that has been carried out on this Bentley Mk VI for sale by acknowledged, British Bentley Mk VI experts. All paper and electronic records to hand will be transferred to a successful buyer of B152DA including high resolution source files of videos like this.
October-December 2010 at Gary Bretherton
- Recommissioning included but was not limited to exhaust replaced from front silencer back, temporary repair to front pipe, new fuel pump fitted, front fuel hose replaced and filter cleaned, brakes relined resealed and hoses replaced, shock absorbers topped up, new fan belt fitted, cooling system flushed, new hoses, heater hoses and antifreeze, engine oil and filter changed, carburetors cleaned and checked, distributor adjusted and lubricated, tappets adjusted, new dipstick fitted, repaint both sides, fit four new 185SR16 Michelin X and 16 F Ret Michelin Inner Tubes with one new, fitted 185SR16 Michelin X in the boot.
- Road Test: drives very well, brakes good and progressive, clutch OK but not much feel, warms up correctly (thermostat OK) runs at 75-77 degrees, oil pressure 35 lbs/sq” cold, 25 lbs/sq” hot, ammeter shows regulated charge, fuel gauge accuracy nor confirmed, speedometer odometer and trip OK, gear change good and box quiet.
- B152DA passed its MOT easily and was ready for collection with a view to significant restoration by Ashley James’ son Richard in Nailsworth.
February-June 2011 at Richard James (Nailsworth)
- Front Suspension and Steering: strip front suspension including remove hubs, remove front shock absorbers, remove brake backing plates and brake assemblies, removing king pin upright, press out top yoke bush, strip and assess lower yoke bushes (lack of lubrication), remove torque arm bushes, remove steering cross tubes found to have excessive wear. Nearside King pin had excessive wear so stripped and inspected. Offside King pin showed no wear, so top and bottom covers removed oil ways flushed bearings cleaned oil supply to top bearing modified to improve oil flow (n/s also). N/s King pin assembly replaced (including upper and lower bearings, felt seals, original thrust washer reused). Both front dampers found to be ineffective, O/s stripped and rebuilt with late spec damping valves (with sleeve repair kit and modern oil seals), N/s replaced with exchanged damping unit with same damping valving. Anti-roll bar removed and replaced with thicker Harvey Bailey unit and new anti-roll bar links. Top yoke bushes replaced, torque arm bushes replaced, lower yoke bushes replaced including pin, housings, needle rollers, felt seats, distance pieces and bolts (both sides). Lower yokes shimmed according to RR specifications. One shot pipes cleaned and flow checked, feed to N/s outer steering ball joint missing, new pipe fitted and tested. Both front dust guards for King pin one shot feed damaged or missing so replaced along with distance pieces etc. to original specifications. Cross steering tubes stripped and inspected 4* ball joints replaced including bronze bushes, springs, ball pins, ball pads and ball bearings, dust seals also replaced. Steering box adjusted and topped up with 80/90w. Front hubs stripped and de-greased, bearings removed and replaced with new, repacked with grease and refitted. All parts were wirebrush treated accordingly for corrosion and primed and repainted prior to reassembly.
- Braking system: Front brakes: Stripped and cleaned, Master cylinder removed, slave cylinders found to be weeping, sent for refurbishment with master cylinder and mechanical expanders. Brake hoses found to be new so reused, back plates cleaned, teated and painted, brake adjusters stripped clean and re-lubricated, original front shoes found to be in good condition so reused, equal wear linkage stripped and freed. All parts painted and re-assembled, O/s bleed nipple found to be defective so replaced. Master cylinder re-installed. Front brakes bled with new DOT 4 fluid until deemed clean. Drums cleaned and deglazed. Front brakes reset to RR specifications.
- Braking system: Rear brakes: Rear brake assemblies removed and stripped. Mechanical expanders stripped and cleaned, new caps fitted to expanders. Adjusters stripped cleaned and lubricated. Back plates cleaned and painted, inter shoe linkage stripped cleaned and pivots lubricated. New brake shoes fitted (supplied shoes found to be incorrect, issue identified and modified accordingly) brakes reassembled to RR specs, inter shoe linkage reset and drums deglazed.
