1952 Bentley Mk VI 4.5 Litre Sports Special

Make: Bentley
Model: Mk VI 4.5 Litre Sports Special
Year: 1952
Registration Number: OTU 355
Chassis Number: B.361.NY
Engine Number: B.430.N
Transmission: Manual
Steering: Right Hand Drive
MOT Test Expiry: 30 June 2023 / Exempt
Sold For: £56650
Road Tax Exempt

Lot No: 208

The Special has been an important part of the classic Bentley movement for many years, coming to fruition from the mid-1960s onwards, supported by a ready supply of strong well-engineered chassis clothed in poor condition bodywork.

This particular Special is based on a 1952 MKVI with a standard length chassis, and is an excellent example of the builder’s art.  OTU 355 was registered on the 22nd of September 1978 as a ‘Special’ build. The 1986 odometer reading was 60705. By 1991, the Bentley had covered a further 105 miles. In 1992 on the 1st of May, the current custodian purchased the sporting motor car. In 1995, a full rebuild commenced: interestingly, the early special body was removed, chassis refurbished and modified. The engine was moved back 260mm using the Harry Rose design. The chassis was cleaned, painted and Waxoyl applied.  A Derby Bentley bulkhead and bonnet was fitted to the chassis and an open four seater body in aluminium clad the ash frame, following the lines of the Derby bonnet, which was made, painted and fitted by David Simpson. A full tonneau was also made for the Bentley.

Other work, carried out by the vendor and David Simpson, included the fitting of: a full flow engine oil filter, a ‘Maniflow’ stainless steel exhaust system, a tin-plated steel petrol tank and a BDC crown wheel and pinion with an axle ratio of 2.93 (14: 41). The springs were reset after the new body was installed, the re-cored radiator was shortened and Kenlow fans were also fitted. The Special was equipped with new leather gaiters to the rear, Bentley step plates, an external handbrake, a folding windscreen and aero screen, an engine-turned aluminium dashboard, a new wiring loom and electronic ignition, with the twin points system retained. The mudguards were rolled using ‘buck’ patterns. Lucas P80 headlamps were sourced for the Bentley, renovated and fitted; the seats are upholstered in green Connolly leather, as are the interior trim panels and detailing. Work was completed in 2001.

In December 2021, a full service was carried out with a new oil filter fitted, together with fresh oil and coolant. The chassis greasing points were also lubricated. In 2022, the fuel pumps have been reconditioned with new Burlen points and diaphragms fitted. The carburettor valves have also been replaced and new spark plugs fitted. Also this year, the front brake hydraulic cylinders have been bored out and fitted with stainless steel liners by Past Parts, and the braking system benefits from new fluid.  The Bentley passed an MOT test in June at the mileage of 63896 and in July, a new battery was fitted.

To summarise then, OTU 355 has retained the chassis in its original length and using an aluminium-clad ash frame, David Simpson created an elegant body of pleasing proportions. This understated dark green coachwork and silver steel wheels, fitted with Radial Ply tyres, creates a handsome sports tourer.   The interior has four seats upholstered in quality green leather and the aluminium engine-turned dash has a full complement of instruments to keep the driver and passengers aware of progress.  The aluminium trim and chrome folding windscreen, as well as the aluminium dash, combine well with the green coachwork and interior to give a very attractive impression. The engine bay is clean and tidy and the quality post war Bentley engineering can be appreciated with ease. The owner, a professional automotive engineer, has enjoyed the work project creating an attractive car but has only used it on special occasions.  It has been stored in a dry garage and serviced before use.

Supplied with the Bentley is a box containing numerous invoices from 1984 for work and parts, together with past MOT test certificates (detailing mileages from 1984), an original Service Handbook for Bentley Mk VI, a Bentley Mk VI and R-Type workshop manual printed by the BDC, and the V5C registration certificate. Also supplied is a canvas wallet with driver’s tools and finished but unassembled hood frame sticks in laminated ash with the folding mechanism in stainless steel.


There are a number of important spare parts purchased for the Bentley that the vendor wishes to offer by separate negotiation: an engine lifting frame, a dashboard master switch, an ignition coil, an electrical control box (Voltage Reg/Cut out), a spare set of spark plugs and two Lucas P100 headlights.

Auction Date: 24 November 2022