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Bentley's Great Eight [Hardcover]

Karl Ludvigson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 Aug 2010
This book by prize-winning author Karl Ludvigsen offers auto enthusiasts a time-travelling adventure in its description of the evolution of the V-8 engine. It begins more than a century ago when Rolls-Royce built one of the world's first V-8 engines. The saga races through decades of engineering experiment and creativity as Bentley, famed for its racing exploits at Le Mans, exploited the exotic potential of supercharging. When the fortunes of Rolls-Royce and Bentley combined in the 1950s, both needed a new engine, and hitherto-secret reports and exclusive interviews take the reader behind the scenes of the new V-8's creation. Further evolution came with Bentley's need for a sporting engine, leading to the development of turbo-supercharging and the introduction of the 300-horsepower Mulsanne Turbo in 1982, the first big high-performance saloon. Here too the reader rides with the engineers as they make this significant advance in car design. At the end of the twentieth century, after a tug-of-war with BMW, Bentley found itself part of the Volkswagen Group, and the resources of its new owner helped bring Bentley's new Great Eight to heights of performance and perfection. Lavishly illustrated, the book portrays some of the world's greatest cars from the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and Corniche to Bentley's Continental, Azure, Arnage, Brooklands and Mulsanne. It introduces the reader to the engineers and executives whose enthusiasm for the V-8 engine has not only prolonged the half-century lifetime of one of the world's most accomplished engines but also endowed it with the advanced technologies of the twenty-first century. Bringing its unique perspective to the world of the automobile, Bentley's Great Eight will appeal to all lovers of the history of technology.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Dalton Watson Fine Books; First Edition edition (1 Aug 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854432419
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854432414
  • Product Dimensions: 26.4 x 26.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 85,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In addition to his motor industry activities as an executive (with GM, Fiat and Ford) and head of a consulting company, Karl Ludvigsen has been active for over 50 years as an author and historian. As an author, co-author or editor he has nearly 50 books to his credit. Needless to say, they are all about cars and the motor industry, Karl's life-long passion.

Since 1997 Ludvigsen has been drawing on the photographic resources of the Ludvigsen Library to write and illustrate books on the great racing drivers. His first title in this series was Stirling Moss - Racing with the Maestro. He followed this with Jackie Stewart - Triple-Crowned King of Speed and Juan Manuel Fangio - Motor Racing's Grand Master. Fourth in this series for Haynes Publishing was Dan Gurney - The Ultimate Racer and fifth was Alberto Ascari - Ferrari's First Double Champion. Next came Bruce McLaren - Life and Legend of Excellence and Emerson Fittipaldi -- Heart of a Racer.

Also in the field of motor sports Karl Ludvigsen has written about road racing in America, the cars of the Can-Am series, the AAR Eagle racing cars, the GT40 Fords and Prime Movers, the story of Britain's Ilmor Engineering. His introduction to At Speed, a book of Jesse Alexander's racing photography, won the Ken W. Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism.

Other motors-sports titles include Classic Grand Prix Cars, a history of the front-engined G.P. racer, and Classic Racing Engines, Karl's personal selection of 50 notable power units. Ludvigsen has written the story of BRM's ill-fated Formula 1 V16 and the saga of the great 200 horsepower Benz racers, two of which were nicknamed "Blitzen Benz".

Four of Karl Ludvigsen's books concern the Chevrolet Corvette, one of them an industry best-seller. He has written three times about Mercedes-Benz, twice about its racing cars. His books on the latter subject have won the Montagu Trophy (once) and the Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot Award (twice), both recognising outstanding automotive historical writing.

In 2001 Karl again received the Cugnot award from the Society of Automotive Historians for his book about the early years of the Volkswagen and its controversial factory, Battle for the Beetle, a Robert Bentley publication. In 2002 the Society gave him its highest accolade, Friend of Automotive History.

Karl Ludvigsen is also the author of the definitive histories of Porsche and Opel. His Porsche history, Excellence was Expected, is considered by many to be a model of the researching and writing of the history of an auto company. He has updated it in three volumes for Bentley Publishers for the new Millennium. A further update was published in 2009, bringing its content to one million words.

At the request of Ernst Piëch, a grandson of Ferdinand Porsche, Ludvigsen has researched the early life and work of that great engineer. The result, a book titled Porsche -- Genesis of Genius, is published by Bentley in 2008. It has won both the Montagu Trophy and the Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot Award. An accompanying book, titled Sublime Creations, describes cars in Mr. Piëch's personal collection.

