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Bentley Mark VI (1946-1953)

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Bentley Mark VI (1946-1953)
The Bentley Mark VI Standard Steel Saloon was the first complete car to be manufactured by Rolls-Royce Ltd. Previously only chassis were built and coachwork was constructed by outside coachbuilders.

Engine : 6 cylinder in-line configurationTransmission : Single dry-plate clutch, 4 speed gearboxChassis : Pressed steel parallel girder with channel crossmembers and cruciform bracing.Dimensions : 120 inches Performance : Max speed 94 mph 151 km/h. No. Made 5,201. The original 10-foot wheelbase Bentley Mark VI chassis used the shorter of the two rationalised frames introduced immediately after the Second World War.

The Silver Wraith was similar but 7 inches longer in it's original short wheelbase guise, and was fitted exclusively with individual coachwork, no standard steel saloon being available for that chassis. Its appearance in 1946 marked a radical change in working practice for Rolls-Royce. For the first time in the company's history not only was a chassis and engine being combined on one site,but the car was being clothed there too.

Thus, for the first time, a Rolls-Royce or Bentley could take to the high-way as soon as it had left the factory gates.The coachwork was produced at Pressed Steel's factory to a design and to specifications from Rolls-Royce and then delivered as a shell to the factory. The next step was to fit the body to the chassis followed by painting and fitting the chrome parts and the lights.

After this an interior was fitted which could stand comparison with almost any high-class work from the coachbuilders. The lines of the standard steel coachwork of the Mark VI looked to some extent like the last bodies, which had been created by Park Ward immediately before the outbreak of the war. The four-door body was compact and well balanced. Headlamps were no longer individual units,but integrated into the front wings. A sunroof which later became standard and rear wheel spats could be ordered as extras.

The car's interior offered seats and door panels covered with finest leather which was supplied by Connolly; undisputably the Empire's finest tanners of motor hide. Trimmed with leather, too, were the woollen carpets of matching colour. The wooden facia and the door cappings showed a high-gloss walnut veneer. The sale brochure called the new creation the Standard Steel Sports Saloon.

The Mark VI became the most successful Bentley model that Rolls-Royce ever built- and more successful too than any product from the time when Bentley had been an independent company .Until 1952 it was built almost unchanged other than the engine upgrade. Roughly one-fifth of the 5,200 Bentley Mark VI's built did not receive a standard body, but individual coachwork.

After all, a considerable number of buyers could still be expected to prefer a body built and prepared just for them. Not before 1949 was the first left-hand drive Mark VI to be purchased. During previous times export efforts had mainly concentrated on the countries of the British Empire.

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