- Brake system: Rear equaliser removed together with support bar and hanger, equaliser stripped cleaned lubricated and assembled, new rubber bushes fitted to hanger and support bar, all parts painted prior to re-assembly. Brake linkage set-up proceedure done according to RR specs, all linkages removed, pivots/parrots checked and lubricated, pins cleaned and lubricated, servo adjusted and hand brake adjusted. All breaking components re-checked an finally adjusted prior to road test and re-adjusted post-road test.
- Rear suspension and axle: Rear suspension assembly removed, half shafts and wheel bearings removed and shipped to Norman Geeson for refurbishment. Rear springs found to be suffering from lack of lubrication and wear as a result, rear shackle pins and bushes found to be in very poor state due to lack of lubrication. Reset and refurbished rear springs fitted with new 4* shackle pin bushes. New shackle pins order 2* front 4* rear and refitted, new Wefco gainters supplied and fitted to oiled springs, new rear springs and shackles fitted, all parts lubricated and painted accordingly. Axle tubes shot blasted and inspected for signs of corrosion, found to be in A1 condition so primed and repainted prior to refitting. Customer supplied differential fitted with refurbished half shafts and new wheel bearings (by Norman Geeson), refitted to springs with new rubber isolators. One shot system checked and re-instated, flexible pipes to rear shackles in very poor state replaced with braided s/s hoses. All one shot tested and checked. Rear dampers removed and stripped, shaft repair kits fitted, housings machined to fit modern lip seals, cleaned inside and out, all valving checked and adjusted to RR specifications, painted prior to re-assembly. Shock absorbers fitted with new bump stops and mountings for Harvey Bailey rear anti-roll bar kit, mounts also installed to axle tubes and roll bar fitted including modification to clear shock absorber links. Silent block bushes in rear shock absorber links found to be heavily worn so replaced *6. Shock absorbers filled with straight 30w oil and bled, axle filled with EP8090w oil, ride control system re-instated and bled accordingly. All axle components re-checked prior to test drive.
- Engine: Flexolite spin off oil filter conversion fitted with modern filter, oil changed to 10/40w semi-synthetic. ITG air filter element fitted. New ignition wire harnass including coil and connection, new plug caps and condensor fitted, anti-freeze drained, sock fitted to top water hose (requires consistent inspection to avoid blockage and engine overheating), refilled with blue anti-freeze and de-ionised water, one shot tank refilled with EP80/90w oil. Clutch adjustment checked and found to be correct. Rear fuel filter stripped and cleaned, gauze found to be torn and seal rotten, all replaced. Carburettors checked over, found to be in a very poor state of repair, cleaned as best as possible, float heights checked and set, butterfly balance checked, needles and slides polished, float bowls cleaned as best as possible, filters cleaned, jet bridge cleaned, jet refilled with oil, overflow pipe extended on front carb to clear the dynamo. Recommend full overhaul. Rear gearbox mount replaced along with gearbox side buffers.
- Exhaust: Down pipe removed abnd welded in ‘V’, centre silencer replaced with new gaskets. Advised tailpipe needs replacement as heavily perforated.
- Trim and Body: Sunroof removed, felt runners replaced, all points lubricated, side clamps straightened, new front and rear seals fitted, wood surround fitted and cleaned, drain holes checked, N/s found to be leaking (solution requires removal of headlining and roof wood work to access rubber hose), O/s found to be in good order, sunroof reinstalled. Scuttle vent, all parts removed, free seized pivots and lubricate, fit new seal, replace drain pipe, and refit to car. O/s door handle loose, capping removed door handle removed, escutcheon secured and new retaining screw fitted to handle, lubricated and re-assembled. N/s bonnet catch stiff and not locking on front, mechanism stripped cleaned and lubricated and reassembled, excessive wear to front side modified to achieve proper closing. After market heater system removed, hole in bulkhead filled with plate, original demister system refitted and wired, after market switch marked ‘petrol’ removed and replaced with original type switch marked ‘L’ for use with deminster motor (knob incorrect). Driver’s seat removed, trim re-glued and secured to improve appearance. Trim piece between dash and top capping straightened glued and reinstalled, O/s trim piece between door and dash reinstalled, dash capping cleaned and waxed and reinstalled, switch knobs cleaned, external lights checked, test drive.
