Bentley Mark VI Countryman

While the Bentley Mk VI introduced “standard” bodywork to the marque, the celebrated British custom coachbuilders were not discouraged from creating their own body designs for the new chassis. In fact, some of the most unique and distinctive bodies came from Harold Radford, who introduced the Mk VI-based Countryman in 1948, with wooden body panels and special equipment for the country gentleman. It caused a sensation and won numerous awards, including at the Cannes Concours d’Elegance. Rolls-Royce was equally impressed, immediately recognizing Harold Radford Coachbuilding Ltd. as an approved coachbuilder.

It is widely believed that Radford built eight examples of the Countryman in 1949, with all being right-hand drive and crafted with unique fittings and styling, according to each client’s wishes. An older restoration, this particular example has been meticulously maintained over the years and remains quite remarkable today. Prior to acquisition by the current owner in 2005, all wood was refinished, highlighting the fine, carefully matched wood grains. Unlike many other coachbuilders’ designs, Radford placed and shaped the wood touches to enhance the lines of the Bentley’s metal coachwork, causing the wood and metal to flow naturally together in a pleasing and harmonious manner. The lustrous silver paintwork is the perfect complement to the striking woodwork, while the opulent interior leatherwork remains supple and unblemished.

This Mk VI Countryman is also equipped with an AM/FM radio and a sunroof. A previous description recounts its former ownership by Jean Charles Moriniere, the internationally acclaimed French interior designer. With its wooden coachwork and Bentley luxury, this Countryman is not only a rarely seen and unique twist on English coachwork but was perfectly suited to the tastes of the landed gentry.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in July of 2010 at the Shotwell Gustafson Pavilion at Meadow Brook Hall, Rochester, Michigan.

132 bhp, 4,257 cc inline six-cylinder F-head engine, dual SU carburetors, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with wishbones and coil springs, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and servo-assisted hydraulic front and mechanical rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 120"

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel

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