Bentley has announced that its 6¾-litre V8 engine – the longest-serving V8 design in continuous production – has reached the end of its handcrafted manufacturing run.
In production for more than 60 years, and with the same configuration and bore spacing as the very first version from 1959, the last L-Series engine will power the 30th and last specially commissioned Mulsanne 6.75 Edition by Mulliner vehicle.
Originally designed by a team of Bentley engineers in the 1950s, the L-Series V8 first saw service in the 1959 Bentley S2 – developing around 180 bhp, deemed “adequate” by Bentley at the time.
Since then, continual design improvement, turbocharging (first single, then twin), electronic control systems, fuel injection and variable valve timing has seen the modern descendant of that original engine evolve into a potent powerplant, developing 530 bhp for the Mulsanne Speed and 1,100 Nm of torque.
36,000 L-Series engines have been built over the last 60 years – each created by hand in the engine workshops of Bentley’s Crewe, UK, headquarters.
The last version of the engine takes 15 hours to build. Once completed, and after thorough testing, the engine is signed off by one of Bentley’s engine specialists – with a plate denoting their signature affixed to the front of the engine.
“Our venerable 6¾-litre V8 has powered the flagship Bentley for more than six decades, and so has earned its retirement,” said Peter Bosch, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Manufacturing.
“I am extremely proud of the generations of skilled craftspeople that have meticulously assembled every one of these engines by hand over the years. That this engine stood the test of time for so long is testament to the ingenious engineers who kept making the engine ever more powerful, refined and reliable. Now, we look forward to the future of Bentley, powered by our exceptional W12, sporting 4.0-litre V8, and our efficient V6 Hybrid – the start of our journey to electrification.”