Auto glamour of a bygone era
WHETHER by luck or by chance, this rare post-war luxury car from Bentley keeps turning up on the Sunshine Coast.
Twin Waters owners and custodians Lynda and Patrick Herron purchased the Bentley Mark VI 4-door in Buderim last October, and decided to retrace its history.
What they discovered was a rich, adventurous and bumpy past, including overseas boat trips and dusty skids along the Nullarbor.
"The most interesting part of the history was that the car keeps making its way back to the Sunshine Coast," Mrs Herron said.
"We think it is where it wants to be."
The Bentley Mark VI 4-door standard steel sports saloon was announced in May 1946 and produced from 1946 to 1952.
It was both the first car from Rolls-Royce all-steel coachwork and the first complete car assembled and finished at their factory.
"The day it left the factory it was shipped to a Melbourne car dealer, who sold it to a guy in Tasmania," Mrs Herron said.
"The man called Mr Castley, imported sewing machines and must have been quite wealthy to be able to afford a Bentley back in those days."
A few years later, the car was sold to a man in Melbourne named Ralph Beaten, who kept the car running until it was sold to a Mr Muller in Bundaberg.
Mr Muller was an engineer for the Water Resources Commission and had a special love for classic cars.
"He decided in 1970 that he was going to start restoring the car to its former glory," Mrs Herron said.
"It took him several years to completely restore."
The restoration was complete with luxury, red leather interior and wood grain furnishings on the inside.
Black and chrome dominate the exterior, as red-walled rims complement the exterior.
"Mr Muller's dream was to take the car around Australia," Mrs Herron said.
"He went to Perth, South Australia and across the Nullarbor twice.
"There was no air-conditioning in the car at that time, so he would have had to use the side windows, which if you are travelling across Australia, would have been an interesting ride."
When Mr Muller passed away, the car was sold to a man in Brisbane, then to a man in Buderim before the Herrons acquired it.
"The funny thing is, when we started looking for the previous owners we found out Mr Muller's daughters and grandchildren live in Buderim," she said.
"His wife sold the car the day before he passed away, and she was delighted to hear it was now being used on the Sunshine Coast."
Lynda and Patrick Herron now use the Bentley, which they have nicknamed Birti, for weddings and special occasions.
"We are busy with Birti most weekends, travelling as far as the Gold Coast for weddings," Mrs Herron said.
"There is so much character in this car and it genuinely makes people smile as soon as they see it.
"Its history was important to know, so we knew where he had been and who had spent so much time and love restoring him.
"Knowing what we know, we have fallen further in love with this special car."