<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013

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Lot 330
1931 Bentley 8-Liter Tourer
Coachwork by Swallow Coachbuilding Co.

Sold for US$ 885,000 inc. premium
1931 Bentley 8-Liter Tourer
Coachwork by Swallow Coachbuilding Co.

Chassis no. YF 5013
Engine no. YF 5013

7,983cc SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
4-Valves per Cylinder
Triple SU HO8 Carburetors
220bhp at 3,000rpm
4-Speed F-Type Manual Transmission
Semi-Elliptic Leaf Spring Suspension
4-Wheel Mechanical Servo Assisted Drum Brakes

*Prominent and exciting early Works Demonstrator provenance
*Equipped with one-off Saoutchik Sports Saloon bodywork from new
*Matching-numbers engine, chassis and driveline
*Researched and documented history since new by Dr. Clare Hay
*Important W.O. Bentley, eligible for the most exclusive Concours and driving events



THE 8-LITER BENTLEY

Although the prevailing image of Bentley cars during the Cricklewood period of the company's life is that of out-and-out sports cars and fast tourers, it is often overlooked that W. O. Bentley made a determined bid for the carriage trade, particularly with his larger 4½-Liter, 6½-Liter, and 8-Liter models. It is largely because of this that Napier's bid for the company, in 1931, was thwarted by Rolls-Royce, which doubtless saw that a rejuvenated Bentley company would present strong competition for its own models.

As it is, only 100 examples of the 8-Liter model had been produced before bankruptcy overtook the original Bentley company; had they been in a stronger financial position, it may have been a different story. With a chassis price of £1,850, the 8-Liter Bentley was in direct competition with the Rolls-Royce Phantom II while offering better performance, and the contemporary motoring press was lavish with its praise for the 8-Liter model. The latter had debuted at the 1930 London Motor Show and was the largest-engined car made in the UK at that time, and arguably the fastest. Bentley's advertising claimed "100mph without noise" and tests bore out that claim, the 8-Liter being fully capable of the "ton," even when burdened with weighty formal coachwork. As W. O. Bentley said, "I have wanted to produce a dead silent 100mph car, and now I think we have done it."

The 8-Liter represents an evolutionary step in the development of the Vintage-era Bentley, combining proven features of the 6½-Liter model with the latest engineering advances. Rather than trying to extract more power from the existing 6½-Liter engine, W. O. Bentley followed his long-preferred method of improving performance and simply enlarged it, increasing the bore size from 100 to 110mm. Although the 8-Liter's engine followed conventional Bentley practice, its gearbox—designated "F-type"—was radically different from its predecessors, the redesign having been necessitated by the greatly increased power and torque it was required to transmit, as well as the quest for silence.

The massive chassis frame likewise was entirely new, being of the "double drop" design that enabled overall height to be reduced and the center of gravity lowered, these aims also dictating the use of a hypoid-bevel rear axle. Seven tubular cross members resulted in a much stronger and less flexible frame than hitherto, which was available in a choice of two wheelbases: 12' or 13'. Revised suspension incorporating longer road springs, out-rigged at the rear, together with Bentley & Draper shock absorbers, made for increased smoothness and stability, both vital considerations when designing a large and weighty vehicle capable of three-figure speeds. The 8-Liter's steering and braking systems also featured numerous detail improvements.

In December of 1930, The Autocar eulogized, "Motoring in its very highest form," having recorded a top speed of 101.12mph in W. O. Bentley's own saloon-bodied 8-Liter over the half-mile. Between 1930 and 1939, Britain's foremost motoring magazine bettered that figure only once, while testing an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300. The 8-Liter was destined to remain the fastest production Bentley until the R-Type Continental's arrival in 1953.


THE MOTORCAR OFFERED

This handsome Bentley encapsulates the last years of the W.O. Bentley Vintage era. It is the definitive article of the genius that has created the essence of what the marque stands for.

