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King: The Derby built Bentleya

Car of the Month - July 2003
Bentley 6 1/2 Litre, 1927, #KD2105
H.J. Mulliner Weymann 4-Seater

Bentley started into the 20ies of the last century and soon after found themselves in a position when production of motor cars and entering works teams at races depended upon Captain Woolf Barnato again and again investing considerable amounts to keep the company afloat. Being the heir to an immense fortune Barnato enjoyed a lifestyle that included fine country houses and lavish parties as well as powerful motor cars. It wouldn’t be entirely correct though to speak of him as a „Playboy“, he was clever in business interests and really team-oriented in motor racing. Arguably the most remarkable victories in his career were in 1929 and again in 1930 the “24 Hours at Le Mans” – both times behind the steering wheel of a Bentley 6 ½ Liter Speed Six.

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Not too much adjustment was necessary for racing, because Woolf Barnato did employ a Bentley 6 ½ Litre as his everyday transport anyway. When #KD2105 was commissioned at the works was noted, he demanded a Big Six “Really To Go!” – and for sure the company major shareholder’s desire was complied with. Barnato asked H.J. Mulliner to produce a particularly light tourer body to Weymann patents. At H.J. Mulliner when the 4-seater was built they concentrated on weight-saving. – The standard coachbuilder’s plate couldn’t be fixed as usual to the lower part of the door cut-out because it was ‘oversized’ for the slim sidewalls and doors. Hence on this Bentley a small plate was attached outside.

Although strict in their attempt to save weight H.J. Mulliner didn’t allow sparing on quality. Woolf Barnato was known as a demanding driver, familiar in touching the limit with his Bentley not only on the race course. The body stood any test – even today it is original down to detail. When the photos were taken, original washers were noted in the roof mechanism….

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