Asbestos Survey Classic Car – 1951 MKVI Special Bentley

EMS undertook a unique project in London recently involving a 1951 Bentley MKVI Special. EMS have experience providing inspections for asbestos in classic cars.

This vehicle had recently returned from the Spice Road Car Rally, an event which combines the best routes across Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam alongside a plethora of other pre-1970 vintage and classic car models

The vehicle has recently returned from the Spice Road Car Rally. This is an event which combines the best routes across Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam. The event showcases the best of  pre-1970 vintage and classic car models.

Next the vehicle is being shipped half way across the world to participate in a classic car rally in Australia over Easter 2019, along with around 1600 other Bentleys. Australia’s importation rules have prompted the inspection for asbestos containing materials (ACMs). The vehicle needs to be declared asbestos free before it can be [let in].

This particular MKVI Bentley features a Harry Rose body dating to the early 2000’s which is constructed of fibreglass, considerably reducing the weight from the original body. It also has a shortened chassis overall making it quicker and easier to handle.

Our surveyors undertook a full inspection of the vehicle, with the assistance of a mechanic who knew the vehicle and its history. The inspection included removing the wheels and dismantling the brake drums to expose the shoes. The inside and underneath of the car and throughout the engine were also inspected. Four samples were taken in total to be analysed. These included a sample from the rear brake shoes, dust from within the brake drums, a textile used both to wrap the exhaust and elements within the engine.

The gaskets appeared to be of two ages. Some were obviously modern rubber ones and some old compressed paper, these were also sampled. Historically, gaskets were often made in automotive garages from rolls of asbestos paper. It enabled mechanics to be able to cut and form the gaskets that were required to exact size and shape.

The fan belt in the car appeared to be older than many of the other parts and there was no record of when it had last been replaced. As sampling would have impacted the integrity of the belt it was presumed to contain asbestos. It is recommended that this replaced prior to its trip.

Components that can commonly contain asbestos containing materials (ACM’s) include brakes (including shoes, pads & rotors), hoodliners, clutches, gasket materials, heat seals, packings, braided cables and engine components. On this occasion, all samples taken from the vehicle tested negative for asbestos containing materials.

This beautiful vehicle can now set sail for Australia. We thank the owner for the interesting opportunity and wish them and the car a safe and fun trip.

For further information regarding asbestos in classic cars, see our guide here