marți, 5 aprilie 2016

Bentley 8-Litre Tourer by Swallow 1931 - World Of Classic Cars -

Bentley 8-Litre Tourer by Swallow 1931

THE BENTLEY 8-LITRE

The gentleman sportsman reviewing the selection of fine automobiles available to him in 1930 would certainly have been tempted by the 8-Litre Bentley. For the man who had everything, it was the automobile that had everything. Presence: it was over 20 feet long and as tall as a man, with an engine compartment more reminiscent of a locomotive than a car. Style: it was ideally proportioned for beautiful custom coachwork. Engineering: the exhaust pipe was asbestos-lagged, encased in aluminum to reduce resonance, and then coupled to a silencer the size of a 20-gallon waste bin; the starter engaged with surgical precision. Performance: even with the heaviest custom coachwork, the 8-Litre was incredibly brisk and capable of 100 mph.
Bentley 8-Litre Tourer by Swallow 1931

“This car can be driven really softly on its high top gear, as slowly as a man walks, and can accelerate from that without snatch and without difficulty,” proclaimed The Autocar.
In every sense, the 8-Litre was probably the greatest British automobile ever produced. Yet, only 100 chassis were built before the sheer cost of developing and building such a machine drove the company into receivership. Other Bentleys would come in the following decades, but the 8-Litre was the last of the “W.O.s”—the great driver’s cars built under Mr. Bentley himself.

CHASSIS NUMBER YF5013
Bentley 8-Litre Tourer by Swallow 1931

According to the research of renowned vintage Bentley specialist Dr. Clare Hay, chassis number YF5013 was the 13th of the 100 8-Litres built. It was delivered as a company demonstrator on the Continent, to Société Européene Bentley Automobiles SA, near Paris, France, on March 1931. Perhaps to better appeal to local clients, Bentley Motors commissioned the car’s four-door sports saloon coachwork by Jacques Saoutchik. The car was registered in France as 4379 RE9 and is known to have been displayed in a local concours d’elegance in period.
Bentley 8-Litre Tourer by Swallow 1931

After the Bentley company’s sale to Rolls-Royce, this car was included as “new-old stock,” sold to the famed London Bentley dealer Jack Barclay. The following month, December 1931, longtime Bentley client and prominent British politician Sir John Jarvis acquired it from Barclay’s, trading in his 6½-Litre on the purchase. Over the next few years, the car was continuously updated, including with the addition of Andre shocks, a popular period feature. Sir John used the car for four years before sending it to the prestigious London coachbuilders Hooper, in 1935, for a new all-weather tourer body.
Bentley 8-Litre Tourer by Swallow 1931

Passed in May 1938 to S.G. Howard, the car was seldom used thereafter during the duration of World War II. Still wearing its second Hooper body, it was acquired in 1950 by Wentworth L. Rowland, passing in the mid-1950s to the first American owner, George C. Chilberg, who brought it to the United States.
In December of 1962, the Bentley was purchased by the late Norris Allen, a highly respected Rolls-Royce and Bentley collector from St. Louis, Missouri. Known for his long-term stewardship of numerous important models from both marques, Mr. Allen elected to have the car restored in a more sporting configuration. The Hooper body was removed, and the chassis was shortened to 11 feet, 2 inches, as on the Speed Six team cars, while a new custom open four-seater body was built by Swallow Coachbuilding of Coventry, accented by British Racing Green paint, Lucas P100 headlamps, and Lucas “snail pattern” sidelights. Fortunately, the car retains its original radiator and cowl, as well as its 1935 engine bonnet with the distinctive molding line above the hinge. The wings and running boards are believed to have been retained from the Hooper body and suitably shortened. An overdrive was installed as, in its shortened and lightened form, chassis number YF5013 would have been under-geared with its standard 3.53:1 ratio.
Bentley 8-Litre Tourer by Swallow 1931

The restored Bentley remained part of Mr. Allen’s collection until his passing in 1995 and was then sold to Bill Ford, who displayed it at the Bentley Drivers’ Club North America meet the following year.