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Bentley - 50 Years of the Marque


Car of the Month - November 2005
Bentley Mark VI, 1947, #B139BG
Cabriolet by Gebrueder Beutler (Switzerland)

On 29th September 2005 in his 90th year Ernst Beutler-Kueng died. He and his brother Fritz had founded a coachbuilding business in Switzerland after WWII where many attractive bodies were created on chassis from various motor car manufacturers. Ernst Beutler-Kueng was the designer, his brother was responsible for all technical aspects.

Beutler had bodied one 1947 Bentley Mark VI as a dhc. Ernst Beutler-Kueng did inform that the Bentley Mark VI originally had been built for a Swiss customer who didn't give permission for any photo of the car to be shown. For decades Beutler-Kueng kept in a ‘Confidential File’ a few mono-photos that had been taken taken with great caution without the owner's knowledge just prior to handing over the car. The mono-photos show this 1st body by Beutler on the chassis of Bentley Mark VI, #B139BG. The quality of the more than 50 years old mono-photos isn’t perfect, but these might well be the only photos available worldwide that show this particular car.

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The original specifications which Ernst Beutler-Küng did remember very clearly (though he was already in his 80ies when we did exchange letters) he kindly listed in a handwritten 2 pages document. In another letter he stated quite amused that only after decades he found the car's correct designation to be Mk VI - his drawings had noted Mk.4 (Mark 4) because someone had misread the Roman “VI” as a “IV” and translated that incorrect term into the Arabian figure "4". They had preferred to use Arabian figures at Gebrueder Beutler.

After only two years later this car returned to Gebrueder Beutler for a second body to be made. The owner wanted his Bentley to show a more modern appearance. Hence in 1949 Beutler - using as much as possible of the old structure underneath the panels - on the 1947 chassis did built a new drophead coupe that was more than reflecting the lines ‘en vogue’ then, it was a truly advanced styling.

When correspondence was checked that had been exchanged with that most kind gentleman (usually his letters started with the very old-fashioned and particularly polite term "Liebwerter Herr Rossfeldt...") I found he had informed about 2 Rolls-Royce having been subject to coachbuilder Gebrueder Beutler's work, too. No documents had survived. Ernst Beutler-Kueng did remember one was a Phantom II that was converted into a Hotel-bus ca. 1955-56; the chassis had been extended. The second had been a ground-up restoration of an early post-war Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith.



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