Bentley 8 Litre Sportsman Coupé 1931 by Gurney-Nutting
With victories to its name in the Le Mans 24 Hours, Bentley had definitely proved itself in competition. To knock Rolls-Royce off the top spot for British luxury automobiles however, it was necessary to go one step further. And so, at the 1930 London Motor Show, the brand presented the 8-Litre.
Employing the engineering of the imposing 6.5-litre, this car called for all the superlatives. The in-line six-cylinder engine had a single overhead camshaft and four valves per cylinder and with 7,983cc, it produced 220 bhp at 3,500 rpm.
In other words, it was exceptionally versatile and was reported as such in period road tests, such as The Autocar of 1930: " While offering the performance of a sports car (....), this car can be driven in top gear, as slowly as a man walks, and can accelerate without snatch and without difficulty. " Right through to a top speed of 100 mph (160 km/h) ! This was a higher number than Rolls-Royces were capable of, even though the 8-litre chassis was longer than the longest comparable Rolls-Royce.
However, despite these indisputable qualities, and along with many of its rivals, the Bentley 8-Litre suffered from the Great Depression that followed the 1929 Crash and just 100 examples were built, making it a particularly rare model.
Naturally, a technical masterpiece such as this attracted the most reputable coachbuilders, who exercised all their talent on creating bodies for the car. It was Gurney-Nutting, one of Bentley's most trusted coachbuilders along with Vanden Plas, who was responsible for the Sportsman coupé, a marvel of design with perfect balance for a chassis of this size. Its beauty was recognised immediately, and the car won the 1932 " Best Coachwork " Trophy at the RAC Rally.
This 1931 Bentley 8 Litre Sportsman coupé by Gurney-Nutting was sold for 2 190 400 € at the Artcurial Auction Sales during the Retromobile 2014.
Wallpapers of the Bentley 8 Litre Sportsman Coupé 1931 by Gurney-Nutting (click on image to enlarge)