W.O. Bentley’s final creation, a 1930 Bentley 8-Liter Tourer, and one of only 100 examples that were built, will be offered at Bonhams Collectors’ Motor Cars and Automobilia Auction at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia on Sunday, October 11th.
The 8-Liter Tourer was considered to be W.O. Bentley’s masterpiece. At the time, the 8-Liter had the largest engine in Great Britain, and was advertised as capable of exceeding the magical ‘ton’ or 100mph “without noise.” The super-luxury tourer was considered to be Rolls Royce Phantom II’s direct competitor.
Unfortunately, the life of the 8-Liter was brought to a halt due to the worldwide depression sparked by the Wall Street Crash that contributed to bankrupting Bentley and its forced sale to Rolls-Royce.
This specific example was the 13th of 100 made and it was an early works demonstrator in Europe. It was delivered new to the Sociéte Européene Bentley Automobiles SA near Paris, and renowned French coachbuilding Jacques Saoutchik fitted it with a fashionable close-coupled sports saloon body before it was shown at numerous Concours d’Élégances around France.
After the Bentley company was sold, it was known London Bentley dealer, Jack Barclay, who bought the demonstrator. It was eventually acquired by Sir John Jarvis, a distinguished British politician. Under his watch, he had the prestigious coachbuilder, Hooper, fit the 8-Liter with a new Haute Couture All-weather Tourer body.
In the 1950s the 8-Liter made its way to North America where it was acquired by a known Bentley collector in St. Louis, Missouri, Norris Allen. After the acquisition, he decided to restore it in a more sporting configuration with an open, four-seater Tourer body by Swallow Coachbuilding in Coventry, England, its third and definitive incarnation.
Having recently been well-maintained in the climate-controlled collection of a notable East Coast collector, this charming Bentley is again ready to appear at Concours d’Élégances around the world. The 1930 Bentley 8-Liter Tourer is estimated at $775,000 – 875,000.
The 8-Liter Bentley will be joining other impressive pre-war rarities at Simeone, which include the following:
1927 Cadillac 341 -A V-8 Tourer, Coachwork by Fisher
This distinguished Cadillac touring car, valued at $150,000-200,000, is unique as it is one of the seven Cadillacs that were ordered by the Glacier Transport Company to be used in the Glacier National Park in Montana to transport VIP guests. It is built on a semi-commercial chassis with a 150-inch wheelbase and painted a distinctive orange-red to really stand out.
It is believed to be one of the cars that were used to ferry President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his entourage during his historic trip through the park and its surrounding areas in 1935.
1935 Mercedes-Benz 290 Cabriolet A, Coachwork by Sindelfingen
This elegant two-seater Cabriolet A is a rare example of one of the most sought-after versions of the 290 with coachwork by Mercedes-Bens’ in-house coachbuilder, Sindelfingen. Coming from the Petersen Automotive Museum Vault Collection, this 290 Cabriolet A is offered in its ‘barn-find’ condition. With its old red interior and classic white-faced VDO gauges that adorn the dashboard, the 290 represents a rewarding restoration project for any pre-war motor car collector.It is valued at $175,000-225,000.
1934 Lagonda M45 T8 Tourer
This elegant motor car has been in the ownership of only one US-based family since 1967. It is also only one of the 10 known survivors of the classic pre-war British 4 1/2-Liter Grand Tourer, and is valued at $100,000-150,000.
More information regarding the auction of these cars and the Simeone Auction can be found at Bonhams.