Bentley 8-liter

Reception

Announced on 15 September 1930 and launched at the London Olympia Motor Show in October 1930, the 8 Litre Bentley was noted for its tractability and smoothness; it could be driven from walking pace to highway speeds in top gear without effort.

As a result of the Great Depression, the 8 Litre did not sell well enough to improve Bentley’s financial situation. The chassis was priced at £1,850, roughly equivalent to £86.7 thousand today.

Only 100 of these cars were made, of which 35 were on the shorter wheelbase and 65 were on the longer wheelbase. Fewer than 25 were fitted with open bodies. It is suggested that the cost of the development of the car was a prime reason for Bentley Motors going bankrupt.

Bentley made one more attempt at financial recovery by installing modified Ricardo 4-litre engines in a shortened 8-Litre chassis and selling the result as the Bentley 4 Litre. Announced on 15 May 1931, only 50 were made before Bentley Motors Ltd. was placed into receivership.

When Rolls-Royce bought Bentley Motors from the receiver in November 1931, it discontinued production of the 8-Litre and disposed of all spare parts for it.

References

  • Brooks, Philip C. (2009). Carpenter, Rhonda; Iwalani, Kahikina (eds.). «The Mighty Sixes». The International Club for Rolls-Royce & Bentley Owners Desk Diary 2010. Tampa, FL USA: Faircount: 26–35.
  • Eybl, Eckhard (7 March 2001). Ostmann, Bernd (ed.). «Achttausender». Auto, Motor und Sport. 2001 Heft 6: 192–197.
  • Hay, Clare (2011). Bentley Eight Litre. Number One Press. ISBN 978-0-95358-272-3.
  • Posthumus, Cyril (1977) . «The End of an Era». The Story of Veteran & Vintage Cars. John Wood, illustrator. Feltham, Middlesex, UK: Hamlyn. pp. 112–123. ISBN 0-600-39155-8.
  • Robson, Graham (1990). «Bentley 8-litre». The Worlds Most Powerful Cars. 6 Blundell Street, London N7 9BH: Quintet Publishing. pp. 24–27. ISBN 1-85076-254-6. The Derby company was relieved when the trade depression killed off Bentley – and the 8-litre model was never revived by the new management.

Bentley timeline, 1920s–present

Type 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s
Ownership Bentley Motors Limited(1919–1931) Rolls-RoyceBentley Motors (1931) Limited(1931–1980) Vickers plcRolls-RoyceBentley Motors (1931) Limited(1980–1998) Volkswagen Group(1998–)
Coachbuilder’sopen2/4 seater 3 L 4½ L6½ LSpeed Six
Coachbuilder’slarge salooncoupé orconvertible 6½ LSpeed Six8 L 4L3½ 4¼LMark V Mark VI R S1S2S3 T
Cont Continental S1Continental S2Continental S3
Cars with Bentley own-factory coachwork
Largesaloon Mark VI R S1S2S3 T1 T2 Mulsanne Brooklands Arnage Mulsanne
Turbo R
Coupé Corniche Continental R/S/T Br.
Convertible Corniche Continental Azure
Bentleys on the Volkswagen platform
Largesaloon ContinentalFlying Spur
Coupé Continental GT
Convertible Continental GTC
SUV Bentayga
  • Walter Owen Bentley (founder)
  • A marque of the Volkswagen Group
  • Bentley Boys

Bentley timeline, 1921–1931

type /class 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 1931
Sports car 3 L
4½ L & Blower
Grand tourer 6½ L & Speed Six 4L
Luxury vehicle 8 L
  • founder: Walter Owen Bentley
  • A marque of the Volkswagen Group
  • Bentley Boys

Design and specifications

Engine

The straight-six engine used a one-piece iron block and non-detachable cylinder head with a crankcase made from Elektron, a magnesium alloy. It featured an overhead camshaft driven by a Bentley patented «three-throw drive» system of triple connecting rods with, like all earlier Bentleys, four valves per cylinder and twin-spark ignition (coil and magneto), which were state-of-the-art at the time. The engine had a bore of 110 mm (4.3 in) and a stroke of 140 mm (5.5 in), giving a capacity of 7,983 cc (487.2 cu in). Pistons were of an aluminium alloy.

