- One of just five Pinin Farina-bodied Mark VIs
- Formerly owned by Paul Woudenberg and Russell Head
- A fascinating, very sporting Crewe Bentley
- Charmingly patinaed condition
Chassis number B466DA was one of just five Bentley Mark VIs bodied by the famed Italian coachbuilder Pinin Farina. Referred to in the build cards and subsequent records as a “Cresta,” it in fact bears little resemblance to that slightly more common design, with a crisper blind-quarter, a notchback roofline serving as a counterpoint to a surprisingly sharply vee’d windshield, and headlamps mounted lower on more rounded fenders. The interior was swathed in leather, including the dashboard, and accented with Art Moderne chrome touches. It is very clearly, boldly 1940s Italian, bringing to mind its creator’s work on Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 chassis. The exterior styling of the Bentley, however, begs comparison to the Mercedes-Benz 300 S—a car not yet introduced, which in turn begs the question of whom Mercedes-Benz was watching in 1949.
They may have had ample opportunity to watch, as the Rolls-Royce Foundation records note “Geneva Salon.” The car is noted on the build sheet as having been ordered by the fabled longtime Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealer in that city, Garage de l’Athénée, for one Baron H. de Elonay. Bernard L. King’s Bentley Mark VI and Martin Steele’s Bentley: The Cars from Crewe, however, recount the first Swiss owner as Pierre Charles Benoist.
By 1963 the car had made its way stateside, as that year it was listed with the Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club by noted marque collector and longtime Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance MC, Dr. Paul M. Woudenberg of Long Beach. It next passed in 1976 to Jean Pierre of Glendale, then in 1979 to Russell Head of Burlingame, a well-known and active California collector, best remembered as a frequent Pebble Beach entrant and co-founder of the Candy Store.
The Bentley appears to have been refinished many years ago, with the paint, in particular, showing some evidence of age and use throughout, especially around shut lines. However, the car retains wonderful authenticity; its numbers-matching engine is still present, as noted on the build cards, and the factory chassis number is still visible on the frame rail; indeed, the undercarriage has a very honest appearance. Its green leather interior is either original or a nearly factory-era replacement, exhibiting wonderful patina and being remarkably comfortable throughout. Significantly, however, the car retains its numbers-matching engine and remains overall extremely attractive, and would be an ideal basis to either sort for extended driving or as the basis for a concours restoration.