Coachbuilders, Special Cars...
Car of the Month Selection
of the Month - September 1998
Bentley Mark VI, 1947, #B136BH, Graber Drophead Coupé
The Swiss coachbuilder Graber enjoyed a
fine reputation for highly elegant creations -his drophead coupes (actually
he always used the Continental term "Kabriolett") in particular
had added to his fame. Even prior to World War II Hermann Graber's company
'Carrosserie Graber' of Wichtrach near Berne had been entrusted with
building a body for one of the rare Duesenberg motor cars and the body
books listed coachwork for Rolls-Royce and Bentley too.
the early post-war period Hermann Graber designed bodies on Bentley Mark
VI chassis which simply were highlights in their time. It was a subtle
mixture of traditional and up-to-date thinking that resulted in flowing
lines and ample curves well kept under control. The fully disappearing
hood helped to give an impression of uninterrupted nicely flowing lines. A
special feature of Graber's cabriolets was a painted dashboard whereas
other coachbuilders usually preferred a wooden one.
The Bentley with chassis number #B136BH was bodied in 1947. It was the
third Mark VI which was delivered to Graber via Garage Bellevue AG. With
its rigid frame strengthened by a crossmember and its powerful six
cylinder in-line engine of 4,250 cc capacity it did offer a fine basis for
a reliable touring car. Even when driven in a sporty manner independent
front suspension and adjustable rear shock absorbers (controlled via a
lever on the steering wheel boss) left no doubt that the car stood up to
the company's slogan "Bentley - The Silent Sports Car"
Bentley Mark VI was an expensive car, of advanced mechanical quality,
built by craftsmen dedicated to poduce the best. Standard of workmanship
and finish at Carrosserie Graber were on a par - and in Switzerland there
was no shortage as regards supply of raw material, which hindered in
several European countries which had suffered severely during wartime.
Graber's creations showed an almost shockingly high price tag - well above
offers from expensive English coachbuilders. This might be one of the
reasons why not more than a handful of cabriolets to this design were made
by Graber. The Bentley shown here has been subject of a detailed report in
May 1990 in Motor Klassik (one of Germany's premier classic car
magazines) and a colour photo is to be found in the book Rolls-Royce
and Bentley All models from 1904 - Development History - Production Data -
the time of both these publications going to print the car was painted
red. The present owner has decided upon new colour, because light effects
enhance the styling's elegance. A new hood was made and the car was
retrimmed completely. The car is now in a condition almost like that when
it was delivered new by Carrosserie Graber.