1949 Bentley Mark VI Offers Surprising Fun

Steven Symes

It may look like all business, but there’s plenty of pleasure to be had with this British automobile.

For your consideration, this fine 1949 Bentley Mark VI is being offered by Streetside Classics.  Built to be appealing for American consumers, the Bentley Mark VI was necessary to the survival of the automaker after WWII. It looks prim and proper, but this is a surprisingly fun car to drive, even by modern standards, and so shouldn’t be overlooked.

Making this car feel sporty is a 4.25-liter inline-six. It produces quite a bit of torque but doesn’t feel high-strung in the least, but instead is sophisticated in its power delivery. You’ll be able to accelerate confidently in the city or out on open roads. Each time you press on the gas pedal, you’ll hear the addictive symphony of the exhaust system and twin SU carburetors, begging you to push everything further. The 4-speed manual transmission is snappy, which is probably not what you would expect.

This Bentley looks very much British, thanks to the swoopy lines that pull your eye from front to rear. It has a regal stance, like a thoroughbred hunting dog, and the black paint helps with that formal presentation. So do the stately badges and hood ornament, while the brightwork and whitewall tires break up the monotony and add interest. All the details of this particular car look great, thanks to a restoration from a few years ago.

While the exterior is quite buttoned-up with some hints at playfulness, the interior is even more inviting. Among the luxurious appointments is dark-red vinyl over the front bucket seats and rear bench. Newer carpeting looks fantastic, while the original headliner amazingly shows no signs of drooping. Rich real wood trim adds even more warmth, while Smiths instruments feel substantial. You’ll also note this is a left-hand-drive vehicle, just like you’ll find them in England and certain other international markets. A large trunk can fit plenty of cargo items, so you could make this your transportation for your weekly tee time or even weekend getaways.

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