Each Model ever built
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Car of the Month Selection
the Month - July 1999
Bentley Mk V, 1940, #B18AW, Park Ward Four Door Saloon
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||The start of hostilities in September 1939 brought an abrupt end to any plans as
regards the most promising new Bentley Mark V model. Between
summer 1939, when production of chassis commenced and outbreak of WWII in September of
that year a mere 18 chassis had been completed. Because later a number of them were
cannibalised, i.e. stripped of major components to enable others to be completed, no more
than 11 Bentley Mark V were finished as complete motor cars. Thus the Bentley Mark V is
the rarest of all Bentley models produced by the British manufacturer.
Powered by a modern
6-cylinder in-line engine of 4,257 ccm capacity and with its advanced chassis sporting
independent front suspension the Bentley Mark V was an impressive sports car. Experimental
Mk V Bentleys tested during 1938 and 1939 had impressed with a top speed in excess of
90 mph. The engine was designed as a high mileage unit with a special stiff crank shaft of
2.5 inch diameter main and 2 inch crank pin using a newly developed AC9 'highload alloy'
for the big ends along with exhaust valves faced with stellite the aim being to break the
magic 100,000 miles without attention. This ends up with a power unit being very suitable
for use with lead free fuel.
favourite circumstances the Bentley Mark V would have been applauded as a most worthy
addition to the Rolls-Royce/Bentley product range. As time went by however this particular
model remained a sort of "sleeping beauty" and its merits were not known outside
the circle of the happy few, who had experienced the cars smooth power and impeccable
The Bentley Mark V
shown here, chassis number #B18AW, had finished test not prior to January 1940 and was
delivered to coachbuilder Park Ward to be fitted with a four door saloon body. As
completion of the body took until July 1940 this is the very last motor car to emerge from
the factory at Derby, where no motor cars were built after WWII. This one is the final car
to be fitted with factory wire wheels - post-war models sported steel rims. Chassis Card
Details on #B18AW give off the intention to fit a Vanden Plas sports tourer body. This
idea however was changed and the car was bodied as a four door saloon with sunroof by Park
Ward. As the coachbuilder had been taken over by Rolls-Royce it can be taken for granted,
that the work was on a par with the very best obtainable in the United Kingdom. Very few
Bentley Mark V were finished and only released to Company officials and selected owners.
#B18AW beccame the property of C.L. Breeden, Birmingham. Mr. C. L. Breeden of
Breeden Ltd had a special dispensation certificate from the government allowing him to
purchase a new car during WWII and B18AW was delivered to him at the beginning of 1941. It
was continually under the supervision of the experimental department and had its running
boards removed at the works in 1942.
Just after the War
Mr. Breeden approached Rolls Royce with his new style of front and rear bumper fitted to
this car. Specially designed overriders instead of chromed plates had been fitted.
Rolls-Royce adopted the idea and the company's post-war models were fitted with so-called
"Wilmot-Breeden Overriders" (made by Pyrene).
During recent years this Bentley
Mark V has been subject to a painstaking restoration. This included the repair of damage
to the coachwork (which some claim to be a substitute of the original body) and a complete respray. Door panels and seats were re-trimmed in finest
leather, with new headlining and carpets completing the work on the interior. The car
retains all its original electrical components including the Rolls Royce distributor and
even its original rotor arm and is unique in having its original correct overdriven gear
box still fitted and in excellent condition. The general service items such as the oil
filter are readily available and there exists a source in the US for such items as points
and rotor arms etc. As the powertrain had given no reason to any complain at all, engine
and gearbox remained almost untouched and show some sympathetic patina. This
motor car is complete down to
the extremely rare tools stamped "Bentley Mark V".
most knowledgeable expert as regards this model is: D. Nixon,
Stubbles Farm, Cressing,
Essex CM7 8NU,
Tel.: +44 - (0)1376 - 584080, email: Nixonstubbles@btinternet.com