According to Bentley, the V8, also known as the L-Series was first birthed in 1959 and sat happily in the engine bay of more than 36,000 Bentleys and Rolls-Royces until it was finally given a farewell in 2020. To put that into perspective, the L-Series engine saw 13 different Prime Ministers take office in its native United Kingdom. That’s an incredibly long time for any specific automotive component and positively ancient for an engine that was going into cars built in the 21st century.
The engine started life with a displacement of 6.2 liters and first saw action with the Bentley S2. In that iteration, the V8 made 180 horsepower and the car itself had power windows, air conditioning, and power steering. Those are standard features now on just about any car, but over 60 years ago, driving the Bentley S2 was like piloting the space shuttle. 1971 saw the displacement increase to 6.75 liters. Eventually, in the 1980s, it was given two turbochargers and a few quality-of-life improvements to make the engine pass emissions and safety regulations. During this time, the engine was equipped with modern technology like electronic fuel injection (via Bentley)
That twin-turbo setup, along with even more updates, gave the engine insane amounts of torque, to the tune of over 800 foot-pounds when the 2010s rolled around, according to the automaker.