20-21 January 2011


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Lot 141

1947 Bentley Mark VI Drophead Coupe

Sold for $110,000

Est. 150 bhp, 4,257 cc inline six-cylinder F-head engine, four-speed manual gearbox, coil spring and wishbone front suspension, semi-elliptic springs with adjustable shock absorbers at rear, and hydraulic front, mechanical rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 120"

- One of as few as seven Mark VI Drophead Coupes by Graber
- Fastidiously maintained and beautifully presented
- Complete with impressive documentation and restoration photos
- Featured in Motor Klassik and Rolls-Royce and Bentley, by Klaus-Joseph Rossfeldt

Unlike many other manufacturers, Bentley’s parent company Rolls-Royce survived the ravages of World War II in relatively good financial health. In 1946, the all-new Mark VI debuted as the first new post-war Bentley model of Rolls-Royce design. Remarkably, the first example was delivered to its owner in September 1946, just 16 months after V-E Day. A powerful new six-cylinder engine powered the Mark VI, displacing 4,257 cc and featuring an aluminum-alloy F-head design. All told, 4,949 Mark VIs were built through 1952.

The Mark VI was also the first Bentley to be fitted with standard factory-designed steel bodywork, as the bodies were fitted to the chassis, trimmed and painted to a high standard rivaling the best custom coachbuilders of the era. Custom coachwork, however, remained available at the buyer’s discretion. The handsome designs executed by Switzerland’s famed Carrosserie Graber remain among the most successful to grace the Mark VI chassis.

Hermann Graber, who was born in Wichtrach, Switzerland near Bern, learned the coachbuilding trade from his father, becoming a well-respected builder of horse-drawn vehicles before making his first automobile body for a Fiat 508 in 1927. He achieved additional fame in St. Moritz two years later, where he won the Concours d’Elegance for his work on a Panhard-Levassor 20 CV – an achievement that undoubtedly expanded his international renown and eventually resulted in additional commissions from such respected marques as Alfa Romeo, Bentley and others.

According to the original chassis card, Dr. Robert Kaffeli of Basel, Switzerland commissioned B136BH in 1947, and it is exceedingly rare as one of only 35 Bentleys ever bodied by Graber. Of those 35, as few as seven and as many as 12 Drophead Coupes were built on the Mark VI chassis. Dr. Kaffeli ordered his car via the Bernese Rolls-Royce dealer Bellevue Garage A.G. Chassis B136BH was originally finished in red and factory-fitted with a radio, a speedometer calibrated in kilometers, and double-filament headlamp bulbs. Unique to Graber-bodied Bentleys, B136BH was originally fitted with a painted metal dash panel, rather than the traditional wooden unit characteristic of the majority of Bentley production. Currently, it is equipped with air conditioning, but it remains unclear whether this very desirable passenger amenity is factory-original to the car.

The Mark VI was restored during the 1980s, refinished in dark blue and fitted with a cream cloth top. Once completed, B136BH was featured in Germany’s Motor Klassik magazine, and it was depicted on page 137 of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, written by marque authority Klaus-Joseph Rossfeldt. In 1997, B136BH was again restored in Switzerland, and then in late 2000, the current owner acquired B136BH from Dr. Vladimir Bär, of Erligheim, Germany, and imported it to the UK. In 2001, with indicated mileage of 88,250 kilometers, the speedometer was exchanged for one calibrated in miles. Since then, the current owner commissioned an extensive mechanical refurbishment of B136BH, and approximately four years ago, a new dark blue convertible top was fitted. In 2010, the restoration was refreshed in Miami.

Sparingly enjoyed and presented in fastidiously maintained condition throughout, B136BH is complete with original documents, restoration photographs, the original speedometer reading 88,250 kilometers, UK registration documents and a thick file with restoration and service invoices.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more