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Car of the Month Selection

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Car of the Month - August 2001
Bentley Mallalieu Barchetta, 1948, #B328CF

Derry F. Mallalieu lived in the USA, when he decided to built the first of his Bentley Specials based on Bentley Mark VI. During the late 60ies and early 70ies many considered creating an attractive new tourer body made more sense than to invest in the restoration of a standard steel sports saloon. Mallalieu's design was clearly influenced by pre-war styling. To special request he built a few more bodies and then decided to return to England to build cars commercially.

Adopting the leisurely, unhurried methods of traditional coachbuilding work proceeded at works in Wootton, Nr. Abingdon. The handcrafted body was a composition of carefully formed panels. The finished product was then married to the chassis of a Bentley Mark VI, whose original coachwork simply had been scrapped. Frame and engine as well as gearbox, rear axle and suspension were carefully checked. The availability of the almost full range of spare parts (we are talking about the period of a quarter of a century ago!) allowed to to meet certain customers' desire to alter cars from right-hand drive to left-hand drive using original Rolls-Royce parts.

As regards the interior only finest materials were accepted - Mallalieu's customers wer most demanding. Thanks to the relatively light bodywork the cars offered impressive acceleration; it didn't matter much whether the 4¼-litre-engine or the engine with 4½-litres capacity. Such quality was not inexpensive: the prices of various models ranged from ca. £20.000 to some £45.000. A brandnew Bentley T2 from the factory at Crewe dist cost only a fraction more.

The 1948 Bentley Mallalieu Barchetta with chassis number #B328CF was exported to Germany and sold in 1978 via a Rolls-Royce and Bentley retailer in Duesseldorf. It remained in the hands of its enthusiastic owner ever since, being subject to “tender loving care”. Used only on sunny days no more than some 5,000 miles were clocked over a period of more than 20 years. 

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