Collecting Cars

1969 BENTLEY T1 FHC BY MULLINER PARK WARD

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This Bentley T1 Fixed Head Coupe by Mulliner Park Ward is an elegant and well-presented luxury classic, finished in a very smart colour scheme. Under the bonnet is a 6.23-litre carburetor-fed V8, producing around 192bhp, coupled to a three-speed automatic transmission. The odometer indicates 7,270 miles, though this is not the correct total mileage.

The T1 was ostensibly a badge-engineering version of the latest Silver Shadow, featuring self-levelling independent suspension and disc brakes on all four wheels, upgraded power steering and transmission, a touring-range fuel tank, and electrically adjustable front seats.

An original UK-market car, this Bentley T1 FHC was first registered in August 1969, understood to have been assigned the plate ‘DPA 199H’ - and this registration shows an HPI-clear car through an online check. It now resides in Sweden, where it has been with the current owner for the last 11 years.

Understood to be one of just 98 cars with this coachwork, the body is presented in good order, with the seller not aware of any previous accident damage. This Bentley also benefits from a prior restoration. Today, there is some paint bubbling on the top of the passenger-side door - which is aluminium, so may be caused by moisture under the paint - and a few other patches on the passenger-side rear wing, near the passenger-side ventilation window, and on the driver-side C-pillar where the chrome finisher attaches to the body. Some corrosion is also visible along the door seals.

Overall, its two-tone finish of British Racing Green for the body and Shell Grey for the roof is very presentable, with a glossy shine around all of the panels. There are some minor scratches on the driver-side sill where the bottom of the door has grazed it slightly, and a small dent in the passenger-side rear wing above the bumper bar. The brightwork is all in great shape, including the round-shouldered grille that was the visual difference to the Silver Shadow. It rides on 15-inch wheels, which are all in good condition, finished with colour-coded centre caps.

Inside, the black leather upholstery is believed to be original - with the exception of a rear armrest side panel - as it exhibits with an appealing patina throughout. There are some small areas of wear and discolouration, but in general it presents very well for a car that recently celebrated its 50th birthday. Some small scuffs are present on the seat backs where occupants have entered and exited the rear seats, and there are minor wear marks on the door panels. The seller states that the headlining has been replaced with the original style material, and the driver-side window motor has been renewed. There is some damage to the wood inlays in the rear section, which is clearly shown in the photo gallery.

With any old Bentley of this era, it is not uncommon to find a few foibles with the electrics or switchgear. In this car, the driver-side electric window hydraulic lift does not currently work. The main electric closing function operates correctly up to the last 1cm or so, but the closing button beyond this is inoperative, so it must be closed manually with the handle. The ventilation window does not open, and the passenger-side electric seat adjustment is not working. The fuel gauge is also reported to be mis-reading, and the air-conditioning is not functioning properly, so it may require re-gassing.

Its last scheduled maintenance was in June 2018, approximately 900 miles ago, when the engine oil and filter were renewed, along with the spark plugs. Prior to this, it was also serviced in June 2016, when a new battery, fuel filter and brake pads were fitted; and in August 2014, when the hydraulic fluid was changed, along with all filters, brake hoses, and water hoses. The brake callipers were also attended to. The seller states that it drives very well, and that he recently took the car on a 900 km road trip with no issues.

The most recent roadworthiness inspection was carried out in Sweden in June 2018, and the seller reports that there were no warnings about the car’s condition. He states that the kick-down function on the transmission is intermittently inoperative, so it may require investigation in the near future.

The wheels are fitted with Avon tyres at the rear, which are around three years old and in good condition, and Michelin tyres at the front that were on the car when the seller acquired it. The latter may therefore benefit from replacement soon on the basis of age.

Accompanying the car is the original owner’s manual, along with the tool box, and the jack and wheel brace in the zipped storage bag.

This Bentley T1 Fixed Head Coupe is a rare and elegant cruiser, benefiting from a prior restoration, and which remains in good order throughout. Just 98 cars were completed with the two-door Mulliner Park Ward body, and a far small number remain in such well-presented condition. This would be a great addition to any collection of classics, or Bentleys in particular.

As this car is offered for sale from continental Europe, it has not been run through Collecting Cars’ standard online HPI check process.

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