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Thursday, August 06, 2009

Bentley: The British braveheart

Nice editorial here on the history of Bentley.
et us dive briefly into the design details of the first Bentleys. The chassis was conventional, with half-elliptic springs, brakeless front axle, live rear axle and separate gearbox. The engine was quite revolutionary, with a non-detachable cylinder head, four valves and two spark plugs per cylinder, and an overhead camshaft driven by a series of bevel gears at the front of the engine. W.O. kept to this essential engine format for nearly all his engines, only replacing the gear train with a clever three-throw drive for the camshaft on his straight-six 6½ Litre and 8 Litre models. Only the ill-fated 4 Litre engine, designed in the dying days of the business in 1931, had a detachable head and pushrod-driven camshaft.

To publicize his cars, W.O. made an early, and rather smart, decision to enter them in international races. The Bentley race program began in 1922 when W.O. entered a team of three 3 Litre racers in the Tourist Trophy on the Isle of Man and a fourth car in the 1922 Indianapolis 500. He then went on to race a team in 1923 in the Georges Boillot Cup in France, and he entered many events at the Brooklands Racetrack, sometimes driving himself. But it was at Le Mans that Bentley became a legend.

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Source: MSN Autos


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