“People dream of discoveries like this,” said Mark Hyman, president of Hyman Ltd. Classic Cars. With almost two decades of seeing top line collector cars and a lifetime of personal car collecting, Hyman is rarely surprised by automotive discoveries. But when visiting an eccentric acquaintance and fellow collector on a whim in Ohio, Hyman was shocked to uncover 15 rare classics including two legendary 8-liter Bentley models tightly packed in a turn of the century barn.
Beginning as a casual visit, the experience became a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that ended with Hyman offering to buy all 15 collector cars within hours after arriving. In addition to the two 8-liter Bentleys, the collection also included a ‘31 Cadillac Dual Cowl Phaeton, ’41 Cadillac Coupe, ’38 Lagonda Drophead, ’27 Rolls Royce Phantom I, ’56 Cadillac Limousine, ’67 Corvette Roadster and seven other classics.
“When arriving on the gentlemen’s property, I didn’t know what to expect. Then he opened the doors for me and I could feel the adrenaline,” said Hyman. “My mouth dropped when I saw all of those magnificent classics side by side. It was one of the most exciting days of my life.”
After agreeing to acquire the collection, Hyman quickly flew back to St. Louis the same day and assembled personnel from his company as well as a few friends to help retrieve these automotive treasures. The crew utilized four tractor-trailers to haul vehicles back to their restoration and sales facility in St. Louis. The barn was three quarters of a mile from the street, so the team used the flatbed truck to tow each vehicle to the trailers. From 6 a.m. until midnight, Hyman and his crew worked diligently to transport each vehicle without causing any damage. But despite the lack of recent maintenance, the cars were still in fairly good condition after last being restored in the 70s.
“Because of aging collectors becoming passive in the hobby discoveries like this Barn Find will increase over the next decade,” said Hyman. “This is probably the tip of the iceberg.”
The first 8-liter (YR5086) includes a standard 13 feet wheelbase and its original engine. Like many 8-liter Bentleys, the car was equipped as a limousine with coachwork by Thrupp & Maberly. The YR5086 was shipped to the U.S. in 1966. The other Bentley, YX5112, was one of the very last 8-liter Bentleys to be manufactured and features a short 12-foot wheelbase and dual windshield tour coachwork by Gerney Nutting.
“After giving both Bentleys a mechanical refresh, I plan on keeping one in my personal collection and selling the other to a legion of Bentley fans who are already talking about the find,” said Hyman. “I look forward to driving this amazing vehicle around town and in rallies across the country.”
Hyman Ltd. Classic Cars, founded in 1989, is a group of automotive professionals who share an intense passion for vintage motor cars, and who search the world to acquire rare and unusual cars of exceptional quality. The company specializes in advising the acquisition and sale of pre-war classic automobiles, post-war American collectible cars and both pre- and post-war sports cars, including complete collections and caters to discerning automotive enthusiasts, dedicated collectors, and international museums. Its 35,000 square-foot facility is centrally located in St. Louis.