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Bentley’s dozen – Part one

4 weeks ago

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Writer:

Dr Ulrich Eichhorn | Engineer

Date:

26 June 2024

Next month marks the production of the final Bentley W12. Over a period of 21 years, this engine played an integral and essential part in the transformation of the company from an old English cottage industry to the hugely successful, profitable and internationally regarded automotive powerhouse that it is today. Fittingly, the last W12 will be built in Crewe, the home of Bentley.

When I took over as Board Member for Engineering of Bentley Motors, many things were new for me but some were familiar – including this unique 12-cylinder engine.

Just before joining Volkswagen as head of Research in 2000, I’d been invited as a guest to the Forschungsfahrt – the annual presentation of research results to the group’s technical management. At dawn Helmut-Rudolph Strozyk – Volkswagen performance veteran, my future head of Motorsports and Special Projects and later head of Volkswagen Motorsport and architect of VW’s Dakar programme – picked me up from VW’s top-management guesthouse in an inconspicuous, somewhat used-looking Audi A8.

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