2001-2002 Bentley EXP Speed 8

Images courtesy and copyright Craig Scarborough
Text copyright Craig Scarborough

The long raised nose is the impact structure, this is mounted via 4 bobbins to the front of the chassis the upper face is part of the aerodynamic shape of the car, this requires a small panel to be attached over the access hatch for the brake fluid reservoirs, which are very large and fabricated in Alloy.  The actual monocoque then begins, again the upper and raised lower surfaces form part of the shape of the bodywork, the recesses either side of the monocoque mount the pushrods and torsions bars.  In order to package the suspension on the tight space available, Bentley have opted for torsion bars to “spring” the front suspension.  Unusually the torsion bars are mounted over the bell cranks which operate the horizontal dampers via the inclined pushrod mounted to the lower wishbone.  The Dampers fit through an aperture on the side of the monocoque and both mount to a common alloy fixing in the middle of the scuttle, this is accessed via a small cut out in the scuttle. The extensions of the torsion bars feature a right angled extension which passes inside the monocoque to an undisclosed type of Antiroll bar.  The upper and lower wishbones are conventional and mount via rod end bearings to Alloy clevises fastened to the chassis.  The lower wishbones mount in the middle of the monocoque under the raised area.  The upper wishbone have later (not in this image) featured an anti-intrusion bar across the wishbones inboard legs.  The steering rack is installed inline and forward of the upper wishbone.  The scuttle also has a small NACA duct to feed cooling air into the cabin, inside the mouth of the duct the shaft to operated the windscreen wiper can be seen

The monocoque remains at the quite narrow minimum size through out the length where the wishbones mount, from there backwards the shape flares out more to reach around the cabin area.  The structural part of the monocoque does not form any part of the sidepods which are bolted to the monocoque. 
Under the raised nose of the car is the front diffuser, the leading edge is formed by the nose bodywork and continues as a separate piece of bodywork mounted to the monocoque, this part can be clearly seen below the brake ducts (and their convoluted ducting pipes) and features two fences each side to direct the airflow toward the outlets behind the front wheels.  In frontal view the top of this diffuser is not horizontal but sweeps down from the centre.  In this image just beneath and behind front edge of the diffuser the regulation flat bottom starts, this forms a splitter to separate the flow of air over and under the floor.  The squar’ish ducts either side of the windscreen feed air into the water radiators, from the air flowing either side of the nose.  Beneath these the underside of the monocoque and the sidepods are shaped to direct the remaining flow out behind the front wheels. 

The cabin is formed by the “roof” of the monocoque, which is formed homogenously with the rest of the monocoque, the “roof” incorporates a composite rollover structure and the aerodynamic shape of the roof.  The permanent, structural shape of the roof actually creates two humps above the drivers and passengers heads (see the bare monocoque image), the roof scoop to feed the turbos is a secondary piece of bodywork.  The glass laminated windscreen curves tightly around the cabin and despite the coloured “sunshield” strip is as high as the scoop and reaches around as far as the door openings.

The bare moulding of the monocoque belies the aerodynamic shape of the nose area of the car.  The floor is raised well clear of the ground and is heavily shaped underneath, forming a spine to mount the lower wishbones and is swept outwards to wards the rear to feed the outlets behind the front wheels.  Bonded in at the moulding stage are various fixings for suspension and bodywork mounts.  The front bulkhead has one large aperture to allow access to the steering track, Antiroll bar and pedals and small aperture to the right for a multi-pin connector to provide power to the front headlights.  The roof is recessed in the middle to allow for a lower larger scoop to feed the turbo compressors.  Bentley have decided to use a roof scoop over periscope type scoops in the sidepod tops, as the roof scoop is very high and forward it should not interfere with the flow to the rear wing.   The rear bulkhead of the monocoque forms the firewall between the cabin and engine bay, it has small “window” cut out, this is blanked off when the car is assembled and affords the driver no rear view, the window is used to route wiring for the Management and data logging systems mounted in the passenger space in the cockpit.  To the side and not visible in this image is the door apertures these are quite large square openings and are as low as the upper wishbone mounts.

©Copyright 2001, Michael J. Fuller