Bentley 8 Litre Tourer
dates : 4th July 2004
8th July 2004
the most astonishing aspect of the 1931 Bentley 8-Litre is its
size. It dwarfs even the modern Bentley Arnage T. And this is
despite the fact that this particular Bentley has had an open
sporting body fitted.
This is the largest and the last of the classic Bentleys built
before the Rolls Royce takeover of the company in 1931.
Walter Owen Bentley began building his famous sporting luxury
cars in 1919.
The sequence of early Bentley models is quite easy to follow,
starting with a three-litre four cylinder, a four-and-a-half-litre
four-cylinder engine, then a six and a half litre six
cylinder, and finally the eight-litre six cylinder models.
A series of Le Mans victories in the nineteen twenties will
forever immortalise the Bentley name. But it was as a luxury
carmaker that Bentley was beginning to threaten Rolls Royce.
Thus when the depression economy bit, Rolls Royce made a
timeous takeover. And thereafter Bentleys were considered as
badge-engineered Rolls Royces, right up until a few years ago
when the companies were again separated.
This eight-litre was originally built in 1931 with a massive
seven-seater body. But a number of years ago it was re-bodied
with the famous Le Mans replica sports car bodywork by a
specialist firm in England.
The dull green is the original British Racing Green in which
the great cars raced at places like Le Mans and the old
In fact the eight-litre Bentley in saloon form was the first
closed body saloon to lap the track in one hundred miles per
hour, a speed today equivalent to just over one-sixty
kilometres per hour.
Each and every Bentley that left the factory was guaranteed to
do 100 miles per hour no matter what sort of bodywork it has.
This car was endowed with two hundred and fifty horsepower
back in 1931. That's one hundred and eighty six kilowatts in
today's terms, a respectable output for many modern cars.
The big eight-litre motor is in straight six configuration,
hence the massive length of the car's nose. It revs to just
three thousand five hundred rpm and the torque is massive .
Other interesting details include a four-speed gearbox, leaf
springs front and rear, and mechanic drum brakes.
The spoked wheels are 21 inches in diameter and the car has
infinitely adjustable damping.
This particular car has covered massive distances throughout
South Africa and a trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town is
considered a "little jaunt" for the Eight-Litre.
Even in their heydays Bentley's were considered preposterously
large for racing.
It is no wonder that the French master race-car-builder Etorre
Bugatti, referred to the cars as "Mr Bentley's flying
Car Torque is