Bentley Mulsanne production is coming to an end. The British company has decided the Flying Spur is so good, its big brother is now a little redundant. But the curtain isn’t only drawing on Crewe’s biggest, fanciest saloon - it’s also the final chapter in the 61-year story of its 6.75-litre V8.
The world’s longest-serving V8 no longer has an engine bay to occupy, and the last one was assembled by hand earlier this week by a team of seven with 105 years of experience between them. It’s destined for the Mulsanne 6.75 Edition run-out special, which the eight-cylinder engine will gift 530bhp and 811lb ft of torque.
The first example of this ‘L-Series’ V8, used in the 1959 S2, wasn’t quite as potent. It developed a much more modest 180bhp, although that crept up over the decades. Displacement was bumped from 6.25 to 6.75 litre in 1971, and the V8 would later gain one turbo, and more recently a twin-snail setup.
Its last major update came in 2010 to coincide with the launch of the Mulsanne. It received new pistons, con-rods, cylinder heads and a redesigned crank. To bring it firmly up to date, cylinder deactivation was introduced, making the fuel consumption slightly less alarming.
In the six-decade-long production span, Crewe has built 36,000 of the things (not 61,000, as we previously and incorrectly stated). Despite its loss, Bentley does still have a V8 on its roster, in the form a 4.0-litre Audi/Porsche developed twin-turbo unit borrowed from parent company VW Group.
Engine production will be continuing at the Crewe plant too, as Bentley - now the most prolific user of the unusual powerplant - currently builds W12s for both itself and up until recently the rest of the Group.