Class Sponsor

Year: 1932

Manufacturer: Bentley

Model: 8 Litre

Engine Number: YM5039

Country: UK

Mihai Negrescu

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1932 Bentley 8 Litre (YM5039)

Chassis YM5039 is the 64th of the 100 8 Litre Bentleys built in 1930–31. It remained unsold when Bentley Motors went into receivership on 11th July 1931, so the chassis stayed at the works during the receivership, which lasted until November of the same year.  It was then sold in chassis form to Barclay and Olding on the 29th of March 1932, as part of a job lot of seven 8 Litre chassis sold by Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd. 

The Barclay invoice shows that YM5039 was sold again in chassis form to the first owner, Bernard Hoops of Messrs Lodge Plugs, Ltd., of Rugby, at the astonishing price of GBP 905, less than half the retail price for an 8 Litre chassis (GBP 1850) before Bentley Motors went into receivership in July 1931. By this date Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd. had abandoned the old five-year guarantee, so the chassis was sold with a one-year guarantee. 

The coachwork was presumably arranged by Barclay, with the invoice noting that the price paid didn’t cover any last wiring costs, or the cost of getting the completed car passed off Final Test by Bentleys, to trigger the guarantee. The invoice is dated 9th of June 1932.  The Service Record notes a C.D. date of 23rd of May 1932; this is usually the date the chassis was despatched to the coachbuilder, in the present case, H.J. Mulliner.

There are unconfirmed rumours that there was a line of 8 Litre chassis at Vanden Plas during the receivership, perhaps including YM5039.  Judging by the door locks and buffers fitted to the body on YM5039, and the absence of a Weymann plate, this is a fully coachbuilt body, panelled over a wooden frame. The design is a handsome four-door four-light saloon with the more rounded and flowing lines of a coachbuilt body, as compared with a Weymann saloon. The use of a waistline moulding allows for a two-tone colour scheme, taking away visually from the height of the doors, these being hung on the centre pillars.

H.J. Mulliner were a solid, reputable coachbuilder, more expensive than most but not as pricey as Hooper or Barker. The body number is 3983, stamped to the framing beneath the back seat, but unfortunately the surviving records post-date this number. The interior is owner-driver with a sun roof and no division, with separate adjustable bucket front seats. The rear seat has a folding armrest to seat two comfortably or three with the armrest folded up.  Amazingly, the interior of this car is still completely original, and has never been touched.

This car was then owned by V.R. Crompton of West Horsley, Surrey in 1934, before being sold to Lt. Col. W. E. Gates in 1947.   The car then went to Canada in 1947 with Mr. J.W. Charters; he bought the car when he lived in the UK but took it over to Canada in 1948 and, with his wife, drove it across Canada in the winter from Halifax to Soda Creek 400 miles north of Vancouver where they lived. 

Jack unfortunately died in a blizzard in 1949.  The car was rescued from the British Columbian wilderness by Capt. L. Goudy. He took the car to Vancouver and reconditioned it, as it was in a poor state having had a collision with a moose and the wings had been trimmed. Capt. Goudy kept the car until at least 1971, and he recalls the time when he was stopped by the police in Vancouver and thought he was about to be charged with a motoring offence, but the officers only wanted to see the engine as one of them stated that his uncle was called Lycett, and he used to race Bentleys!  This, of course, was the famous Forrest Lycett.

A Clare Hay report was commissioned by the owners in September 2019, and the car is now at RC Moss to rectify all the issues (which were only small) from the report, where Moss himself commented that it was one of the most, if not the most, original interior on an 8 Litre Bentley he had ever seen.


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