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1952 Bentley Mk.VI Cabriolet by Graber

Extremely Rare Graber-Bodied Drophead. Runs and Drives Superbly.

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Exterior Color Dark Blue
Interior Color Blue Leather
Mileage 19022 Kms
Engine 4.6 Litre Inline 6-Cylinder no. B96M
Transmission 4-Speed
Status Sold
Stock FJ1051


1952 Bentley Mark VI Drophead by Graber
s/n B192MD
Dark Blue with Dark Blue Leather Interior

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 traditional 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 and 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.

This is one such car, bodied by Graber, a Swiss company that was founded in 1925. Graber made bodies for many companies, including Alvis, Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Duesenberg, Lagonda, Packard, and Rolls-Royce, among others. Graber bodies are highly regarded for their high quality, elegant proportions, and clean fuss-free styling. There are varying accounts as to how many drophead Mk. VI’s Graber built, but the figure is believed to be between seven and twelve.

Noted Bentley historian Bernard King describes this particular car as a Mk. VI Drophead by Graber, as does German Graber expert Klaus Josef Rossfeldt, but the build sheets indicate that the car was originally a coupe. It is possible that the original commissioner decided to change the order to a drophead, or that the car was converted early in its life, either by Graber or someone else.

The car was part of William Lassiter’s collection, having been purchased by him in the early 1990’s from an owner in California. Mr. Lassiter had the top restored and the interior reupholstered, both by Jack Deitz. The current owner is knowledgeable and enthusiastic long time Bentley collector, and has had much mechanical work performed in recent years to ensure that the car is in fine running condition. He had the car prepared with long distance touring events in mind, and the car runs and drives very well as a result. Included among the recent work is the following: install new stainless exhaust system, refinish wheels and install new tires, install new battery, replace front wheel bearings, fuel pump, restore fuel tank, refinish brake drums, adjust brakes, oil, transmission, and differential fluid changes, replace pedal pads, miscellaneous electrical repairs, repair and adjustment of latches, and refinish trunk interior.

Cosmetically, the car presents very strongly. The paintwork was done to high standards and the body is very straight. The gaps are very good, and the paint is also in very good condition, with a few small touched up chips, and some light scratches. Overall, the paint presents very strongly. The chrome is in very good shape, with light scratching only. The headlamps and foglamps are all Marchal items, and are in excellent condition, although the right and left foglamps are of different styles. The remaining glazing is very nice throughout as well, though it is worth pointing out that the quarter windows are Plexiglas at this time. The top is outstanding, both in terms of quality, fit, and finish. The rear window is perfectly clear and like new. The wheels and tires are in excellent shape, and the wheel covers have hand-painted red accents.

The interior is in very nice shape as well. The leather is in excellent condition with light patina, and the carpets are also lovely. The front floor mat is a custom Keith Collins one with embroidered winged B emblem and Graber emblem. The instruments and controls are in fine shape and are likely original while the wood is very good, but not perfect. The steering wheel is nice, with a few small cracks where the spokes meet the rim.

The trunk is upholstered in durable high quality carpet, and the spare is in place with upholstered cover. The engine compartment shows selective detailing and is tidy throughout. The most visible components such as the cylinder head cover, air cleaner, firewall and shut faces have all been redone and are very nice. The carburetors and intake manifold are nicely polished as well. Less visible areas such as the inner fenders have the appearance of a well-cared for unrestored car.

The car drives extremely well. The brakes are outstanding, with excellent bite, and an almost shocking ability to haul the car down from speed. The transmission works extremely well, and the chassis and suspension are confidence inspiring for their composure and fuss free operation. The car feels surprisingly light and agile, with excellent turn-in and balance through turns. The car’s lightweight bodywork is likely responsible for its excellent braking performance, as well as its surprising handling and quickness. The ergonomics are very good, with the shifter falling easily to hand, and the pedals being well-oriented to make heel-toeing (!) easy and pleasurable. The engine is powerful and well-tuned, and the car is surprisingly quick. Overall, this is one of the finest driving Bentleys that we have had the pleasure to experience in recent memory.

This is an excellent opportunity to acquire a beautiful open Bentley. Coachbuilt Bentleys of any stripe are rare, but a non-British bodied example with timeless open coachwork is even more so. Compared to the contemporary designs, this was a modern, almost avant garde design, with minimal extraneous flourishes, and integral fenders. The lovely condition and rarity of this car are extremely difficult to replicate, and this is certainly the sort of car for a sophisticated individual who can appreciate its pedigree and uniqueness.


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Fantasy Junction +1 510 653 7555 Emeryville, California 94608 USA

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