1947 Bentley MK VI Custom – Classified of the Week

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By Chris Pollitt

We love the weird and the wonderful here at Car & Classic, and this Bentley most definitely ticks both of those boxes. Yes, it is indeed a Bentley, but not like any you may have seen before. This 1947 car is based on a Mk VI chassis, but with a body that has been completely reworked to the specification of its original owner, the wonderfully eccentric Roderick McLeod. The vendor states that McLeod had around six custom vehicles built over a period of two decades, though this Bentley might be the only surviving one (though if you know of any of the other five, do get in touch).

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The body is no longer that of a large, luxury saloon, and is instead now a smaller, two-door affair. This was smart on McLeod’s part, as the smaller body was far lighter than the original and thus, put less stress on the engine. As such, this is a surprisingly spritely machine. The body still seats four though, and in the kind of luxury you would expect from a Bentley. There are huge swathes of green hide, and rich, deep carpets throughout, along with a more than generous helping of wood veneer. It might be a more sporty Bentley than the norm of the period, but it’s still just as luxurious. It was also somewhat ahead of its time, as evidenced by the huge plexiglass panel in the roof, which serves to make the cabin light and airy. A trend seen on many of today’s cars.

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Externally, the body’s design harks back to pre-war ideas with separate headlights and cutaway wings amongst other touches. It does, from some angles, look a little confused, but on the whole, the lines work and they pull the eye through as you gaze at it. We won’t lie, we were a tad baffled when we first saw it, but soon we found ourselves liking the look of the small-bodied Bentley. It’s got a certain charm, that’s for sure. We particularly like the dead side profile, as the lines have a definite hot rod feel about them.

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The car was owned by McLeod until 1952, by which point his busy mind had decided to have something else built. The car was sold to the wonderfully named Dr Valentine Rex O’Connor who kept it for a number of years, after which we understand the car spent some time off the road. In 2013 though, it was given a complete overhaul to the tune of some £18,000 and pressed back into action. The overhaul was obviously done to a high standard, as the car stands today in excellent condition throughout. The car now has an MOT until 2022 and is in rude health and ready to go.

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At £49,500, this is a big commitment to make, but we would encourage you to do so. There are few cars that can claim to be truly unique, and even those that do are often based on something dull and uninspiring. This one, however, is properly unique. And it’s based on a Bentley. That’s not a combination you’re ever likely to see again. You should pounce on this opportunity to own a slice of of motoring history, and one that so wonderfully captured British eccentricity at its finest.

 

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