August 2011 at Richard James (Nailsworth)
- Remove exhaust manifolds to cure exhaust leaks, clean mating faces, fit new studs, gaskets, washers and nuts, reassemble. Fit new front mudflaps and fitting hardware. Fit new pedal rubbers. Tighten sump bolts. Adjust brakes front and rear, adjust brake linkages as per RR specs. Inspect O/s front hub/brake for grating noise, remove N/s torque arm spherical bush, re-lubricate and reassemble. Have front wheels balanced. Remove filter sock and inspect, refill antifreeze. Adjust door lock, adjust sun visors.
February-May 2012 at Richard James (Nailsworth)
- Engine: Remove engine for renewal of clutch. Including remove and flush radiator, stripping engine of all ancillaries, clean and deliver to paint shop, cleaning of engine bay and associated parts, back flushing of engine block, fitting new friction plate and reconditioned clutch cover plate, replacement of all associated gaskets, replacement of oil pressure hose to bulkhead and flexible fuel supply hose, fitment of new thermostat top cover due to corrosion, disassembly of starter motor including cleaning and lubrication.
- Carburettors: Strip and rebuild carburettors, with complete rebuild kit including butterflies, floats (ethanol resistent), new needles and instillation of Grosse jets to avoid flooding.
- Body: Stripping and replacing all window seals in all four doors including felt runners top window channels, rain wiper strips, sealing of cracked door top, attempt to fit new quarter light seals (very poor replacement parts), fit second hand passenger drop glass, seal seat belt holes in floor pan, fitment of new correct wiper arms and blades.
- Miscellaneous: Removal and replacement of steering wheel and centre horn boss for refurbishment, fitting of 12V output, fixing heater switch on dashboard, swapping spot lamp to come on with main beam, adjust headlights for improved output, attempt to clean reflectors, fitting of new starter solenoid, connect indicator switch wiring, have front wheels swapped to later type ‘reinforced’ wheels, fit tyres and balance, MOT, road test, tighten chrome startring handle flap cover, fit second hand replacement tail light lens.
- Full A service
February 2014 at Richard James (Nailsworth)
- Full A+B service including changing all fluilds (engine oil an dfilter, gearbox oil, rear axle oil, antifreeze). Lubricate starter, dynamo, distributor, engine control linkages, brake pivot points, prop shaft etc. Top up steering box and one shot oil tank. Clean and adjust contact breakers, inlet tappets, brake assemblies, front wheel bearings, fan belt tension. Clean carburettors, air filter, fuel filters. Readjust front brakes, clean/deglaze drums, measure drums, adjust servo, check/set tyre pressures. Check/top up shock absorber levels. Replace and gap spark plugs. Tighten/check sump bolts. Check front suspension mounts and pivots.
- Body: lubricate door hinges, boot locks and door handles. Fit new lock spring to N/s rear door (requiring removal of windows). Strip and lubricate O/s rear door lock mechanism to correct sticking bend door handle shaft to achieve correct position. Screw rear headlining panels in place. Repair front sunroof drain channels including remowing windscreen surround, radio aerial, sun visors, front portion of headlining. Remove screen to sunroof wooden support structure. Access drain tubes, remove remain of original tubes and replace with suitable pipe, seal into position. Replace all for mentioned parts. Replace heater rheostat with push/pull knob for on/off only. Clean and test original demister system. Clean terminals on fuel tank sender, check earth.
