Friday, June 1, 2012

Elton's Bentley Under the Hammer


A 1975 Bentley Corniche convertible formerly owned by Sir Elton John, goes under the hammer at Bonhams sale in Oxford on 16th June, estimated to sell for £50,000 to £60,000. The sale is held in Association with the VMCC (Vintage Motor Cycle Club) Banbury Run.

The current owner bought the Corniche when a selection of cars from Sir Elton's collection was auctioned in 2001, at which time the odometer reading stood at a little over 43,000 miles. Sir Elton speaks highly of the Bentley, which was one of a handful of his cars used extensively. He said: "I've had a lot of people in it, Princess Margaret's been in it, everyone's been in it."

The car is one of only 45 Bentley Corniche 'Series 1' convertibles built between 1971 and 1976. It was purchased new by Elton John in September 1975 and supplied finished in Silver Mink with beige interior and matching hood. In 1998, the year of his knighthood, Sir Elton sold the Bentley to his Personal Assistant, Robert Halley, from whom he repurchased it in 1999. During Mr Halley's ownership the car was repainted in its present livery and updated with later alloy wheels.

Construction of these cars involved moving the bodyshells between the Crewe factory and MPW's Willesden plant, a process that took all of 20 weeks for the saloon and slightly longer for the more complex convertible. These exclusive cars were hand built in the best traditions of British coachbuilding using only materials of the finest quality including Wilton carpeting, Connolly hide and burr walnut veneers, such painstaking attention to detail resulting in a price some 50% higher than that of the standard Silver Shadow or T-Series Bentley.

Used sparingly since acquisition, the Corniche benefits from refurbishment of the interior, carried out by marque specialists P & A Wood four years ago at a cost of circa £10,000, but otherwise is un-restored and in generally good condition. The interior, needless to say, is excellent. Accompanying documentation consists of Sir Elton's letter of provenance, current MoT and Swansea V5 document.
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