Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Hoffmann & Burton
Vintage Bentleys have a truly uncanny ability to transcend time and space unlike other prewar motoring legends. This 1931 Bentley 8 Litre serves as a wonderful case in point, being one of just 100 originally produced, the final and greatest model from the original Bentley Motors company. Exuding adventurous charisma and carrying fascinating and exceedingly well-documented provenance, this 8 Litre retains its original chassis and original engine – both numbered YR 5092 – at its core. Originally fitted with paneled Weymann close-coupled saloon coachwork by H.J. Mulliner, it was registered “GO 4409” and delivered new to first owner Major H.W. Hall, the highly decorated Boer War and Great War officer. Service work, mechanical updates, and three subsequent owners – Lt. Col. G.C.A. Brietmeyer (1937), Dr. J.H. Reid (1939) and L.G. Wooten (1939) are carefully detailed on a handwritten ledger, a copy of which accompanies the car’s sale. Thankfully, the 8 Litre survived wartime; however, it was derelict in a Hampshire field during the 1950s until Bentley Drivers Club member Geoffrey Kramer rescued the venerable but forlorn Bentley in 1958.
Mr. Kramer initially planned to restore the vehicle, but soon elected to sell it in 1960 to William A. “Bill” Lockley Cook, who had the original chassis shortened and rebodied with its present pointed tail two-seater bodywork by Bentley specialists Hoffmann & Burton at their Henley-on-Thames workshops. Following completion of the restoration and rebuild during 1960–1961, YR 5092 made a triumphant debut as a Bentley Drivers Club class champion at Kensington Gardens in 1962. Perhaps the ultimate compliment came from Bentley expert Johnnie Green in his book, Bentley: Fifty Years of the Marque, with Cook’s successful vision praised for maintaining the period style and character of the Bentley with some more modern amenities, including a rakish cut-down “V” windscreen and updated wipers, plus an electric cooling fan. Having no competition pretensions, unlike some other updated prewar Bentleys, this car was nonetheless set up for fast touring with the original eight-litre engine tuned and equipped with three SU carburetors. The 8 Litre remained in Lockley-Cook’s family, latterly with his daughter, Ms. Jackie Ingram, who had the Bentley professionally serviced prior to selling the car to a Swiss collector in 2001 via a noted UK marque specialist. Repatriation to the UK in 2003 and ownership by noted collector Anthony Bamford was followed in 2005 by vintage racer and 8 Litre connoisseur Neil Corner, under whose care the Bentley received an updated dash and instruments, new blue upholstery, lightweight 19" alloy-rim wheels, two new electric cooling fans, hydraulic power steering, and select body modifications yielding an even cleaner appearance. Later in 2005, the 8 Litre was sold by Corner to the consignor.
As offered, this decidedly sporting 8 Litre stands as a very well-known and respected example of W.O. Bentley’s ultimate design, regarded by many as the last “true” Bentley model produced. Since the rebuild was completed under Bill Cook, this 8 Litre has been depicted and profiled in a succession of books including Johnnie Green’s definitive Bentley: Fifty Years of the Marque, Ray Roberts’ Bentley Specials & Special Bentleys, Michael Hay’s Bentley: The Vintage Years 1919–1931, Peter Hugo’s Private Motor Car Collections of Great Britain, Ralph Stein’s The Great Cars, and Bentley Past & Present by Rivers Fletcher, plus several Bentley Drivers Club publications. Accompanying documents are extensive, including photographs, correspondence, ownership records, operating instructions, and technical information. Worthy of the most discerning vintage Bentley collector, this exceedingly rare 8 Litre combines Bentley’s renowned engineering with uncommonly sporting style and provides, as Johnnie Green stated over 50 years ago, “…a means of progress the manner of which we shall never see produced again.”
*Please note that this lot is currently located in the UK. It is UK registered and has a UK DVLA issued V5C. For further information, please contact email@example.com.
*Please note that the Seller of this Lot is a private individual.
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