Alle Serienmodelle seit 1904
Coachbuilders, Special Cars...
The Bentley motor cars of Capt.
Australian-born engineer R.G. McLeod moved to North-London prior to WWII. During wartime
he was supervising engineering of tools for aircraft-production and became Captain. He
died in November 1986 aged 94. About bodies for motor cars he had very strict ideas. He
preferred a saloon body to open motoring but insisted that as much vision should be there
as offered by an open body. The car had to be as short as possible; if there was luggage
it could be thrown on to the back seat - hence no need to carry the wasted space of
luggage compartment, which most of the time was empty. For him a car had to be functional
"one wheel at each corner", not particularly elegant.
Bentley 3 ½ Liter, #B177AE
R.G. McLeod purchased a Bentley 3 1/2 Liter, #B177AE, first registered AXN II, later he
re-registered it with his personal registration H I. In Mr. Johnstone from H.J. Mulliner
he found a man who didn't hesitate to create a car exactly to the sketches and ideas
provided by R.G. McLeod. The design was for a close-coupled two-door saloon body with
razor-edged top. Particularly large windows in combination with very slender pillars made
for very good all-round visibility. A large rear light and a fixed glass panel in the
roof's front part - similar to H.J. Mulliner's "high-vision" added to an
atmosphere of almost open motoring.
Bentley 4 ¼ Liter,
Just to prior to WWII R.G. McLeod arranged for the body from #B177AE to be transferred
onto his new overdrive Bentley chassis #B142MR. On the shortened wheelbase there stood
what was in fact a most unusual two-seater, though rear seats were provided; offering the
provision to remove either half or both sides of the rear seat.
Bentley Mark VI, #B22AK
After an interlude with Lancia and Citroen
motor cars during the immediate post-war period R.G. McLeod's interest in Bentley revived
and he commissioned H.J. Mulliner to produce a new body for his 1947 Bentley Mark VI,
#B22AK. From the chassis 9 inches were "chopped-off" to make for minimal
overhang. The basic design showed a very close resemblance to the body from the pre-war
time. However Capt. R.G. McLeod had found the wings on his previous Citroen Light 15 to be
much to his liking and asked H.J. Mulliner for the wings on his Bentley Mark VI to be to
the pattern of the Citroen.
Bentley Mark VI, #B50MD
Bentley Mark VI with the bigger 4 1/2 Liter engine was announced Capt. R.G. McLeod took
chance of solving the problem of not having been particularly pleased with the steering of
his 1947 Bentley and getting a more powerful engine by substituting #B22AK with a new 1952
Bentley Mk VI #B50MD (MD being the first series with bore x stroke 3 5/8 in x 4 1/2 in,
capacity 4,566 cc). The H.J. Mulliner body was transferred and some slight
alterations improved the rear styling. Capt. McLeod had kept his registration H I for
his next Bentley and #B50MD later showed the registration X88.
Bentley Continental, #BC50D
by fire ca. 1960 was the unique body which H.J. Mulliner in very close conjunction with
Capt. R.G. McLeod had erected on chassis #BC50D. This was a 1955 Bentley R Continental
with 4.9 Liter engine. For years it was thought that but H.J. Mulliner's drawing had
survived. However one photo of a three quarter rear view did appear in J. Green's Bentley
Fifty Years of the Marque. And at least thanks to H.G. Cramp having employed his camera at
a meeting in 1956 photos of three quarter front and three quarter rear views became
available. These are a testimony that R.G. McLeod's design ideas had been blended in quite
attractively with H.J. Mulliner's styling of a fastback saloon (though the large
dimensioned rear window had given them some headache).
||It should be mentioned, that
there had been some alterations to the front because the client had demanded the standard
radiator shell to be fitted. In addition unique wheel discs enhanced the car's appearance.
A perspex panel had been fitted into the roof. After Capt. R.G. McLeod had parted with the
Bentley R Continental it became re-registered 8950HX for the second owner
Bentley S2 Continental, #BC106AR
were quite some question marks as regards the 1960 Bentley S2 Continental, #BC106AR, which
was the next in the string of shortened McLeod Bentleys. Existing photos by Rolls-Royce
Ltd., London Group, were captioned "Experimental Bentley". It seems by far more
probable that the 1960 Bentley S2 Continental, #BC106AR, was the last one which has been
bodied solely by H.J. Mulliner. This company had been taken over by Rolls-Royce in 1959
which might explain for the photo-series of this particular car to be filed with
negative-numbers L9743 to L9746 by Rolls-Royce Ltd (no doubt about this car being
shortened McLeod Bentley as the car bears his personal registration H I).
H.J. Mulliner once more had been commanded to "chop-off" what the client
described as unnecessary length. This was achieved by cutting away the rear parts of the
frame, using another petrol-tank and repositioning the battery to name but a few
Bentley S3 Continental,
The last car was not
bodied by H.J. Mulliner but in conjunction with F.L.M. Panelcraft, it was a 1964 Bentley
S3 Continental, #BC38XC.
|From the photos of
this car it becomes clear beyond doubt that an existing H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward Fixed
Head Coupé body to "Koren-Design" (sometimes described as "Chinese
Headlamps") had been subject to major alterations.
A large perspex sunroof had been fitted, though a fixed one with no
opening mechanism. The front of the car was almost unaltered with the exception of
overriders to Harold Radford design, i.e. with rubber insets at the top. The rear however
was with minimal overhang and surprised with a fastback design of rear light and tailgate
whereas the rear wings were styled almost like fins.
Over a period of thirty years Capt. R.G. McLeod had seen to have his personal styling
ideas taking shape on succession of different Bentley models. It is but speculation if he
had gone on further if it wouldn't have been for H.J. Mulliner informing him then to be
unable to work for him. He had been a loyal Rolls-Royce customer and would have been an
even more valued client because in later years he showed the attitude to buy a new car
each year "to leave good one to my daughter when I'll depart" - alas he had
chosen to prefer Mercedes-Benz by then...
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