- Exhaust: Fit new tailpipe to exhaust system, weld on flanges mounts etc. and paint. Clean and paint/touch in engine bay, replace hoses and clips etc.
- Miscellaneous: Fit ‘Flying B’ badge to the rear bumper, deliver and collect car from paintshop, remove headlamp assemblies, strip down and ship to be re-silvered, reassemble and refit to car with new bulbs. Clean and spray underside of car with engine oil to prevent further corrosion. Correct switch for underseat heater
July 2014 at Burwell & Ward (Kettering)
- Test charging system, rebuild regulator, bench test and set up with dynamo
October 2016 at Daniel Moore (Peterborough, P&A Wood trained)
- Full A+B service
- Overhaul brake servo and renew lining and gearbox servo oil seal
- Replace both front suspension torque arm rubber mounts (perished due to grease ingress)
- Replace both gearbox side mounts to secure engine from rocking around
- Replace both front anti-roll bar links (perished)
- Replace both front wheel bearings and shim to tolerance. Penny twisted split pins fitted in the factory tradition
- Remove and re-gasket leaking sump oil sender unit
- Replace perished and leaking gearbox to rear shock absorber high pressure supply flexible hose
- Replace perished and leaking fuel tank filler neck hose/joint
- Remove fuel gauge sender unit to ascertain why it is inoperative, found float from a previous sender unit jammed and tangled up in the current sender unit. Removed, refitted sender unit with new gaskets and test.
- Remove dynamo for commutator repair and test
- Replace faulty Indian voltage regulator with genuine UK Lucas new old stock item
- Remove prop shaft and disassemble, thoroughly clean and paint black. Replace 4x old grease nipples with modern BSP push on nipples on grease joints. Replace worn out prop centre bearing, sonically de-rust all prop shaft nuts and bolts, reassemble and refit
- Clean and paint prop shaft centre support spring bracket and re-tension
- Found N/s rear steering arm from yoke assembly bolts loose, removed hub and brake assembly re-tightened and fitted new split pins
- Found rear anti-roll bar links loose, re-tightened
- Replaced perished wiper motor mountings
- Reset and tighten loose gearbox/engine rear tie rod
- Reset heater pipes that were touching exhaust system
- Clean down and treat inner sills with black Dinatrol wax rust inhibitor
- Clean out spare wheel well and treat with black Dinatrol wax rust inhibitor
- Unblock N/s rear leaf spring front shackle pin one shot drip plug (pin was running dry)
- Balance carburettors and reset jet/float heights for smoother running
- Repair broken indicator scintilla clockwork switch
- Lubricate clock with Lenmans clock oil (two drops)
- Found steering box dry, refilled with Millers semi fluid steering box oil
- Replace poor condition spark plug caps with NCK waterproof items
- Replace leaking tappet cover cork gaskets (cleaned out tappet chest at same time and washed down engine)
- Drained down and flushed radiator and block, replenished cooling system with 40% mix bluecol anti-freeze
- Adjusted clutch to factory spec.
- Unblocked centre air vent water drain
- Rectified poor connection to N/s rear side lamp, tightened loose centre spot lamp
August 2019 at Daniel Moore
Despite not having driven my Bentley Mk VI much over the last three years, this service was a full A + B Schedule and included the following:
- flashing front and rear indicator conversion (2x electronic flasher relays used), LEDs hidden inside the city lights and in the D-lights. Almost necessary now to let motorway traffic know where we’re heading. As you may know, at motorway speed, the trafficators -semaphore signals- may not come out and, if they do, they may refuse to stand down again.
- front door period rear view mirrors
- thorough inspection and A and B Schedule service
Thanks to Daniel Moore-Searson, my Bentley Mk VI was fully prepared for a leisurely trip to the Dordogne via les Route nationale française. It says as much about the Bentley Mk VI as it says about Dan’s maintenance & servicing, that it proceeded 1,600 miles without missing a beat and without using a drop of oil. The average fuel consumption was 16.34mpg (5.74km/L). Like my Land Rover Series III 2.25 Petrol, LMU drinks more than I do. Sunshine roof fully open, dropglasses down, quarter lights turned to deflect the wind… holiday! The French were very appreciative of our Bentley and were not shy to show it (thumbs up, waves, claxons and lots of smiles). On our homeward stretch, at a Leclerc hypermarche/petrol station, we met a French ‘British Classic Car’ club, so the bonnet went up to look at those shiny carburetors. Where to go next year?
