The 8-Liter Bentley was introduced at the 1930 London Motor Show. It featured an 8-liter engine which was a development of Bentley's 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 block and cylinder head with four-valves per cylinder. It had an twin-spark ignition, a bore of 110 mm and a stroke of 140 mm. The straight-six engine carried chassis with wheelbases of 144 inches or 156 inches. The 156-inch wheelbase was the largest car produced in the UK up to that point in history. It could carry the large and luxurious bodies to speeds of 100 mph. To keep the weight of the vehicle to a minimum, many of the bodies and mechanical components were formed from aluminum. An overall weight of about 3700 pounds was typical for the chassis alone. A completed vehicle often tipped the scale at over 2.5 tons.
Four-wheel servo-assisted brakes helped keep the vehicle in the drivers control. There was a four-speed manual gearbox with a single-plate dry clutch and semi-elliptical springs on all four corners.
The launch of the Bentley 8-Liter coincided with the onset of the Great Depression. As a result, the small pool of wealthy individuals who could afford one of these machines, dwindled. Competition between marques became even more fierce, as prices dropped and more amenities and accessories were offered in an attempt to lure buyers. This model was financially devastating to Bentley. Bentley's principal backer at the time, Woolf Barnato, was enduring financial difficulty during this sad time in history. As a result, he severed his financial support with Bentley.
Production of the 8-Liter Bentley reached 100 units before production ceased. Rolls-Royce took the opportunity to rescue the struggling company and brought it under its financial protection. This move by Rolls-Royce, also ensured that the marque would never again offer competition to its luxury brand. The Bentley line was modified and acted as the entry-level cars in the luxury department.
Most of the Bentley 8-Liter cars were given limousine or four-door saloon coachwork. A few were outfitted with sporty coachwork. Most were in closed configuration with fewer than 25% outfitted with open bodies. The list of coachbuilders included Vanden Plas, Kellner, Thrupp and Maberly, Arthur Mulliner, Gurney Nutting, Park Ward, Freestone & Webb, Letourner et Marchand, Binder and Walter J. Murphy. By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2007
This 1932 Bentley 8-Liter Short Chassis Fixed Head Coupe with coachwork by The Mayfair Carriage Company, Ltd., was offered for sale at the 2007 RM Auctions held in Amelia Island, Florida. The car was estimated to sell for $1,000,000 - $1,300,000. T....[continue reading]
When World War I came to a close, W.O. Bentley began work on designing a new engine. With the help of F.T. Burgess from Humber and Harry Varley from Vauxhaull, the work was complete and all the parts were manufactured by September of 1919. Nobby Clar....[continue reading]
This Bentley Tourer is the eighth from the last 8-Litre built, and one of just 35 on the 12-foot 'Short Chassis.' The car was built late in the production run, and remained at the Bentley Works, finished except for its coachwork, when Bentley Motors ....[continue reading]
Debuted at the 1930 London Motor Show, the first 8 Litre Bentley was the largest-engined car available in the United Kingdom at that time. The bare chassis alone cost £1850, which put it in direct competition with the Rolls-Royce Phantom II. The 8 Li....[continue reading]
Short Wheelbase Fixed Head Coupe by Mayfair Carriage Company Ltd.
Concours of Elegance 2019 will celebrate Bentleys Centenary in style, with a collection of the cars that established the Bentley legend
Bentleys reputation for racing excellence is exemplified by a display of the first Bentley to race at Le Mans,...
Bentley celebrates its Centenary in 2019
World-famous Mille Miglia thousand-mile race first ran in 1927
Bentley Blower was due to become first British car to compete in 1930
2019 marks 89 years since Birkin and Barnatos aborted attempt
Racers past and present come together to mark extraordinary year of motorsport
2015 saw Continental GT3 win two major international GT championship titles
This year marks the 85th anniversary of the famous 1930 Le Mans win
Cars met at the British...
Remembered as one of the most influential of the famous Bentley Boys, Henry Tim Birkin was anything but a mere member of Britains upper crust. Head-strong, courageous and unyielding, Birkin would often be challenged to mix it up with the aces...
Famous heritage models hit international classic show circuit
95 years of history to tour from Goodwood to Pebble Beach
85th anniversary of Blue Train race and 1930 Le Mans win
(Crewe, 21 May 2015) Legendary cars from Bentleys past are...