What a neat project to show the company's restoration prowess.
The Bentley Mulsanne has one of the oldest engines of any production car on the market. It features a six and three-quarter-liter twin-turbocharged V8 from Rolls-Royce-Bentley's L Series, which can trace its production roots back to 1959. This engine may date back over half a century but it has been updated heavily over the years and currently produces 530 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque in the Mulsanne Speed.
The L Series is a modern relic and Bentley has plenty of other engines from its history that are worth remembering. To show off the prowess of its apprentices in Crewe, England, Bentley has decided to lovingly restore Engine Number 212, which was originally built nearly 100 years ago back in 1923.
Engine 212 was built just four years after W.O. Bentley established his namesake car company. As part of the detailed, 700-hour long restoration, the 3.0-liter four-cylinder engine was stripped down to single components. Once completed, the engine was mounted on a purpose-built base for a centenary exhibition at Bentley's Crewe headquarters. We hope the engine is eventually reused in a restored Bentley but we can respect the company's desire to display the engine on its own for now.
"Everybody involved in the restoration felt privileged to be presented with an opportunity to work with such an important piece of history. It allowed us to develop new skills and techniques which will help in our future careers," said Amy Denton, an advanced paint apprentice at Bentley Motors.
Bentley currently offers a range of three- to four-year apprenticeship programs in areas such as engineering, sales & marketing, HR, and Purchasing & Finance.
Engine 212 was originally paired with Bentley chassis 209 and was then passed on to an unknown coachbuilder, who applied the body (as was common at the time). It isn't known who drove the car during the 1920s but the engine eventually found its way to the Royal Artillery Corps School in Bovington, Dorset, where from 1935 onwards, it was used as a training aid to teach students how to work on internal combustion engines. Bentley bought back the engine in 2011 and kept in storage until the restoration process was planned as part of the company's 100-year anniversary celebration.
During the restoration process, Bentley even decided to paint the engine with the school's colors to recognize that part of its history. "We completed the assembly on time and transported it to the centenary event in Crewe where it was displayed next to a current W12 engine, clearly showing how far Bentley's superlative engines have advanced over the last 100 years," Denton added.