1932 Bentley 8 Litre
Year of manufacture1932
Temporary UK Import
See UK Registration/Import Status Guide in catalogue.
Sharing its basic concept with the prior 6 1/2 Litre, the Bentley Eight Litre of 1930–1931 continued the trend of providing ever-more powerful engines and massive chassis capable of carrying the new crop of luxurious custom bodywork without sacrificing performance. Featuring single overhead camshaft architecture with four valves per cylinder and a lightweight Elektron magnesium alloy crankcase, the eight-litre powerplant reflected the latest in design and engineering. The new, heavily reinforced chassis was equally sophisticated, utilizing “one shot” Tecalemit lubrication, Dewandre servo-assisted brakes, and Bentley & Draper friction dampers up front with hydraulic dampers to the rear. To say the Eight Litre succeeded in its mission would be a severe understatement, with the last motorcar engineered and developed under company founder W.O. Bentley delivering some 220 hp in uncanny silence while capable of accelerating without complaint from walking speed to 100 mph in top gear.
Built only as a bare chassis and priced from £1,850, the Eight Litre was superlative in all respects and substantially more costly than its direct competitor, the Rolls-Royce Phantom II. Just 100 examples of the mighty Eight Litre were built. Offered in 144" and 156" wheelbase lengths, the Eight Litre exuded a commanding presence with a wide array of body styles supplied to exacting customer specifications by the era’s finest custom coachbuilders. As with its other Vintage Bentley stablemates, the Eight Litre continues to enjoy high regard from collectors and marque enthusiasts from new, with histories carefully tracked and abundantly documented.
This 1932 Bentley Eight Litre, chassis YX5110, is certainly no exception, carrying excellent provenance and benefiting handsomely from collector care throughout its lifetime. Delivered new in June 1932 by Jack Barclay to H.W. Reginald Room of Bromley, Kent, and registered as GY 3903, this Eight Litre was built with the long 156" wheelbase chassis and fitted with elegant, close-coupled Sports Saloon coachwork by H.J. Mulliner. Chassis YX5110 was maintained and serviced throughout Mr. Room’s ownership prior to acquisition in 1940 by fellow Bromley resident H.W. Poultney, who retained the Eight Litre and eventually disassembled the majestic Bentley and carefully packed the parts and components in advance of a planned restoration.
Mr. Poultney’s wife took ownership of the Eight Litre after her husband’s passing in the early 1960s and she eventually sold it in June 1971 to famed automobile manufacturer and racing team owner Peter J. Agg. As he later related to a writer for a November 1974 Thoroughbred & Classic Cars magazine article entitled “Bentley 8-Litre,” the body and chassis were separated, the rest of the car’s components and parts filled 18 tea chests and “the only part missing was the wiper motor.” Following the acquisition, Mr. Agg commissioned his Trojan Inc. staff to restore the grand Bentley to concours standards. Following completion of the year-long restoration, YX5110 was shown at a succession of Bentley Drivers Club (BDC) meetings and other shows and events in the UK. This tradition continued under the next owner and BDC stalwart, J.D. “Jimmy” Medcalf, who acquired the Eight Litre in 1979 and retained it until 2007, when it was acquired by noted British collector and vintage racer Jonathan Turner.
As offered, YX5110 maintains impeccable integrity, retaining its majestic coachwork and with a beautifully patinated interior. Power is delivered by the matching-numbers engine and gearbox, according to factory documentation on file. In more recent times, it was expertly finished in the very attractive two-tone green and black color scheme. In addition to its twin driving lamps and dual side-mounted spare wheels and tires, the Eight Litre is richly equipped with rear vanity sets, pull-down rear picnic trays, an opening sunroof, a rare and unusually extensive tool kit, and a fabulous dashboard containing a full array of instruments, including the highly unusual Tapley Gradient Meter. A comprehensive dossier accompanies the vehicle, including a Bentley Motors Eight Litre catalogue, a correct handbook, articles, correspondence, and the old-style buff registration logbook.
Since 2010, YX5110 has been part of the Timeless Collection and maintained by a professional team in the collection’s workshop. Kept alongside other significant prewar automobiles, this Eight Litre Sports Saloon represents a singular opportunity to acquire an outstanding Vintage Bentley. A fitting swan song for Bentley Motors, the Eight Litre captivates and amazes all who experience it directly with its grandeur, luxury, and decidedly athletic presence. With its exceptional integrity and outstanding condition YX5110 offers a fabulous way to partake in the W.O. Bentley magic.