Lot 222: 1927 Bentley 6˝-Litre All-Weather Tourer
Coachwork by Corsica
Although the 6˝-Litre had been conceived as a touring car to compete with Rolls-Royce’s New Phantom, in Speed Six form it proved admirably suited to competition: in 1929 Barnato/Birkin’s Speed Six won the Le Mans 24-Hour Race ahead of a trio of 4˝-Litre Bentleys and Barnato/Kidston repeated the feat in the following year’s Grand Prix d’Endurance at the Sarthe circuit ahead of similarly-mounted Clement/Watney. Small wonder then, that the fast yet refined 6˝-Litre Speed Six was W O Bentley’s favourite car.
Walter Owen Bentley had established Bentley Motors in 1919 in the North London suburb of Cricklewood, though deliveries did not begin until 1921. The first model, a 3-litre car, was powered by a four-cylinder, single overhead camshaft engine with four valves per cylinder. It was a mechanical theme perpetuated in the greatly refined six-cylinder 6˝-Litre model of 1926. The need for a larger car had resulted from Bentley’s customers specifying bodies of a size not envisaged when the 3-Litre was conceived, a factor only partially addressed by the introduction of the Long Standard chassis in 1923. The 6˝-Litre was produced for four years, during which time 544 chassis were completed.
Bodied by one of the most highly regarded and exclusive of British coachbuilders, and benefiting from an exceptionally well documented history resulting from spending nearly 60 years of its life in single family ownership, ‘KD2106’ is surely one of the most desirable of 6˝-Litre Bentleys to have survived.
Chassis number ‘KD 2106’ was originally bodied as a Coupé by Hooper & Co before being delivered to first owner Captain J F C Kruse early in 1928 bearing the UK registration ‘UC 4237’, a London mark. The car remained in its original configuration for only ten years before being re-bodied by Corsica with the elegant yet practical all weather touring body which it carries today. Based in North London, Corsica was a relatively small firm that allowed clients considerable freedom in determining their cars’ final appearance – surely the ultimate in ‘bespoke’ – an approach that endeared it to wealthy sporting motorists.
In 1937 ‘KD2106’ was sold to a Colonel Bevan, who retained the Bentley throughout WW2. Some two years after the end of hostilities the car was sold to yet another military man, Colonel Balden, in whose family’s possession it remained until very recently. The accompanying and very comprehensive history files bear witness to the dedication with which the family maintained this important car, as well as documenting the numerous and varied events in which they participated. The latter include many trips to Brooklands, where the Bentley attended the reunion meeting in the 1960s. Bentley Drivers Club events have been attended far and wide, and ‘KD2106’ also participated in the parade of historic cars preceding the legendary Le Mans 24-Hour race in 2000. It has also transported such celebrities as Charlton Heston and Koo Stark.
As may be imagined, a considerable sum of money has been consumed maintaining the car in first class mechanical condition, an estimated Ł40,000 pounds having been spent over the course of the past 20 years. Major works undertaken include a comprehensive engine rebuild in 1991, together with a rear axle overhaul and front suspension rebuild. In addition, the stunning Corsica coachwork has been repainted in a more appropriate shade of British Racing Green and the hood renewed, while the engine ancillaries, fuel system, petrol tank and brightwork have been refurbished. Respected marque specialist R Moss has carried out much of the recent work, which is confirmed by bills and correspondence on file. Also included in the sale are the current UK Swansea V5 registration document and old-style buff logbooks dating back to the 1950s, as well as documents and photographs recording the car’s life within Colonel Balden’s family.
Retaining its original registration mark and the body that it has carried for all but the first ten years of its life, this magnificent motor car must be one of the finest representatives of this illustrious marque to have survived.
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||£282000|
|Registration number||UC 4237|
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