The more than 60-year saga of one of history’s greatest V8 engines has officially come to an end this week. The final example of the iconic Bentley 6.75-litre V8 engine – the longest serving V8 design in continuous production – was assembled at the brand’s Crewe factory on June 1.
The last engine will power the thirtieth and final Mulsanne 6.75 Edition by Mulliner, an exclusive series that closes production of the flagship Mulsanne saloon. This bespoke series celebrates the life of its iconic engine with several V8-inspired details including badging, blueprint graphics and even ventilation “organ stops” featuring a miniature version of the oil cap.
Originally designed by a team of engineers in the 1950s (when Rolls-Royce and Bentley were brands under the same company), the L-Series V8 first saw service in a Bentley in the 1959 Bentley S2 – developing around 180 bhp, deemed “adequate” at the time. In production for more than 60 years, the L-Series V8 has the same configuration and bore spacing as the very first version from 1959.
Developing 530 bhp for the Mulsanne Speed, the low-revving engine delivers a whopping 1,100 Nm of torque. Every one of the 36,000 L-Series engines built over the last 60 years has been created by hand in the engine workshops of the brand’s Crewe headquarters. Once completed, and after thorough testing, the engine is signed off by one of Bentley’s engine specialists, as it has been for decades – with a plate denoting their signature affixed to the front of the engine.
Bentley’s Member of the Board for Manufacturing, Peter Bosch, comments: “Our venerable 6¾-litre V8 has powered the flagship Bentley for more than six decades, and so has earned its retirement. 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 of course our efficient V6 Hybrid - the start of our journey to electrification.”
With the Mulsanne completing production once the thirty 6.75 Edition cars are built, the all-new Flying Spur will become Bentley’s flagship model. With the Flying Spur set to receive a hybrid powertrain by 2023, the move also symbolises Bentley’s transition to sustainable mobility and electrification.