BOOK FILE 5:Bentley’s Great Eight

BOOK FILE 5:Bentley’s Great Eight


Learn all about the V8, the masterpiece…

Karl Ludvigsen, a top-notch automotive historian, has published a book that meticulously summarizes the history of Bentley's famed V-8 engine.

text:Hiromi TAKEDA
Translation: Mako Ayabe and Michael Balderi

The Bentley V8 engine was created in 1959 as the power unit for the S2 and S2 Continental, and has remained at the heart of every Bentley model for the past 52 years. Today, it’s recognized around the world as one of the greatest high performance engines in automotive history.
Adhering to Bentley's tacit policy in the late 1950s - early 1960s, the engine's power specifications were not disclosed, and were only described as 'sufficient for the needs of the automobile'. The displacement, however, was later increased from 6230 cc to 6750 cc, the engine was turbocharged, the engine regulation was computerized, and twin turbochargers were even installed. In 2008, at Brooklands, the engine finally demonstrated its remarkable 537ps power. The new Mulsanne, which has just started delivery in Japan, not only has lighter pistons and connecting rods, a forged crankshaft, and an engine which is 23 kg lighter, but also features a system that deactivates all four cylinders depending on driving conditions. More than half a century after its birth, the V8 engine remains the most advanced power unit of its generation.
A volume dedicated to the Bentley V8 is now available to Japanese enthusiasts. The author is Karl Ludvigsen, a world-renowned automotive historian and automotive technology expert. Thanks to his wealth of knowledge and experience, the book gives us a dense, comprehensive compilation of the Bentley V8's dramatic history, which has included not only its remarkable technological evolution, but many crises, such as the imperative to adapt to emission controls and changes in the company's management structure.
The new Continental GT, which just debuted in Japan, is also scheduled to include a new 4-liter V8 next year. The iconic V8 represents a fundamental aspect of the company’s philosophy, one which has endured the twists and turns of its fabled history. This book, which chronicles the history of the Bentley V8, is a must-read for Bentley enthusiasts, as it illustrates, quite masterfully, the modern history of one of the automobile world’s most prestigious marques.

Bentley’s Great Eight
Author: Karl Ludvigsen
Publisher: Dalton Watson
Pages: 207
Language: English

This is a revised version of an article that appeared in Flying B No 005 (2011). The information provided here was accurate at the time of publication.