Large, Powerful, and Fast: Bentley’s Greatest Achievement

Motorious
·2 min read

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This is an excellent pre-war example!

In the aftermath of WWI, Walter Owen Bentley set out to create the British luxury car company Bentley. Eventually, he set his efforts on the goal of producing a luxury tourer capable of seating eight while reaching speeds in excess of 100-mph. This goal was accomplished in 1931 with the Bentley 8 Litre Mulliner. Unfortunately, this was the same year that he sold the company to Rolls-Royce and, related or not, only 100 of these iconic cars were produced.

With Subtle exterior styling, it is speculated that the Mulliner design was intended to blend in with the traffic common during the Great Depression. However, under closer inspection it is clear this is no ordinary car. The interior is luxurious, with down-filled leather upholstery and wood trim with a high gloss finish. The car gets its name from the massive 8-liter in-line six cylinder engine that is incredibly over engineered. The engine is backed by a 4-speed transmission, which was another unique part considering most of the other cars from the era only had two or three-speed transmissions.

Jay Leno found his Mulliner 8 Litre in Chile where it had been the ambassador’s car and was being used as a chicken coop. It was then completely restored using its original radiator, engine, and transmission. Leno did add a modern oil filter system and a modern balanced driveshaft to the car. The 8 Liter was obviously developed to be able to drive 75-80-mph across Europe. A feat that it is still capable of today, as Leno claims to drive the car on the 405 freeway in California on a regular basis. What a sight that would be! This incredible piece of nearly 100-year old machinery keeping up with modern traffic with the Jay Leno behind the wheel.

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