This 96-Year-Old Bentley Engine Was Brought Back To Thundering Life After a Painstaking 700-Hour Restoration
Engine No.212 was built by Bentley in 1923, just four years after the company was founded. The 3.0-liter four-cylinder motor was paired with chassis No. 209 and, as was the practice in those days, it was sent off to a coachbuilder for its bespoke bodywork to be fitted.
The details of the engine’s early years have been lost to the passage of time but what is known is that it was eventually passed on to the Royal Artillery Corps School in Bovington, Dorset, where it was used from 1935 onwards as a training aid to teach students about the inner workings of the internal combustion engine.
It remained with the Corps until 2011 when it finally made its way back to Bentley. Then in 2018—having been in storage for seven years—it was decided that Engine No.212 would once again be used as a teaching tool, this time for apprentices at Bentley HQ in Crewe.
An exhaustive 700-hour restoration got underway with the engine being stripped to single components and every part cleaned and electronically logged for easier reassembly. A special plinth was built on which to display the engine and it was restored to the colors used by the Royal Artillery Corps School in recognition of that part of the engine’s history.
Amy Denton, an advanced paint apprentice at Bentley Motors, said, “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.”
Having completed the restoration in Bentley’s centenary year, the engine was displayed next to a current-generation W12 engine at the celebrations in Crewe, a fitting homage to the technological achievements of the marque’s past and interesting comparison to how far it has come in the last 100 years.
Images courtesy of Bentley Motors