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Car of the Month

More on Bentley in these books:

Freestone & Webb Coachbuilder

Coachwork on Rolls-Royce




Car of the Month - January 2022
Bentley Mark VI, 1952, #B101NY
Drophead Coupé by Freestone & Webb

Bentley Mk 6

Freestone & Webb had been founded 99 years ago – the coachbuilder started business in 1923. Their premises 'Unity Works' was but a few miles away from the factory where W.O. Bentley produced his sport cars. Attractive design and high-quality standards were hallmarks of the coachwork made by Freestone & Webb. During the first decade of its existence the coachbuilder the coachbuilder’s creations preferably were built to Weymann-license to achieve light weight which didn't impair a car's performance. No wonder that Bentley Motors became a major customer.

Bentley Mark VI

After the end of World War II when the number of independent coachbuilders was dwindling rapidly. Freestone & Webb thanks to their well-deserved reputation were considered to be among 'The Big Five'. They had established themselves on a par with Hooper, H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward and James Young. An impressive example of what a client could expect to be delivered by Unity Works' designers and craftsmen it the Drophead Coupé on 1952 Bentley Mark VI chassis #B101NY. It was a spectacularly elegant car gathering attention wherever it did appear but didn't cause any hick-up with flamboyant pomp. With a hood fully disappearing under a metal cover, long sweeping fenders vanishing into the rear of the body and full spats over the rear wheels the drophead coupe was complying perfectly well with Freestone & Webb’s trademark attention to fine detail.

Bentley 6,5 Liter

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The other side of the coin is this car has been almost prohibitively expensive when new. That might be an explanation why Freestone & Webb did find only one more customer for this design. Their second drophead coupe shared merely the basic lines but the coachwork shows in-depth modifications. Hence it is justified to list #B101NY as a ‘one-off’.

At a certain stage during its later life the car was up-dated from its original 4,257 cc F-head inline six-cylinder engine (with est. 150bhp) to the slightly more powerful 4,566 cc 'Big Bore' variant of that engine. More recently the differential was substituted by one of 'Continental-layout', hence cruising at low revs was improved. Over recent years the car became restored to a standard which permits to enter any top class event and surely is a contender for laurels at A-ranking Concours d'Elegance. One of the most beautiful Bentley Mark VI after a painstakingly careful restoration #B101NY today arguably is even more stunning than when it was new.

Bentley Mark 6

It was no surprise to find two photos of this car were selected for inclusion in James Taylor's new book "Freestone & Webb 1923-1958, The Story of a British Coachbuilder". Taylor thus has compiled the first book ever devoted to the work of Freestone & Webb. He did his job formidably well and most certainly his tome will be a 'Standard Reference Book' for readers and collectors alike.

Bentley Mark VI

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