8-Liter Bentley chassis no. YF 5013 was the 13th of the just 100 examples made of the top-of-the-line, fully evolved model. According to research by noted W.O. Bentley historian, Dr. Clare Hay, YF 5013 was delivered new as a Bentley Works demonstrator on the Continent, to Société Européene Bentley Automobiles SA, located near Paris, France, during March of 1931. To keep with the latest Continental Europe and French fashions, YF 5013 was commissioned by Bentley Motors to be fitted with a stunning, close-coupled Sports Saloon body penned and hand-built by renowned coachbuilder Jacques Saoutchik. Once completed at the Saoutchik coachworks, YF 5013 was registered on French license plate no. 4379 RE9, and shown at various Concours d'Elegance shows around France, alongside other exotic and exclusive motorcars of the era.

After Bentley Motors was sold to Rolls-Royce, 8-Liter Bentley chassis no. YF 5013 was included in the transaction as 'new-old stock' and sold to the famed London-based Bentley dealer, Jack Barclay. In December of 1931, longtime Bentley enthusiast and prominent British politician Sir John Jarvis acquired YF 5013 from Barclay, trading in his 6 ½-Liter Bentley on the deal. Over the next couple of years, the 8-Liter was kept in up-to-date condition by Bentley specialists, and received suggested upgrades and recalls such as the Andre shock absorbers. Sir John would keep the car for about four years, before entrusting the car with prestigious London-based coachbuilder Hooper, to receive a new, 'Haute Couture', All-weather Tourer body.

By May of 1938, YF 5013 was in the in the hands of S.G. Howard and would see little use until acquired about 1950 by Wentworth L. Rowland. The 8-Liter would finally make its way to the United States by the mid-1950s, where George C. Chilberg became the next custodian. In December of 1962, the luxurious and powerful 8-Liter Bentley was acquired by legendary Rolls-Royce and Bentley collector Mr. Norris Allen, of St. Louis, Missouri. Known for his long-term stewardship of numerous important models from both marques, Mr. Allen decided to have the 8-Liter restored in a more sporting configuration. The Hooper coachwork was carefully removed, and the chassis was trimmed to 11 feet and 2 inches, similar to the Speed Six team cars, while a new sporting open, four-seater Tourer body was acquired from Swallow Coachbuilding of Coventry. Finished in appropriate British Racing Green and equipped with large Lucas P100 headlamps, the car looked, and does to this day, elegant and sporty at the same time, like the quintessential W.O. Bentley. The original radiator and cowl were retained during the coachwork upgrades, along with the 1935 engine bonnet with the distinctive molding line above the hinge. The fenders and running boards are believed to have been retained from the Hooper bodywork as well.

YF 5013 remained part of Mr. Allen's collection until his passing in 1995, and was then sold to Bill Ford, a fellow W.O. Bentley enthusiast, who would use the car and display it at Bentley Drivers' Club events. The sporting 8-Liter Bentley was acquired by the consignor - a prominent East Coast based collector of exceptional Sports and Racing cars - in 2006, and has been well maintained in the climate-controlled collection and serviced as needed. YF 5013 has been thoroughly researched by noted Bentley Historian Dr. Clare Hay, and is listed in various books and registries. The research reveals that the Bentley retains most of its original components, including of course the chassis, engine, and both front and rear axles. It has a thorough purity in its components, and a provenance which stretches back to the day it was built.

These cars are legendary for their torque, being able to pull away from standstill in top gear and take off to their guaranteed "ton." With a known history throughout its life, handsome and sporting looks, and the performance abound that these amazing cars are well-known for, this is an excellent example of the end-of-the-fun, fully-evolved 8-Liter W.O. Bentley, ready for Concours d'Elegance showings at the most prominent events around the Globe, or touring on the many Bentley Drivers' Club tours.

Footnotes

  • Special formalities are required to bid on this lot. Contact Client Services at +1 (212) 644 9001 or [email protected] at least 48 hours in advance of the auction. Please also note Online Bidding is not available for this lot.

Saleroom notices

  • Special formalities are required to bid on this lot. Contact Client Services at +1 (212) 644 9001 or [email protected]. Please note, the title for this vehicle will be in transit.
Contacts
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
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<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
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<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
<B>1931  Bentley 8-Liter Tourer</B><BR />Chassis no. YF 5013<BR />Engine no. YF 5013
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