1952 Bentley Mark VI Special

A superbly engineered bespoke Special; elegantly proportioned and utilising a mighty 6.7-litre straight-8 engine.When Bentley was founded in 1919 in London, W.O.'s aim was simple: "To build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class." His earliest motor cars – the 3-litre, the 4½-litre, the Speed Six and the supercharged Blower – were absolute world-beaters, and Bentley's performance at Le Mans is the stuff of legend. Their first entry in 1923 saw them finish fourth, and by the following year they had crept up to first. Soon the marque was unstoppable at Le Mans – its reliability and performance undeniable – with Bentleys taking first place in 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930.Some of the cars that achieved these feats are still around today and quite rightly command much respect and heavy premiums on the rare occasions they do come to the market. For several years now there have been a handful of very skilled specialists producing cars in faithful homage to these great Bentley racers, often bringing together original parts, new materials and engineering prowess, sometimes themselves commanding in excess of £250,000. These sorts of car should always have a distinct Bentley flavour, both mechanically and stylistically, and perform as closely as possible to the original examples. The car presented here is in that same vein and offers an owner a real taste of that unique and intoxicating Bentley spirit. The car was conceived and built by a highly-skilled engineer, who has fully restored many Bentleys and Jaguars over the years as part of DLB Engineering in Northamptonshire. This Bentley Special was a long time in the planning and the execution has been a labour of love.KBC 570 was commissioned some 10 years ago, utilising a c.1952 Bentley MK6 saloon. Deemed a long way from economic salvation due to typical body corrosion and a conrod that had made a bid for freedom through the side of the engine block. Due to the original engine’s catastrophe a Rolls-Royce B81 straight-eight engine was sourced from an ex-RAF 1966 fire engine, replacing the enormous twin choke Solex carburettor with four SUs to achieve better fuel economy and a lower bonnet line. Now fully rebuilt and detailed, it runs and performs as well as you’d expect, having found its most exciting application at the heart of this Special. To accommodate the extra length of the mighty 6.7-litre straight eight engine, and achieve a more aesthetic look (not present on all Specials), the chassis was extended by some 16-inches at the front, and reduced by the same amount at the rear, all done on a machine table to ensure accuracy, with further supports being added to maintain the MK6’s legendary rigidity (the chassis retains its all-important cruci-form ensuring its inherent strength and integrity were not compromised). This modification has the added advantage of being able to leave the pedals and gearbox in their original positions.To cope with the huge increase in torque, the rear axle was replaced with a Salisbury 4HA unit with a 288/1 ratio from a Jensen Interceptor. The original MK6 brakes were wholly inefficient at best, and absurdly complicated at worst, so the whole system was replaced with a more modern set-up utilising a vacuum servo from a Jaguar Mk7. All fixings and fixtures, where possible, use top-grade stainless steel or aluminium, with local gifted artisan engineers being used to assist with some aspects of the car’s construction.With elegant proportions in hand-built aluminium, finished and trimmed to an equally high standard, plus having a tailored tonneau, this Special is ready to go. There really is an abundance of engineering and visual detail to this car, it needs appreciating in the metal. This is a rare opportunity to own and enjoy a properly engineered Special, at an attractive price point.SpecificationMake: BENTLEYModel: MARK VI 'SPECIAL'Year: 1952Chassis Number: B-166-TNRegistration Number: KBC 570Transmission: ManualEngine Number: TBCDrive Side: Right-hand DriveMake: RHDInterior Colour: OxbloodClick here for more details and images