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Lot No. 107 - 1941 Bentley MK V

Not sold

The only UK Bentley sold new to a private individual during WWII...
Details Specification

Bentley had planned to make thirty four of the newly designed Bentley MK V chassis ranging from number B-2-AW through to B-70-AW using even numbers only but due to impending hostilities only seventeen were actually manufactured into running chassis’s.  The chassis and running gear was cutting edge technology for Rolls-Royce and with independent front suspension which was long overdue was a considerable leap forward. The new engine design was based on the smooth and torquey Wraith and made for a  rapid sports car that one could handle with confidence. Ten Mk Vs were recorded as being destroyed or scrapped, leaving seven cars remaining, which were all really experimental cars. B-24-AW is the only original alloy bodied Mk V. The lightweight sports saloon body is finished in its original colour of Maroon as the MK V Corniche and has a beige leather interior. Almost Incredibly, this car was the only British car to be delivered to a private individual during World War II.  Amongst the other six cars is chassis number B-20-AW which is a Park Ward saloon that has been owned by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber for over thirty years and is reportedly the only car that he still drives. The other cars are in museums and one other is now owned by Bentley motors and one other in long term ownership. The private individual who purchased the car was Col W.C. Devereux, the owner of High Duty Alloys and fishing chum of Baron E Hives. Devereux was a scientist and manufacturer of alloys and duralumin and by inventing lightweight metals was the worlds aero industries leader . This might perhaps explain why 'Dev' was able to purchase his Bentley under special licence, whilst also receiving a ten percent discount and having his MKV built in alloy, simply not possible to anyone during WW2. It was clearly a hugely expensive project.  One of his other projects was the Multi-Union, which lapped Brooklands at 141.49 mph in 1938 driven by the test pilot Chris Staniland whilst having a holed piston. Cobb's 24 Litre Napier Railton held the outer-circuit lap record at 143.44 and the Multi Union would have taken the outright record in time and only WW2 prevented it from doing so.  Dev was also quite a character and would think nothing of turning up in his hunting pink (as he was Master of the hounds) at board meetings or government committee meetings. He went by flying boat to the States in 1940 and introduced the leaders of British industry to the heads of US industry for contracts and military production for World War II.  The vendor even has one of his original diaries. An article in a book that the vendor has written about Dev describes how his London allocated war office was situated next to Lord Beaverbrooks,  the newspaper barons who was the Minister for aircraft production, whilst also being Churchill's late night drinking companion. One morning in 1941, 'Bev' was caught using Beaverbrook’s personal toilet by his orderly and asked to vacate. His response was to call Beaverbrook 'a shit', not realising that Beaverbrook was outside the door. Devereux has been described as one of the most important industrialists Britain ever had. He and Roy Fedden were responsible for hundreds of millions of pounds worth of exports worldwide in the late twenties and thirties, not to mention his considerable efforts during World War II that helped end the hostilities. Post war he founded the Fulmer research institute and was involved in the then 'Space race'. B-24-AW was purchased by the vendor from a Gentleman in Vancouver, Canada. He had owned the car from the early seventies and was a collector of fine automobiles. He had bought it from a Colonel in California and then drove the car back to Canada. A few months later he came 2nd in a Concours d'Elegance and he decided he wanted to win one, so he completely stripped the car to start again. Over the next 30 years he did or had done almost everything except the bodywork and final reassembly.  The last thing he had done was the engine rebuild by Tom Mellor, a retired Air Canada aircraft engineer who spent 650 hours completing the engine rebuild. Tom then towed his motorcycle to the Bonneville salt flats with his fifties Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn and broke the then world speed record on his Triumph 750cc. The car was shipped back to the UK to the vendor's restorer and after two years the car was completed. The alloy body and frame took almost 600 hours to prepare and a new interior was matched exactly to the original. The wood is beautifully polished and the original radio had been restored. Radios were not allowed during WW2 so it is remarkable that it survived. A newly developed set of gear ratios was acquired from the Rolls Royce Heritage trust. Such was the significance of the repatriation of this car, when B-24-AW fist arrived in the UK the vendor was invited down to the Rolls-Royce Heritage trust in Derby and was offered subsequently a membership of the trust.  The late Professor Ken Brittain ( Who made gyroscopes for the guidance system on the USA ballistic missiles in his garden shed ) manufactured the vendor four copies of the MK V Corniche mascot from his original. One for the late Michel Paulin, the nephew of Georges Paulin the designer of the Corniche and of the Bentley MKV mascot. Another for a museum owner in Germany and two for the vendors own cars. The original is on loan to the Sir Henry Royce memorial heritage trust museum, along with the original Corniche MK V engine that the vendor also owns. This has to be the most fascinating Derby saloon ever conceived and the vendor was informed by Michael Elman-Brown and the previous owner, David Scott, that it drives as nicely as the Bentley Continental R and is a more desirable vehicle. In addition, this car was loaned to the Bentley museum in Wolfsburg at the request of Bentley motors for the last twelve months. It is being offered for sale for the very first time at public auction.

Year of manufacture:
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MOT Expiry:
Friday 02 January 2015
Right-hand Drive
Registration number:
GKX 594
Engine number:
Interior colour:
Odometer Reading:

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