Time to blow out some candles - preferably with the exhaust pipes of a V8. Bentley’s legendary eight-cylinder engine - the longest-serving V8 ever - has just turned 60.
It first appeared in the Bentley S2, displacing 6.2 litres and developing 160bhp. Since then, it’s powered a total of 23 Bentley models, has grown to 6.75-litre and sprouted a couple of turbochargers.
It’s come a long way from its origins, now pumping out 530bhp and 810lb ft of torque in the Mulsanne Speed. Figures you might describe as ‘sufficient’.
The increase to the famous 6.75-litre displacement happened way back in 1971, while the switch to turbo power occurred in 1980 for the first Mulsanne. The addition of a single turbocharger marked the first time Bentley had dabbled with forced induction since the glory days of the Tim Birkin Blower Bentleys in the 1920s.
The engine is still built at the Bentley factory in Crewe, with each one signed off on a little plaque that sits in the engine bay.
It’s hard to know how much more life the V8 has left in it - with emissions regulations getting ever tighter, it may only be around for a few more years. It doesn’t help that the Mulsanne’s stablemates use a much more compact 4.0-litre V8 sourced from parent company VW Group, which revs higher and is actually a smidge more powerful.
But is the V8 powering the likes of the Continental and Flying Spur as classy as its elder? Hell no.
Many happy returns, Bentley V8.