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1931 Bentley 8-Liter

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The 8 Litre was the largest and most luxurious Bentley car made prior to the purchase of the marque by Rolls-Royce. It used a massive 8-litre (7983 cc/ 487 cubic-inch) straight-6 engine and rode on a long 144 inch (3658 mm) or longer 156-inch (3962 mm) wheelbase, making it the largest car produced in the United Kingdom up to that time.

The car was conceived similarly to the Bugatti Royale - as a halo car to vault the maker into position as the supreme manufacturer of luxury cars in the world. However, like the Bugatti, the 8 Litre Bentley failed to sell in sufficient numbers to make a profit.

Just as the Great Depression was starting to affect Europe, Bentley unveiled the 8-Litre, its finest and most expensive model, at the 1930 London Auto Show. Set on either a 12- or 13-foot wheelbase, the 8 Litre was practically a yacht. It had a massive frame supported by tubular cross-members, and it weighed two tons. The six-cylinder engine displaced eight liters. The 8-Litre was as advanced as any existing Rolls-Royce and was faster than any Rolls-Royce built before World War II. Many of the 100 produced still survive, although usually in modified form. Poor sales helped put the company into receivership in 1931, and some say that Rolls-Royce bought Bentley just to eliminate the competition from the 8-Litre. Rolls-Royce did, in fact, dispose of all 8-Litre spare parts after taking over the company.

The six-cylinder engine used a one-piece iron block and cylinder head with an electron crankcase. Four valves per cylinder were specified, as was twin-spark ignition - both were state of the art at the time. The bore was 110 mm (4.3 inches) and the stroke was 140 mm (5.5-inches). A four-speed manual transmission with a single-plate dry clutch sent power to the rear wheels. Springs were used all around, and 4-wheel servo-assisted brakes were also fitted.


by Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2019

Related Reading : Bentley 8 Litre History

The 8-Liter Bentley was introduced at the 1930 London Motor Show. It featured an 8-liter engine which was a development of Bentleys race-winning 6.5-liter unit. The main purpose of this model was to add competition in the luxury car segment and challenge the Rolls-Royce Phantom. The power-plant was an engineering marvel, fitted with an Elektron crankcase and sump. The engine was a single iron....
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1931 Vehicle Profiles

1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Sportsman Coupe
Coachwork: Gurney Nutting

Chassis Num: YR 5088
Engine Num: YR 5088

1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Convertible Victoria
Coachwork: Murphy

Chassis Num: YR5085
Engine Num: YR5085

1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Touring Car
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: YX5119
Engine Num: YX5119

1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Open Tourer by Harrison
Coachwork: Harrison

Chassis Num: YR5076

1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Corsica Tourer
Coachwork: Corsica

Chassis Num: YX5115
Engine Num: YX5117

1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Weymann Paneled Saloon
Coachwork: Mulliner
1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Wallis

Chassis Num: YR5086

1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Sportsman Coupe
Coachwork: Lancefield
1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Sports Coupe Cabriolet
Coachwork: Barker

Chassis Num: YR5099
Engine Num: YR5099

1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Tourer
Coachwork: Swallow Sidecar and Coachbuilders

Chassis Num: YF5013
Engine Num: YF5013

1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Sport Saloon
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: YX 5113
Engine Num: YX 5115

1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Roadster Special
Coachwork: Sutherland

Chassis Num: YF5006
Engine Num: YF5006

1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Sports Tourer
Coachwork: Gurney Nutting

Chassis Num: YF5011
Engine Num: YF5011

1931 Bentley 8-Liter vehicle information
Sports Tourer
Coachwork: Vanden Plas

Chassis Num: YR5095
Engine Num: YR5095

Performance and Specification Comparison

8 Litre

Year
Production
Wheelbase
Engine
Prices
156.00 in.
6 cyl., 487.15 CID., 220.00hp
134.00 in., 135.00 in., 144.00 in., 156.00 in.
6 cyl., 487.15 CID., 220.00hp
100
144.00 in., 156.00 in.
6 cyl., 487.15 CID., 220.00hp

Industry Production

#1#2#3Bentley
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)
1934Ford (563,921)Brewster (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)
1933Chevrolet (486,261)Ford (334,969)Plymouth (298,557)
1932Chevrolet (313,404)Ford (210,824)Miller (210,824)
1931Chevrolet (619,554)Ford (615,455)Buick (138,965)
1930Ford (1,140,710)Chevrolet (640,980)Buick (181,743)
1929Ford (1,507,132)Chevrolet (1,328,605)Buick (196,104)
1928Chevrolet (1,193,212)Ford (607,592)Willys Knight (231,360)
1927Chevrolet (1,001,820)Ford (367,213)Buick (255,160)
1926Ford (1,669,847)Chevrolet (547,724)Buick (266,753)

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