Bentley’s V8 has turned 60
Bentley’s venerable V8 is celebrating six decades of service this year, the bent eight first seeing use in the original S2, Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Phantom in 1959.
Since that first outing, Bentley has produced 35,898 units, with the latest 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V8 still taking 15 hours to hand assemble at its Crewe plant. According to the Brits, the Rolls-Royce Bentley L-Series V8 is the “longest-serving” V8 in production, with more than a few redesigns over the years.
When it was first being considered, the brief required the V8 to be at least “50 per cent more powerful” than the Bentley Mark VI, R-Type and S1’s six-cylinder engine, without any increase in size or weight. It took the team 18 months to fully complete the first 6.2-litre version and managed to achieve the goal with 14kg to spare.
Expanding the capacity to 6.75L happened in 1971 while 1982 saw the arrival of a turbocharged version that boosted power by a claimed 50 per cent.
Today, the boosted V8 can be found in the Continental GT and the Mulsanne Speed, pushing the former to 100km/h in around four seconds.