The policy of rationalisation begun in the late 1930s continued at Rolls-Royce after the war with the introduction of standard bodywork on the Mark VI Bentley. Rolls-Royce’s first post-WW2 product, the Mark VI was introduced in 1946, a year ahead of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith.
Although mechanically similar to the Mark VI, the latter was exclusively a coachbuilt car, the first ‘standard steel’ Rolls-Royce, the Silver Dawn, not appearing until 1949. A separate chassis was retained, the same basic design being built in three different wheelbase lengths, that of the Mark VI (and Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn) measuring 10’ exactly. Notable features were independent front suspension and hydraulic front brakes.
Powering the range was a new 4,257cc six-cylinder engine featuring ‘F head’ (inlet-over-exhaust) valve gear that permitted the use of larger valves than the pre-war overhead-valve unit with a consequent improvement in gas flow.
As a concession to the marque’s sporting pedigree, the Bentley version was equipped with twin SU carburettors, the Rolls making do with a single Stromberg. The Mark VI was a 90mph car while its interior was typically well appointed, boasting leather upholstery and walnut dashboard and door cappings, while the right-hand manual gear change was a characteristically pre-war inheritance.
Despite the popularity of the ‘standard steel’ body, a coachbuilt alternative remained the preferred choice of many customers. Indeed, of one’s preference was for an open car it was the only option, there being no factory-built convertible in either the Rolls-Royce or Bentley range at this time.
Park Ward were a very successful coachbuilder in period, especially with the mark VI’s, and sometimes offered unusual and bespoke body designs such as this ‘Short Wings’ example. These bespoke designs would have come at a huge premium meaning that their first owners were always very wealthy, and usually famous individuals.
This very beautiful and rare car has in recent years undergone a comprehensive restoration and has been sparingly used since completion. The car has a vast photo album and additional photos of the car including its underside can be provided upon request.
Finished in a desirable colour combination of a bespoke Deep green with beige interior, this wonderful Coachbuilt Park-Ward is privately owned and has clearly been very well looked after.