Prior to the Second World War, Rolls-Royce produced only 'bespoke' cars: the company provided the chassis, engine and firewall; the buyer chose the body to be built by the coachbuilder of choice, several of which produced 'series built' bodies in greater number of the same design, which allowed dealers to keep stock in their showrooms for immediate sale. This might be considered the start of the 'rationalized' range.
Rolls-Royce had always produced a less expensive (relatively speaking) 'Small Horsepower' range: the Twenty vs. 40/50 HP; the 20/25, 25/30 and the Wraith vs. The PI, PII and PIII. In the late pre-war years the company began to develop the MK V, to be introduced at the Olympia Motor Show in 1939. This never occurred as the Show and chassis production ceased at the outbreak of the war. Fewer than 20 chassis were built and none were offered to the public.
Rolls-Royce/Bentley turned to the production of the Merlin engine. However, a few men, led by W.A. Robotham, continued post war planning of the MK V as time allowed. It was this chassis, somewhat similar to the Wraith and the Bentley 4.25 chassis, which was modified and improved as the MK VI chassis.
Pre-war coachbuilt bodies were mostly hand-built of light alloy over wood framing. The post-war economy precluded this expense. Park Ward, acquired by Rolls-Royce in 1939 (and responsible for many 'series built' bodies' were to build a saloon body, the work of Ivan Evcerndon and Bill Allen, in higher numbers. As Park Ward was unlikely to meet the demand, the Pressed Steel Company, which stamped panels and assembled bodies for other British automakers, was contracted to produce the bodies.
Bespoke cars were still made available to those who could afford them. The Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith chassis, based on the Mk VI, and the Bentley MK VI chassis were still provided to an ever-diminishing number of coachbuilders in the U.K. and the Continent. Rolls-Royce was concerned that a 'mass-produced' car might diminish its brand, therefore the MK VI chassis was first only provided as a Bentley. They needn't have worried. Reviews and demand were very favorable even though the Standard Steel Saloon was priced at 2595 pounds plus 1000 pound added tax, at a time when the average car in the U.K sold for 600 pounds.
The MK VI was powered by a straight-six 4257 cc engine ('small bore'), enlarged in June 1951 to 4566 cc ('large bore') with dual exhausts to increase engine breathing and horsepower, torque and performance.
Success was such that Rolls-Royce introduced the Silver Dawn in 1950; its engine was fed by a single Stromberg carburetor whereas the MK VI retains its twin SU arrangement. A bit more posh, it did not meet the performance of "The Silent Sports Car'.
With its larger trunk and automatic transmission (with the Company interested in increasing exports) the R Type replaced the MK VI in 1952.
Our car, B168PV, is one of the last MK VIs to be built and is a desirable 'Big Bore Small Boot' car. It was delivered to H.A. Fox & Co., Burlington Garden, London and sold to N.H.L. Ridley LTD. on May 22, 1952. It passed through several owners in the U.K. before being imported to Florida in the 1970s where it resided in the care of a single owner until being purchased by its present owner in the mid 1990's and in whose ownership has undergone many improvements, including: new interior- Maroon hide and carpets both with gray piping; gray wool headcloth (all consistent with the buildsheet). The front seats have unusual individual armrests. Restored wood; refinished dash switchplates; new 'running boards' and rear body mounts. The rust-free chassis was cleaned and repainted and a stainless steel exhaust fitted. The brake system was rebuilt including the master cylinder and wheel cylinders with new soft hoses and brake drums with relined brake shoes. The radiator was re-cored and the water pump was rebuilt; hoses and fanbelt were replaced. The tires are new Firestone Deluxe Champion Bias Ply; the hubcaps are repainted and restriped.
When the radiator was removed, the front wings, roof and trunk were repainted. When the headliner was replaced, the sunroof drip hoses were renewed.. No rust was encountered. The oil filter was converted to a spin-on type but the original canister system is included with the car.
Also included are the original owners manual, buildsheet, original small tools in their original tray, trouble light, oilers, and jack.
The early post-war 6 cylinder engine is considered by many to be the most robust, reliable, and easily maintainable engine that Rolls-Royce ever produced. This lovingly maintained, quiet-running Big Bore Small Boot would be perfect for anyone desiring Rolls-Royce product ownership. SOLD!