Leicestershire-based Flying Spares, the world’s largest independent supplier of Rolls-Royce and Bentley parts, is celebrating the successful completion of its “toughest ever” reconditioning project – rebuilding an RS60 V8 for a rare Bentley Brooklands Coupé owned, they later found out, by a member of the Bahrain royal family.
When new, the twin-turbocharged engine delivered an impressive 530Hp and 1,050Nm of torque, a record for a production petrol V8, which famously led to Jeremy Clarkson shredding a tyre while testing a similar model on Top Gear. However, when Flying Spares answered a call from a Bentley dealer in Bahrain, it soon became apparent that this RS60 was in a very sorry state. So bad, the dealer said, that Bentley themselves considered it beyond repair.
Flying Spares’ Technical Services Division (TSD) manager, Andy Thwaites, explained: “We like a challenge, so we said we’d take a look. Some weeks later a stack of boxes arrived at our workshop in Market Bosworth. They contained not only the engine but the gearbox, turbos, wiring loom and all kinds of ancillaries. It was a high tech jigsaw puzzle, but we soon pieced it together and identified the fault. The camshaft follower (a hydraulic tappet) was shattered, so it had rotated around the cam causing extensive damage. The whole engine had to be stripped down.
“The main block we sent away to be repaired and line bored, but everything else was done in-house. Our Head of Quality Control, Malcolm Crane, and metallurgist John Smith, sadly no longer with us, manufactured a new tappet block entirely from scratch. When all the parts were ready, triple checked and measured, we reassembled the engine exactly to Bentley’s specification, testing literally hundreds of tolerances.
“Then came the moment of truth. We bolted on the necessary components and to our great relief it worked perfectly, with good oil pressure and compressions. The next question was how best to transport it. In the end, we constructed a wooden crate specifically for the engine, to protect it on its 3,000 mile journey back to Bahrain. There, a Bentley-trained technician reunited the car with its engine. It was only then he told us the owner was a senior royal!
“It was an incredibly intricate build, certainly the toughest recon project I’ve ever worked on. It’s fair to say that not many workshops in the world have the tools and technical expertise to complete such a challenge, so I’m incredibly proud of the team. It’s a great achievement and another happy Flying Spares customer.”