During Bentley’s Cricklewood era, their cars were often associated with sports cars and high-speed touring vehicles. However, it’s important to note that W.O. Bentley also made a significant effort to cater to the luxury carriage trade with his larger models, such as the 4½-Litre, 6½-Litre, and 8-Litre. In 1931, Napier attempted to acquire Bentley, but Rolls-Royce thwarted their bid, recognizing Bentley’s potential as a strong competitor if revitalized.
By the time of Bentley’s financial troubles, only 100 units of the 8-Litre model had been produced. Priced at £1,850, it directly competed with the Rolls-Royce Phantom II but offered superior performance. Introduced at the 1930 London Motor Show, the 8-Litre was the UK’s largest-engined car, and it lived up to its advertising claim of “100mph without noise.”
The 8-Litre was an evolution in Bentley’s Vintage-era lineup, combining proven features from the 6½-Litre with the latest engineering advancements. The engine was enlarged by increasing the bore size from 100 to 110mm. The gearbox, referred to as the ‘F-type,’ was radically different from its predecessors, designed to handle the increased power and torque while prioritizing quiet operation.
The chassis frame was entirely new, employing a ‘double drop’ design to lower the car’s height and center of gravity. This design also necessitated a hypoid-bevel rear axle. A stronger frame with seven tubular cross members provided improved stability for a large, heavy vehicle capable of high speeds. The 8-Litre featured enhanced suspension, steering, and braking systems, making it a remarkable achievement in the world of luxury automobiles.