Both engine and gearbox were mounted each at three points on rubber to isolate the chassis and body from vibration.

Transmission

An entirely new design of four-speed gearbox provided four speeds (constant mesh third) and reverse with a single-plate dry clutch which sent power through a hypoid bevel final drive to the rear axle and its 21″ Rudge-Whitworth wire centre-lock wheels.

Chassis

The chassis was a ladder frame with large tubular steel cross-members downswept from the front and rear axles towards the centre to lower the centre of gravity.

Neither engine nor gearbox contributed to the bracing of the chassis.

Suspension by long semi-elliptic leaf springs was controlled by double acting dampers, friction on the front and hydraulic on the rear axle, and all four wheels were fitted with Dewandre vacuum-servo-assisted 400 mm (15.7 in) drum brakes, the forward brakes being of Bentley-Perrott design.

Steering was by worm and sector and castor action could be adjusted to suit individual taste.

There was centralized chassis lubrication including the gaitered springs but not for the front axle or the clutch withdrawal system.

The 8-Litre chassis was available with either a 144 in (3,700 mm) wheelbase or a longer 156 in (4,000 mm) wheelbase. Three were built with a 138 in (3,500 mm) wheelbase.

The manufacturer claimed a maximum speed of approximately 125 mph (201 km/h). A speed in excess of 105 mph (169 km/h) was guaranteed by the manufacturer.

Reception

Weymann saloon by H. J. Mulliner YF5001: the first 8 Litre made; built for entertainer Jack Buchanan.

Announced on 15 September 1930 and launched at the London Olympia Motor Show in October 1930, the 8 Litre Bentley was noted for its tractability and smoothness; it could be driven from walking pace to highway speeds in top gear without effort.

As a result of the worldwide Great Depression, the 8 Litre did not sell well enough to improve Bentley’s financial situation. The chassis was priced at £1,850, roughly equivalent to £293,000 in 2010.

Only 100 of these cars were made, of which 35 were on the shorter wheelbase and 65 were on the longer wheelbase. Fewer than 25 were fitted with open bodies.[citation needed] It is suggested[] that the cost of the development of the car was a prime reason for Bentley Motors going bankrupt.[citation needed]

Bentley made one more attempt at financial recovery by installing modified Ricardo 4-litre engines in a shortened 8-Litre chassis and selling the result as the Bentley 4 Litre. Announced on 15 May 1931, only 50 were made before Bentley Motors Ltd. was placed into receivership.

When in November 1931, it discontinued production of the 8-Litre and disposed of all spare parts for it.[citation needed]

Legacy

Saloon rebodied with a replica tourer body

78 Bentley 8 Litre cars were known to survive as at mid-2011. Many of these have had their original limousine or saloon bodies replaced by new replica tourer bodies. As a result, Bentley 8 Litres with original bodies are much sought after by collectors.[citation needed]

The only Bentley 8 Litre with an American body, which was also the first Bentley with an all-metal body, was built by the W.M. Murphy Company of Pasadena for a customer in Santa Barbara, California.

McKenzie’s Garages, a specialist in Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars, modified four 8 Litres in the 1930s: YM5050, with shortened chassis, lowered radiator and bulkhead, and triple SU carburettors, YR5083, with a higher-ratio rear axle and triple SU carburettors, YX5117, with a lowered and shortened chassis and triple SU carburettors, and YX5121, with a shortened and lowered chassis and a tuned engine.

Design and specifications

Engine

The straight-six engine used a one-piece iron block and non-detachable cylinder head with a crankcase made from Elektron, a magnesium alloy. It featured an overhead camshaft driven by a Bentley patented «three-throw drive» system of triple connecting rods with, like all earlier Bentleys, four valves per cylinder and twin-spark ignition (coil and magneto), which were state-of-the-art at the time. The engine had a bore of 110 mm (4.3 in) and a stroke of 140 mm (5.5 in), giving a capacity of 7,983 cc (487.2 cu in). Pistons were of an aluminium alloy.

