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Car of the Month - May 1999
Bentley 4 ¼ Litre, 1936, #B148HK, 
Roadster by Köng (CH)

Bentley 4 ¼ Litre, Roadster by Köng

Top of Page Four Bentley chassis had received coachwork by Köng, was stated by Walter Köng of Basel (Köng=Koeng). The body erected on chassis #B148HK has been subject to this coachbuilder's art even twice. In 1936 this was the first creation ever by Walter Köng on a Bentley, after he had become responsible for the future of the coachbuilding company founded by his father in Basel, Switzerland.

Bentley 4 ¼ Litre, Roadster by KöngThe chassis had been ordered by F. Blättler, Rolls-Royce and Bentley agents in Basel, on behalf of their customer Dr. H. Ritz in July 1936. The car was imported into the Alpine country on 22nd September 1936 as per documents of Eidgenössische Oberzolldirektion; Swiss Customs do keep their documents with Swiss precision. Quite different from the prevalent attitude of British coachbuilders to use aluminium Köng preferred steel panels. The panels were shaped on wooden formers and then welded prior to being attached onto a wooden skeleton. Only the bonnet which had been delivered with the chassis and the doors - for weight reasons - were made from aluminium. The windscreen pillars had been cut from wood and this was used as a muster for bronce-castings. The hood mechanism was ordered to be made to exact specification by Golde, Frankfurt am Main, Germany - and to import this rather expensive item Swiss Custom's documents had to be prepared too

Bentley 4 ¼ Litre, Roadster by Köng
Coachbuilder's Photo" of the new car positioned in front of Basel's Kunsthaus (Art Centre) in 1936 just prior to being handed over to her first owner Dr. H. Ritz. (Photo courtesy of the late Walter Köng, Basel)

No photos do exist of the first ugly modification alteration to the body - which could almost be considered an attack to Köng's masterpiece. A clumsy coupé hood was added during the time of WWII when the car was exiled at Menton in the South of France. This first version of a coupé hood was later substituted by a softer rounded coupé hood which had been cut-off from a French motor car. In this form - and in extremely poor condition after having been neglected for years - the Bentley #B148HK became the property of Hans Enzler (CH). He was a true enthusiast and spent a tremendous amount of research and work on this car. Plus half a fortune in his attempt to arrange for the Bentley's appearance to return to its former glory. Hans Enzler succeeded because Walter Köng wholeheartedly did agree to assist. In 1987 Köng's coachbuilding company in Basel started to rebuild the Bentley to its original condition. Modifications were cut out, new panels made and a new hood mechanism too as a reconstruction of the missing original - no mean task with no hint available as regards the old mechanism's details. In addition all those unforeseen problems had to be dealt with, which usually delay delay any ground-up restoration. More than 50 years after Köng had created the body for the 1936 Bentley the car stood there again in solitary splendour. Since autumn 1988 the late Hans Enzler enjoyed to attend various rallies and showed his car to be a testimony of Köng's art of design.

Bentley 4 ¼ Litre, Roadster with fixed head
Only a set of photos exist documenting the appearance of Köng's body on this Bentley' when spoiled by a modification in the form of a Fixed Head added.


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