1931 Bentley 8 Litre Tourer

Paul Hardiman

This magnificent 8 Litre is one of only 100 such cars produced by W.O. Bentley, of which only some 80 or so survive.

Originally bodied as a limousine by Thrupp & Maberly, it was sent directly to Singapore, where its Chinese owner used the Bentley for sporting adventures with his lady friends. The Bentley was known as “the Harem Saloon.”

Returning to the U.K. in the early 1950s, it was owned by a Mr. Peter Quinn, who removed the original body but kept the original bonnet and scuttle.

He sold the Bentley to marque stalwart Peter Morley, most remembered for his endeavors with the Napier Bentley and many more successful W.O. competition specials. Morley shortened the chassis, fitted a stylish 2-seater body and raced the Bentley very successfully with the Vintage Sports-Car Club for a number of years.

The car’s next owner, a Mr. Posnett, dismantled it and re-lengthened the chassis to its 12-foot wheelbase. He kept it until 2002 when, still dismantled, it was bought by John Cobbing, who commissioned The Vintage Workshop (Wayne Huckle) to undertake its restoration, in the course of which the car was re-bodied as a 4-seater, 2-door tourer, complete with Gurney Nutting-style helmet wings.

The engine was rebuilt using the original crankshaft with new connecting rods and modern shell bearings, the crankcase and sump machined to accept modern oil seals. The carburetors were stripped and rebuilt, and the Auto-Vac was similarly overhauled.

Paul Hardiman

Paul Hardiman - SCM Senior Auction Analyst - %%page%%

Paul is descended from engineers and horse thieves, so he naturally gravitated toward the old-car marketplace and still finds fascination in the simpler things in life: looking for spot-weld dimples under an E-type tail, or counting the head-studs on a supposed Mini-Cooper engine. His motoring heroes are Roger Clark, Burt Levy, Henry Royce and Smokey Yunick — and all he wants for next Christmas is an Alvis Stalwart complete with picnic table in the back and a lake big enough to play in.

Posted in English