1948 Bentley Special V8John2020-03-21T17:37:33+00:00
1948 Bentley 6¼-Litre AUTOMATIC
Historic Trials/Race car Chassis Nr B158DA
Short video of this car …. https://youtu.be/9lkwgYH8Cus
This one-off Bentley motorcar was reconfigured from a MkVI Standard Steel Saloon, into a Special-bodied Racecar some 50 odd years ago, using all Bentley components and is well featured in Ray Roberts 1990 Book on Bentley Specials Vol 1 p303, copy entry and early photograph included in history file.
Michael Tullis of Windermere purchased the original donor car in 1973 and carried out a conversion into an open tourer. Originally fitted with a 4¼-Litre engine, he dispensed with this in favour of a 6¼-Litre unit complete with a four speed automatic gearbox, which was taken from a damaged ‘S3’ Bentley SWB Saloon (B356HN circa early 1960‘s) To enable the engine to fit, it was necessary to move it back 20” also giving a much better balanced car, although the original 10’0” wheelbase was retained. The engine was rebuilt to the normal factory specification, its power being considered more than adequate.
Actual performance figures are not quoted, but it is prodigiously quick, the impression seemed to be that the only limit to acceleration and maximum speed is how brave one is feeling when pressing the accelerator! If you like flying, this is as close as you’re going to get with a driver’s licence!
Ray Roberts commented about this car …“It is not often realised that the 6 ¼ V8 engine unit is lighter than the 4 ¼-Litre engine used between 1946 and 1951, such has been the progress in metallurgy and technical engineering development”
Taken apart and stored in boxes for decades, the Special was eventually re-advertised in 1980 in the BDC Club Magazine and came into the ownership of Tony and Keith Tomlinson as a chassis and ten tea chests full of parts, typical of many special rebuilds. Keith was an aircraft engineer with English Electric at Preston, and well qualified to completely rebuild the car. It was extensively overhauled including rear axle bearings, brakes, new radiator core, king pins, suspension joints etc. The Auto box was sent to Derby to be rebuilt and the Bentley was finally back on the road in 1982 and according to the MOT certificates only covered 4,400 miles since.
In its early history, the car was campaigned at the Barbon Hill Climb in Kirby Lonsdale, with the 4 1/4-Litre engine, but since the Tomlinson family’s acquisition it has only been used for touring.
The last registered custodian was a lifelong Marque collector/enthusiast and has owned (and still does) many similar Bentley Race Cars. He was dissatisfied with the lines of the previous body (photo of which is in History folder) and being a purist, he commissioned a superb, new handmade boat-tailed body in alloy, from a Scottish Coachbuilder friend, which it currently wears. Resembling in appearance a Bentley open two seater from the 1930’s and was designed without doors for added rigidity, it is finished in Dark British Racing Green and professionally retrimmed. The original body, shown in Ray Robert’s book, can still be seen adorning the rafters of his workshop in Edinburgh.
The MkVI dashboard instrument panel has been retained but the handbrake has been moved to the outside and the car now boasts 12” Lucas P100 headlamps, XK120 windscreen, spot lamps, and twin 4-branch external exhaust pipes at both sides, the V8 engine making a wonderful crescendo when it starts up, like the horns of Jericho to the ears of true racecar enthusiasts!
The car is correctly registered with the DVLA in the Historic class as Bentley Sports, with the later engine number BHN178 and cc capacity quoted on the V5 and therefore eligible for export.
This well proportioned, powerful vintage Bentley Motorcar would not look (or sound) out of place parked in the Paddock at Silverstone or Goodwood Festival and is offered at very modest price for such an interesting and historic machine. It also has the unusual advantage of the Rolls / Bentley automatic transmission system, for effortless cruising without any need for double de-clutching etc.
Eligible for all BDC Club events and rallies.
Comes with tonneau cover, spare wheel changing tools, historic info.
Car located in Lytham St annes in Lancshire, transport arranged at #1 pr/mile (one way only) For more info on this unique car, text or call John on 07909 231414.