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Car of the Month - February 1999
Bentley Mark VI Donington Special 6,3 Litre, 1950, #B63FU

Bentley Mark VI Donington Special
Ray Roberts in his book Bentley Specials and Special Bentleys complained (page 245): "Unfortunately (the owner) has sold the car, and its present owner is unkown." Well then, the car has spent the recent years in the custody of an owner in Germany.

Top of Page Bentley Mark VI Donington Special

The Bentley Mark VI had been delivered with a Standard Steel Sports Saloon body and was first registered in 1950. Not much is known about the car's history until the 70ties. It then became subject of major work at Johnard Vintage car, a company in Dorset (GB). It had been founded by John Guppy and Dudley Beck who specialised in creating special Bentleys mainly based on Bentley Mark VI chassis. During the time from 1973 to 1978 quite a few cars were made there, usually with a light roadster body to a design by John Guppy. It is said that all in all 16 cars were finished. Their were named after the Donington racecourse as Bentley Donington Specials.

Not only the body was substituted by a new one but the chassis shortened too and lightened. On four of these specials the engineers were bold enough to replace the original 4.25 litre six cylinder engine by a V8 engine with 6,230 ccm capacity. That one, of course was transplanted from the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and gave breathtaking acceleration. Presumably the car shown here is the sole surviving as nothing is known about the fate of the other three.

Bentley Mark VI Donington Special

Peking - ParisThis car experienced a chequered career in the hands of various owners and was in a sadly neglected state, when acquired by Arnold Schulze of Remscheid in 1994. Although the technical condition was very poor then - and against experts' advice - the car was intended to be entered in the "1997 Peking to Paris Challenge". Preparation for the rallye included wheel diameter and glound clearance being increased, complete engine overhaul and work on the transmission. Alteration of rear axle ratio and installation of a 40 gallon tank were the most important from a variety of other modifications to ensure the car could stand the stress of a tour almost half around the world.

The car did run perfectly reliable, did not even miss a struck on rough Tibetian roads at very high altitudes. It covered the whole distance Peking to Paris on its own wheels with not a single major problem. Driven by the team Arnold and Nora Schulze and Jutta Breuer it was listed on 4th place out of 16 participants in the touring class when finishing in Paris.

Bentley Mark VI Donington Special

In addition to national rallies the This Bentley Mark VI Donington Special will be employed for future long distance tours at home and abroad. The major one in 1999 will be in July "Anchorage to New York". Crossing the American continent from Alaska to the East Coast is no expected to be a real problem for this driving machine - hence it has already been listed for a tour "Around the Baltic Sea" in summer 2000.

(Photos courtesy of Arnold Schulze)


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