Both engine and gearbox were mounted each at three points on rubber to isolate the chassis and body from vibration.

Transmission

An entirely new design of four-speed gearbox provided four speeds (constant mesh third) and reverse with a single-plate dry clutch which sent power through a hypoid bevel final drive to the rear axle and its 21″ Rudge-Whitworth wire centre-lock wheels.

Chassis

The 8 Litre was built on Bentley’s largest rolling chassis, a ladder frame with large tubular steel cross-members downswept from the front and rear axles towards the centre to lower the centre of gravity.

Neither engine nor gearbox contributed to the bracing of the chassis.

Suspension by long semi-elliptic leaf springs was controlled by double acting dampers, friction on the front and hydraulic on the rear axle, and all four wheels were fitted with Dewandre vacuum-servo-assisted 400 mm (15.7 in) drum brakes, the forward brakes being of Bentley-Perrott design.

Steering was by worm and sector and castor action could be adjusted to suit individual taste.

There was centralised chassis lubrication including the gaitered springs but not for the front axle or the clutch withdrawal system.

The 8-Litre chassis was available with either a 144-inch (3,700 mm) wheelbase or a longer 156-inch (4,000 mm) wheelbase. Three were built with a 138-inch (3,500 mm) wheelbase.[citation needed]

The manufacturer claimed a maximum speed of approximately 125 mph (201 km/h). A speed in excess of 105 mph (169 km/h) was guaranteed by the manufacturer.

Legacy

Bentley 8 Litre cars are much sought after by collectors because of their rarity. Many chassis have had heavy limousine or saloon bodies replaced by new replica tourer bodies. 78 Bentley 8 Litre cars were known to survive as at mid-2011.

The only Bentley 8 Litre with an American body, which was also the first Bentley with an all-metal body, was built by the W.M. Murphy Company of Pasadena for a customer in Santa Barbara, California. Two 8 Litres were modified by McKenzie, who modified the engines and lowered the chassis; of these, one was recently sold by a London dealer, and the other is believed to be in India.

Bentley vehicles

Classic production cars


3 Litre • 3½ Litre • 4 Litre • 4¼ Litre • 4½ Litre • 6½ Litre • 8 Litre • Eight • Mark V • Mark VI • Mulsanne • R Type • S1 • S2 • S3 • Speed Six • T-Series • Turbo R

Classic prototype cars

Notes

  1. ^ «Bentley Motors Limited. Display Advertising». The Times (45823). London. 15 May 1931. p. 11.
  2. ^ «A Great British Car the 8-lire Bentley». The Observer. London UK. 25 January 1931. p. 26.
  3. ^ «Cars of 1931. (FROM OUR MOTORING CORRESPONDENT). The New Bentley, Silence and Vibration Studied». The Times (45618). London. 15 September 1930. p. 7.
  4. ^ , pp. 192–197. sfn error: no target: CITEREFEbyl2001 (help)
  5. , pp. 27, 32.
  6. , pp. 24, 27.
  7. ^ , p. 115.
  8. , p. 24.
  9. ^ «Cars of To-Day. (OUR MOTORING CORRESPONDENT). Eight-litre Bentley». The Times (45691). London. 9 December 1930. p. 19.
  10. ^ , p. 27.
  11. ^ , p. 32.
  12. ^ , Motorbase
  13. , Sportscars.TV
  14. OUR MOTORING CORRESPONDENT. (15 May 1931). «A New Bentley». The Times (45823). London. p. 13.
  15. , pp. 64–65.
  16. , p. 17.
  17. , p. 11.
  18. , pp. 42–43.
  19. , Conceptcarz
  20. , pp. 204–206. sfn error: no target: CITEREFHay (help)
  21. , p. 128. sfn error: no target: CITEREFHay (help)
  22. , pp. 231–235. sfn error: no target: CITEREFHay (help)
  23. , Vintage Bentleys .org
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