Magnificent Bentley Special of Vintage appearance by Syd Lawrence.

With greatly improved reliability, a Bentley Mk. VI made the perfect platform to build into a special recreation – encapsulating the magic of pre-war Bentley Motoring during the golden age, and no exponent of such modification is more celebrated than Syd Lawrence, legendary builder and driver of Racing Bentley sportscars.

Chassis B322BH was supplied new on 16th September 1947 as a Mk VI (Big Bore) Saloon, being converted, it is believed about 40 years ago by Syd Lawrence Special Cars Ltd into an alloy-bodied ‘Crewe Special’ with vintage Bentley style body. In addition to the usual complex chassis modifications, Syd’s trademark was to fit an engine manifold with four SU carburettors. To cope with the extra performance the car has hydraulic brakes operating on finned drums which nicely fill the wire wheel hubs.

Designed as a 2 plus 2 seater with nicely patinated leather upholstery. Folding hood on polished wood frame. Superb Lucas “King of the Road” P100 headlamps.

The previous enthusiast has owned the Bentley since 2006, having driven under 1000 miles in the last 13 years, and carefully stored when not in use. The Bentley starts and runs well, having benefited from regular fluid changes.

Finished in Racing Green with a matching green leather interior, this is an elegant and exhilarating car to be driven and enjoyed to the full. Possibly finest MKVI Special on the market today.

NB The near-identical twin sister Bentley Special to this car by Syd Lawrence was sold by a London Auction House in 2017 for £101,250!

This car is listed in Ray Roberts Book of Bentley Specials as a Bentley 4.5 litre Crewe Special and also mentions it was serviced by Hoffmans of Henley on Thames, Vintage Bentley Specialists.

Comes with V5 logbook, Copy Bentley Mk VI Workshop Manual, some interesting historical notes.

Car is located in Lytham St Annes in Lancashire. Transport arranged at £1 pr/mile (one way only charged)

For more info on the iconic Bentley Sportscar phone or text John on 07909 231414.

Marque History

The policy of rationalisation begun in the late 1930’s continued at Rolls-Royce after the war with the introduction of standard bodywork on the Mk. VI Bentley. Rolls-Royce’s first post-WW2 product, the Mk. VI was introduced in 1946, a year ahead of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith. Although mechanically similar to the Mk. VI, the latter was exclusively a coachbuilt car, the first ‘standard steel’ Rolls-Royce, the Silver Dawn not appearing until 1949.

5,208 of the model were built over a six year period with the first few deliveries being made in the closing months of 1946 and the last in October 1952. No fewer than 4,190 cars left the new Rolls-Royce car production plant at Crewe in Cheshire with the standard steel body; shareholders would have been well pleased with this result as the profit margin on the complete car was far higher than on a chassis alone. Nevertheless, 1,018 customers opted for coachwork by one of the dwindling number of independent coachbuilders and the work of 39 of them graced the Mk VI chassis. Perhaps as a consolation prize, even Vanden Plas were specified as the coachbuilder for 21 Mk VIs – mainly sold by the London dealer, Jack Barclay.

Probably due to the poor quality steel available here immediately after the war, many cars have subsequently been re-bodied as specials, often on shortened chassis.

Syd Lawrence was a talented engineer whose apprenticeship with General Motors was disrupted by World War One. He subsequently worked for Bentley Motors under Nobby Clark and Anzani before setting-up on his own at premises in Southgate, North London. Well known in Bentley circles, Lawrence’s workshop soon became a Mecca for those owners who had been previously struggling to keep their cars running on a diminishing stock of original parts. (The last picture above shows Syd in his Bentley workshops in the Seventies, might even be chassis B322BH there as well)