As the 1960s approached, Rolls-Royce faced rising competition from faster rivals and the need to modernize its aging six-cylinder engine. In response, Rolls-Royce turned to V8 power. This move was influenced by the V8’s prominence in the crucial American market, where they looked to American manufacturers like Chrysler and Cadillac for inspiration.
In 1962, the upgraded V8 engine made its debut in the Bentley S3 and its Rolls-Royce counterpart, the Silver Cloud III. The enhancements included larger carburettors, a new distributor, and increased compression ratio. The S3/Cloud III models underwent numerous changes, such as adopting a distinctive four-headlamp lighting setup, removing sidelights from the wing tops, and lowering the radiator shell slightly. Inside, these models featured improved seating arrangements with separate front seats and more spacious rear passenger accommodations.
The S3, the last Bentley to utilize a separate chassis, remained in production until it was succeeded by the unitary construction T-Series in late 1965. By that time, 1,286 S3 cars had been produced, compared to 2,556 of the equivalent Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III models.