London

7 September 2016

Offered from the Estate of Mr Edward Carter

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Lot 163

1929 Bentley 6½-Litre Sedanca de Ville by H.J. Mulliner

  • Chassis no. KR2687
  • Engine no. KR2686

Sold for £358,400

Documents: UK V5


180 bhp, 6,597 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine with Smiths multi-jet carburettor, four-speed manual transmission, front and rear semi-elliptical leaf-spring suspension, and four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 3,810 mm

  • Offered from the Estate of Mr Edward Carter
  • The 1929 Olympia Motor Show car
  • One of around 20 surviving 6½-Litre Bentleys; exceptional authenticity
  • Handsome original coachwork; matching-numbers original engine
  • Documented by Bentley historian Dr Clare Hay


To look at many 1920s Bentleys today, one might assume that every car turned out under W.O. Bentley’s watch was a fabric-bodied tourer. The truth is that when the “W.O.” cars were new, they carried a wide variety of diverse body styles by Europe’s finest coachbuilders. As many as 80 percent of these cars boasted beautifully bespoke-crafted bodies that were ideal counterparts to the racing-bred Bentley chassis, creating a “grand tourer” that combined finely tuned performance with great comfort, elegance, and reliability. These beautifully bespoke-crafted Bentleys are welcomed at the world’s most prestigious events, and this fine vehicle, thought to be the only surviving 6½-Litre Sedanca de Ville in the world, is no exception.

Chassis KR2687 was created by Bentley in collaboration with coachbuilder H.J. Mulliner of Chiswick, as a Sedanca de Ville. Presented at the Olympia Motor Show in October 1929, its coachwork has a very neat appearance, with unusually long and flowing wings exaggerating its powerful appearance, and a Barker-patented “de Ville extension” over the driver’s seat to give the appearance of a full limousine.

Featured in the “Show Number” issue of The Autocar on 25 October 1929, the car was sold at the motor show by W.O. Bentley’s brother, H.M. Bentley & Partners, to John Davie of Dartmore, Frithwood Avenue, Northwood.

Exhaustive research by noted Bentley authority Dr Clare Hay indicates that the car subsequently passed, in 1935, to Major RT Hon. F. Craven. It was laid up through World War II, and then, in 1952, was acquired, in notably original condition, by J.B. Sibly for ?50. Displayed by Sibly in events of the Bentley Drivers’ Club until 1957, it subsequently passed through the stewardships of A.K. Harrison, J.N. Barlow, P.M. Mackie, V.H. Callcutt, A.M. Garrett, Sandra Roberts, and lastly, Graeme Miller. Then the president of the Bentley Drivers’ Club of Australia, Mr Miller recognised this as an extremely rare and unusually original vehicle, and maintained it for some 20 years with sparing use but good care, in order to protect it from becoming “just another Le Mans clone.”

The vehicle remains substantially and wonderfully original, with the major components clearly numbered and stamped at the factory; the original chassis number, KR2687, appears on the front chassis cross-member, and on the nearside front dumb-iron knuckle, as well as on the inside forward edge of the side panels of the bonnet, on the front axle, and on the steering box, all verifying the originality of each of these major components. The original engine number, KR2686, is, of course, still carried on the nearside bearer arm of the crankcase, and the correct “C”-type gearbox is believed to be the original to this car from 1929.

While the car has been well maintained since the 1970s, only in the current ownership of Mr Edward Carter was it thoroughly prepared to bring it back to its exceptional original appearance, including handsome and tasteful colours that greatly flatter its lines. The interior is patinaed and lush, including a fitted drinks cabinet. Further restoration work was performed by the noted Bentley specialists R.C. Moss of Bedford, including a full proper repaint to the current green and black livery, refinishing the top material in correct Rexine (of which R.C. Moss is currently sole manufacturer), fitting a correct-patterned Smith’s multi-jet carburettor with correct piping and linkage, installation of a correct Bentley plate clutch, and proper mechanical and cosmetic sorting.

The car is accompanied by a copy of Hay’s well-researched, detailed, and fascinating report, containing photographic documentation and a thorough discussion of the car’s components, as well as a history composed by a previous owner, that details the car’s regular participation in Bentley Drivers’ Club events from the 1960s, and restoration receipts from R.C. Moss.

So few of these cars have been carefully preserved and restored as they were when new; accordingly, this presents not only as a correct 6½-Litre, but also as one of the most proper of the handful of survivors. It is very much today as H.M. and W.O. Bentley knew it, and that fact alone makes a worthy addition to any stable of the finest pre-war sporting motorcars.

Alexander Weaver

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

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

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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

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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

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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

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