Spring 2023 at Daniel Moore
In July 2021 my car was the family wedding car for its second time and after that… mothballs. SARS-CoV-2 and two years of lockdown mayhem put a very big spanner in most people’s lives. LMU has been in secure, dry storage for all that time and I am now exploring another tour… Market Harborough to Portsmouth, take the ferry to Santander and brave the Bay of Biscay, drive through the Pyrenees (e.g. N-260, Col du Pourtalet, Col de Tourmalet, Col D’Aubisque with an average gradient of 8%) and, via Aix-en-Provence, visit our old stomping ground that is Megève, and back to Blighty in time for tea. So the Bentley again is going to be ‘rally prepared’ for touring by Dan and his team:
- fullest A + B Schedule
- treble check anything and everything that can go phut e.g. rubber pipes, tyres
- special attention is going to be given to the brakes (imagine 4,078 lb of kerb weight ex-passengers & luggage & forward momentum going down the 11% average incline of the Marie-Blanque… )
- replace ‘holed’ standard exhaust with a modified-for-the-MkVI Bentley Continental exhaust system which enables a 10-15% power gain (conservative figure), not that my Bentley-as-is is a slow coach!
Bentley Mk VI for sale
I am open to sensible offers. Early Bentley Mk VIs are increasing in value and very deservedly so. Rarer Mk VIs that have been cared for, like B152DA has, are more likely to attract a premium. From a very reliable source I heard of a gentleman with money burning a hole in his pocket who was keen to own a Bentley Mk VI. He purchased one abroad that he didn’t have vetted and paid £38,000.00 for it. Bonne chance mon brave. It turned out to be not dissimilar to ‘act in haste, repent at leisure’. This reminded me of me lusting after a good looking big bore small boot Mk VI for which the seller wanted £36,000. This was back in 2010… During the test drive I wasn’t enamoured with the steering, so I had it professionally assessed by P&A Wood in Essex. I took their report to Norman Geeson (who helped B152DA to 3.4:1 differential, refurbished half shafts and new wheel bearings) who read it and, beyond advisory comments on steering, said “well, that’s going to be a £10,000.00 job on the engine”. Ashley James was of a similar opinion, so I let the opportunity pass. A valuable lesson learned… beware travaux non-prévus.
When later in 2010 Ashley rang to tell me that Gary had found a really good 1948 Mk VI, I spluttered based on what I had read about the steering geometry in the early Mk VIs (bollocks, well sorted early Mk VI steering is light once rolling, responsive and not vague). Ashley said “Han, if Gary says it is good, you jump to it”. I am so glad I did. People with miles on the clock and who really know their Bentley Mk VIs have been involved with B152DA: Gary Bretherton, Ashley James, Norman Geeson, (and less miles) Richard James and Daniel Moore. They all know and like my car. I am not interested in letting B152DA go for less than £38K and neither would you be. If you want the delight of a very honest, rare, early Mk VI that circumvents the many pitfalls that outwardly pretty Mk VIs have in store for you, then this is a car you should consider. Cosmetically this 70 years old may not quite be tip top but B152DA drives like an angel out of heaven (bat out of hell if that better reflects your driving style). It is an utterly reliable, fast and safe early Bentley Mk VI that delights its driver and without fail it evokes a smile and a wave from those who see it. This Bentley Mk VI did not attend the 2018 RREC Annual Rally & Concours d’Elegance as this clashes with Henley Women’s Regatta. There is a similar clash of dates in 2019. Please phone +44 (0)1858 464550 to make purchase inquiries.