After the end of World War 2 Rolls-Royce and Bentley started to develop a new model. It was a four-door luxury sedan that made its debut in 1946 as the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith and Bentley Mark VI, with the Bentley variant having a shorter wheelbase and a partially independent body design from factory, making it the brand’s first model with own bodywork. This variant was given the unglamorous name Standard Steel Saloon. The necessary sheet metal parts were produced by Pressed Steel Ltd., but Rolls-Royce and Bentley also kept the possibility from the pre-war era and offered bare chassis that could be sent to the coachbuilders chosen by customers, for example Hooper, H.J. Mulliner or James Young. However, only about 20 percent of the customers used this option. The engine used was a 4 1/4 liter inline six-cylinder, of which the exact performance data was never disclosed. From 1951 the displacement was increased to 4.5 liters. A total of 5,202 Mark VI came off the production line at the new Crewe production site, which was used during the war for the assembly of aircraft engines and afterwards also for vehicle production.
James Young created an exceptionally designed Coupé under the functional abbreviation ‘C10M’. Based on the chassis number B495CD, this vehicle was built for Richard Strauss of Strauss, Turnbull & Co., starting in June 1948. In October 1948 the finished vehicle was shown at the stand of James Young at the Earl’s Court Motor Show in London. In contrast to other designs of the time, the fenders were integrated almost seamlessly into the body. Slim pillars hold the slightly backward curved roof in the front area, while the rear window shows a retractable sunshade. The showcar from London was followed by three more cars in the same design. B495CD finally rolled into the garage of Richard Strauss in December 1948 and was used by him until 1953.
Via the dealer Jack Barclay Ltd. the car reached Caroline Blackmore, who two years later sold the car again via Barclay to the racing driver and car dealer Duncan Hamilton. Next, the Bentley belonged to the Warrington-based seat belt manufacturer Thomas Whittle & Sons Ltd. In the 1980s the then owner, Hon. David Keightley Rideal Oliver, had the Bentley Mark VI restored, followed by an overhaul of the technical components by the next owner in the Netherlands in 2003. The extensive vehicle documentation includes invoices for further inspections and work carried out in the Netherlands and in the UK until 2013, before the car was exported to the USA.
Today the James Young Coupé is in very good general condition with a light patina. The body is painted in two colors, grey and dark blue. At the first delivery the rear wheel covers, today painted in body color, were still in polished metal. In front of the chromed radiator grille is an additional headlight from Lucas. Inside, the Coupé features dark blue Connolly leather in combination with blue carpets and the finest wood decors. Under the dashboard there is a hidden drawer with the on-board hand tools. The backrests of the front seats feature fold-out picnic tables and storage compartments, each with two crystal glasses and a leather-covered whiskey flask. Technically, the car still has the original engine in combination with a manual four-speed transmission. This Bentley Mark VI James Young Coupé is currently for sale at Hyman Ltd. in the USA for US$ 279,500.
Images: Hyman Ltd.