In 1997 Ludvigsen researched and wrote the catalogue for a special exhibition of Ferrari technological innovations on the occasion of the company's 50th anniversary and contributed a major section to the company's official 50-year history. For Ferrari's 60th anniversary he was commissioned by them to research and write a major over-arching history of Ferrari's technical innovations.

Ludvigsen's understanding of the Ferrari world combined with his Library's holding of the Rodolfo Mailander photo archive to produce Ferrari by Mailander in 2005, a Dalton Watson publication. Its launch was accompanied by major exhibitions in Turin and Pebble Beach of selected photos from the book. In 2010 Dalton Watson published Karl's book about the genesis and evolution of the great Rolls-Royce/Bentley V8 engine.

The year 2008 saw the publication by Haynes of a history of the battles between Ferrari and Maserati from the 1940s to the 1960s, titled Red-Hot Rivals. Ludvigsen is also the author of a series of monographs on great Maserati cars. In 2010 Haynes published his book about the life and work of famed Lotus creator Colin Chapman.

In co-operation with publisher Iconografix, Ludvigsen has established the Ludvigsen Library Series of 128-page books drawing on the holdings of the Ludvigsen Library. The series now numbers 19 titles, including books on Indy racing cars of 1911 to 1939, the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, the Indy Novis, Chevrolet's Corvair and Corvette, Jaguar XK120, XK140 and XK150, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL of 1952 and 1954-1964, the 300SLR of 1955, two books on Porsche Spyders, the Porsche 917, the Ferrari factory and American sports-racers: the Cunninghams, Chaparrals and Can-Am racing cars. More titles are in preparation.

Karl's Ludvigsen Library is also active in the provision of photographs and research material for authors, publishers of books and periodicals, and collectors and enthusiasts. It holds extensive original negatives and transparencies from the 1950s forward with special strengths in motor sports, American cars and sports cars. As well it holds original photos and glass negatives from the dawn of the automotive era. The Library website is www.ludvigsen.com.

On motor-industry topics Karl Ludvigsen has written books about high-performance engines, the Wankel rotary engine and the histories of American auto makers. His latest book on power units is The V12 Engine, published by Haynes in 2005. He was editor of The Future of the Automobile, the report of the 1981-1984 study of the world auto industry by M.I.T. This was named one of the best business books of the year by Business Week.

In 1996 publishers in Britain and the United States launched Karl Ludvigsen's book on motor industry management, Creating the Customer-Driven Car Company. It draws on his industry experience and in-depth research to advise industry personnel on customer-pleasing best practice.

From 1989 to 1998 Karl Ludvigsen edited and contributed to numerous studies published by Euromotor Reports Limited, a leading researcher of special reports and studies about the European motor industry and market. Resident in England since 1980, Mr Ludvigsen is respected as a close and knowledgeable observer of, and participant in, the world motor industry.

Leading periodicals also publish Karl Ludvigsen's writings. He is a former technical editor of Sports Cars Illustrated (1956-57), editor of Car and Driver (1960-1962) and east coast editor of Motor Trend (1970s). His articles about cars, companies and motoring personalities are published in America by Automobile Quarterly, among others, while in Europe he writes frequently for The Automobile. He is a regular writer and columnist for Hemmings Sports & Exotic Cars, 911 & Porsche World and Just-Auto.com.

Karl Ludvigsen's personal website is www.karlludvigsen.com.


Product Description

About the Author

Karl Ludvigsen has been active for over fifty years as a motoring historian. As author, co-author or editor, he has more than four dozen books to his credit. A former editor of Car and Driver, Ludvigsen has worked at senior levels for GM, Fiat and Ford, and was the head of a leading motor industry management consultancy. His Ludvigsen Library is a world-renowned source of car and racing photography and information

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, informative 16 Oct 2010
By Ro Yo
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Karl Ludvigson has managed to put together a very comprehensive history of this engine and at the same time produce a fascinating and readable text.

He has obviously had access to historical company files and has included many of his own photographs showing stages of production.

Despite the title this is, of course, the history of a Rolls-Royce engine. VW, with their astonishing competence in engine design, have rescued it, brought it up to date and maintained the essential character of the Bentley cars as a result.

The present incarnation of the engine has virtually no parts in common with the original designs. After 50 years of production it is the equivalent of a 1980's Beetle compared with the 1930's design!

The irony of an engine produced in Crewe's Merlin factory being rescued by VW is not missed. Well done Ludvigsen, VW, Bentley and Rolls-Royce.
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