The Bentley Mk. VI was Britain's first postwar luxury car, and reaffirmed that despite the war, Great Britain was still very much the same. The car was built with consummate attention to detail, and to the highest standards using traditionally British techniques. Included among these was the use of a separate frame so that customers seeking individual coachwork could buy chassis only and have them shipped to the coachbuilder of their choice to be fitted with a custom body. Typically, these coachbuilders were British as well, with such famous companies as H. J. Mulliner, Park Ward, James Young, Vanden Plas, Freestone and Webb, and Hooper. A very small number of cars, usually destined for foreign markets, were shipped abroad and fitted with bodies by foreign coachbuilders, such as Graber.
The car pictured here is a Bentley Mark VI, bodied by Graber's craftsmen with Drophead Coupe bodywork. This car, chassis B134BH, was commissioned in 1947 by a Swiss industrialist, one Mr. E. Rüegg of Pfäffikon, in the canton of Zürich. It is one of only 35 Bentleys ever bodied by Graber. Mr. Rüegg ordered the car via the Geneva-based Bentley dealer Perrot, Duval & Cie. and must have been very pleased with Graber's work, as he ordered two other Bentleys from the Bernese coachworks, one in 1951 and another in 1954. The car was equipped with specially designed safety glass, which retracts light to avoid glare, as well as Marchal indicator, head- and side-lamps.
The car was eventually exported to the United States, with handwritten notes inside the original Bentley handbook indicating its acquisition by one W.S. Endres of Charleston, West Virginia in 1963. The car then traveled to the American Midwest, where it first remained with Thomas J. Kilbane of Columbus Ohio (1973) and then with Jill Scheibel of Toledo the following year.
B134BH was finally restored in 1990, still in American ownership, by E.F. Murphy and D&D Classic and remained in high point status thereafter. The Graber Bentley competed successfully in several concourses d'élégance. This Bentley was 'best of class' on Pebble Beach and class winner on several RROC Memorials like Meadowbrook. Badges on the car also indicate it was awarded First Place Premier status by the Classic Car Club of America.
In 2006, the car was exported to Holland, where it was acquired by Mr. Schermerhorn. October 2009, the car was auctioned by RM Auctions and sold at a price of £159,500.- / 178,000.- Euro / 266,000.- USD.
Source: RM Auctions.
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