1931 Bentley 8 LitreVanden Plas Sports Tourer
Year of manufacture1931
Car typeConvertible / Roadster
Number of doors2
Number of seats4
Performance220 BHP / 224 PS / 165 kW
- Boasting a fully numbers-matching chassis, retaining its original engine and other major mechanical components
- Special ordered new by Lord Brougham and Vaux “to the specification of Mr. W.O. Bentley’s own 8 Litre model and to be fitted with racing type speedometer and revolution counter, high compression engine, dual Delco ignition and special cut-out”
- Still fitted with the original VdP body installed in 1932 by Jack Barclay Ltd.
- One of just eight 8 Litres originally bodied by Vanden Plas, and one of three similarly bodied in their most desirable specification
- Significant, nearly unbroken provenance including some of America’s greatest collectors like Sam Scher, Richard Paine and Charlie LeMaitre
- An exceptionally well-documented and well-regarded example
Ordered new through Jack Barclays by Lord Brougham & Vaux in February 1931, at the age of 22, this Bentley was originally specified as a Vanden Plas special sports two-seat drophead coupe. The very unusual specifications are detailed by Vanden Plas and attached the original Barclay’s invoice for the car.
Further to the unique coachwork, the Lord additionally requested “The chassis to the specification of Mr. W.O. Bentley’s own 8 Litre model and to be fitted with racing type speedometer and revolution counter, high compression engine, dual Delco ignition and special cut-out.” The 8 Litre was also specified as the shorter chassis of the two available wheelbases.
Several photographs from 1931 show the cars incredible presence, making it one of the most special 8 Litres of the 100 built.
In May of 1932, due to significant debts accrued in Monte Carlo, the Bentley was sold back to Barclays who proceeded to remove the two-seat body and replace it with a special open four-seater also by Vanden Plas. This bodywork was one of just three virtually identical designs, which includes the personal 8 Litre of Capt. Woolf Barnato.
The car’s new coachwork had been removed from another 8 Litre, chassis YF5023, at the owner’s request for a Gurney Nutting drophead coupe, and was moved in its entirety, including the aluminum hood which remains numbered YF5023. This original body is number 1732. A Jack Barclay photo from 1932 shows ‘GP5’ in this form.
Barclays proceeded to market the car, and in July of 1933 it was sold to Elizabeth Hutter and Mr. A Storkey who traded in their 4 1/2 Litre SC “Blower Bentley” (chassis MS3950) against the 8 Litre. Bentley Motors maintenance records document the various service and upgrades undertaken in the early 1930s. In June of 1935 the car was traded into Barclays against another 8 Litre (chassis YF5006) and was eventually sold to Mrs. Garstin that same year.
Major L.F. Hay is listed as the next owner in 1936, and two more subsequent UK owners before the car was exported to the US in 1951. Not long after its arrival in the US, the 8 Litre was acquired by Walter Stocklin, a well-known Pennsylvania collector who’s stable held significant European sports cars including Bugatti. During Stocklin’s ownership the car’s doors were modified to feature a more sporting “cut down” on both the driver and passenger side, as seen in the charming photo below.
The Bentley was then acquired by one of America’s best regarded, pioneering collectors, Dr. Sam Scher who retained the car for some time. Eventually, the 8 Litre passed from Sam Scher to another legendary collector, Richard Paine and the Seal Cove Auto Museum in 1967. Apparently two years prior, Paine struck a deal with Scher in which he could buy 41 cars of his choosing for $600,000 and had two years to make his selections. Though the Bill of Sale states otherwise, the Bentley was valued at roughly $30,000!
The 8 Litre remained in the Seal Cove Auto Museum for two decades before acquisition by Charlie LeMaitre in 1987 who would keep the car for another decade himself, during which time the Bentley was sent to the UK for some necessary restoration work and slight modification of the running boards and trunk. The car sold to Jerry Bowes in 1997 before it appeared at Christies Pebble Beach auction in 2002 at which point the Bentley was acquired by well-known enthusiasts Bill and Aniece Lassiter.
The Lassiters used the Bentley frequently, and the car took part in the 2007 and 2012 NAVBM and was shown at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and Cavallino Classic.
Today, the 8 Litre carries all its major numbered components and is fully “matching numbers.” Furthermore, the car retains the original Vanden Plas body fitted in 1932 by Jack Barclay. Just 13 numbers-matching 8 Litre Bentleys remain with their original open coachwork, making this car exceedingly rare. Boasting exceptional, nearly unbroken provenance that includes some of Americas greatest collectors, it’s clear the car was always prized and desired. Among the very finest and well regarded of its kind.
Please visit hagemanmotorcars.com for more photos and info.