History of the brand Bentley

History of the brand Bentley

Bentley Motors Ltd. – British manufacturer of premium cars, headquartered in Crewe. It is part of the German auto concern Volkswagen Group.

The company was founded on January 18, 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley. He had been interested in mechanisms since childhood, and for 16 years already worked as an assistant at a locomotive factory in Doncaster. Then he studied engineering theory at King’s College, London. In addition to trains and the railway, he was passionately carried away by motorcycles and cars, so he took part in motorcycle races and rallies for long distances.

1919 Walter Owen Bentley

Walter, along with his brother Horace Milner Bentley, saw prospects in the automotive business. They started by becoming the managers of the Unic taxi fleet in London. After that, they sold French DPF cars, opening Bentley & Bentley in the UK capital. To increase sales, Bentley exhibited DPF cars to participate in competitions, considering this to be the most effective marketing tool.

In 1913, in order to increase the speed, Walter remakes the engine of the French brand, using the pistons of his own design of aluminium. This was a real breakthrough in the design of motors. Especially it was necessary by the way during the First World War, when aviation needed light power units. In addition, Bentley worked on improving the reliability of rotary engines, and also designed two new aircraft engines – Bentley Rotary 1 and 2. Successful technical findings made the company a name, and also brought money for further projects.

After the war, the Bentley brothers decide to start producing their own cars. In 1919, the first Bentley 3-liter model appeared. She received a four-cylinder engine with a capacity of 65 litres. from. with four valves and two candles per cylinder, as well as an overhead camshaft. The model was presented at the London auto show, where it aroused keen interest from the public.

Despite the high cost of 1,050 pounds sterling, the company immediately received orders for the car, but it did not go on sale immediately, but only in 1921. Prior to this, a team of engineers and testers ran and perfected prototypes. Serial copies were not only innovative from a technical point of view, but also reliable. The firm gave a five-year guarantee on them. At the same time the body was made in specialized ateliers.

Bentley 3-liter (1921-1929)

bentley 3L

Cars designed for wealthy buyers, did not bring the company a huge profit, so she was in shaky financial position. The company was saved by participating in races, bringing not only fame, but also loyal enthusiastic racers who formed a cohort of Bentley boys.

Prosperous British, who participated in races on Bentley cars, brought the brand a great victory: in Brooklands (1921), a record speed of 139.67 km / h (1922), in the rally Le Mans (1924). One of the Bentley boys, Wolf Barnato, saved the company from bankruptcy in 1926 and became its chairman, holding the post until 1931. However, the state of the economy was deteriorating, and the demand for expensive cars was falling. By 1931 it became obvious that the brand would not be able to preserve its independence. She was bought by Rolls-Royce. In 1935, Walter Owen Bentley left the company.

The release of the original Bentley 3-liter was followed by the release of a larger 4.5-liter model, which received a more massive body, and later a 6.5-liter version appeared. The model with a 4.5-liter engine later became known as James Bond’s choice in the original novels.

Previously, the Bentley trademark was not registered, and as soon as the company became the property of Rolls-Royce, the parent company hurried to correct this defect. The factory in Cricklewood was closed and then sold. Until 2004, all the cars of the brand were built using the chassis and engines of Rolls-Royce.

In 1933, a new Bentley 3.5-liter appeared. It was a sports version of the Rolls-Royce 20/25. He disappointed some clients, others were received with interest. The car retained the characteristic curved shape of the radiator, known from early models, but in all significant technical parameters the name Rolls-Royce was guessed. The engine power was 110 hp. at 4500 rpm, which allowed the car to reach up to 145 km / h.

Bentley 3,5-liter (1933-1939)

bentley 3.5L

In 1938, the British government bought out for Rolls-Royce territory on the west side of Crewe. This was necessary for the organization of production in anticipation of war. After its completion, assembly of cars was moved here.

In the first post-war years, premium car manufacturers such as Bentley and Rolls-Royce did not produce finished cars. They sold mostly chassis. The car buyers chose at their own discretion in the specialized car dealerships.

However, the company continued to develop the development, the result of which was the creation of a steel body. The first model to receive it was the Bentley Mark VI. It was also the first car completely assembled at the carmaker’s plant.

The car was equipped with a six-cylinder engine with a volume of 4.3 litres. Later came the 4.6-liter version, equipped with a four-speed manual gearbox.

In 1952 appears R-Type Continental with a six-cylinder in-line engine in volume of 4,5 litres, perfectly thought out aerodynamics and low weight. Thanks to these qualities the model soon received the title of the fastest serial sedan, as well as the best car of the year in the UK. In 1955, the S series appeared, which was a copy of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith, aimed at wealthy owners who prefer to drive their own car.

Then came the model S2 with a modernized light eight-cylinder engine, which was produced for the American market. This manually assembled 6.2-liter engine is still installed on brand cars.

Bentley Continental (1952)

bentley continental

Until 1965, the company was mainly involved in copying the Rolls-Royce prototypes. In the mid-60’s Serie T appeared, which belongs to the Continental family. It was sold at a lower price and equipped with a comfortable, perfectly tuned suspension and a shorter base. Developing a maximum speed of 273 km / h, the car was able to earn the reputation of the fastest compartment of the world.

In 1970, the models Mulsanne Turbo and Mulsanne Turbo R, called the best sedans in its class, were released. In 1982, there was a four-door version of the model, built on the basis of Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit. From this moment the formation of a modern model line of the company begins, and the brand is firmly fixed on the market of premium quality cars, crowding the parent company.

In 1991, Bentley Continental R, which became the first model of the brand after the R Type Continental in 1954 with a self-designed body. In 1994, new versions of the Turbo S and Continental S were released. In 1996, the Bentley Continental T with a 400-horsepower engine won the title of the most powerful road car of the brand.

In July 1998, Rolls-Royce Motor Car moved to the Volkswagen AG concern. At the same time, BMW buys out the rights to use the Rolls-Royce brand, since January 1, 2003 Bentley and Rolls-Royce have become independent companies.

Despite persistent rumours about the death of the brand, Volkswagen invests in it 500 million pounds sterling, modernizes production in Crewe and develops new models. Already in 1999, the Bentley Arnage Red Label comes out with a 6.75-liter V8 engine. Since 2000, Bentley again participates in the Le Mans races.

In 2002, one of the most significant cars in the history of the brand – Continental GT – was introduced. At an automobile exhibition in Great Britain, he received an award from the Institute of Automotive Engineers in the nominations “Best Luxury Car” and “Best Exhibition Car”. It is equipped with a 12-cylinder engine in volume of 6 liters and a capacity of 575 hp. with a fuel consumption of 26.5 l / 100 km.

At this car, the Finnish rally driver Juha Kankkunen set a world speed record on the ice, accelerating the car to 321.65 km / h.

Bentley Continental GT (2002)

bentley continental

The next novelties presented by the brand were the coupe with a convertible Azure, the Coupe Brooklands, Azure T, the fastest among the serial models of Continental Super Sports, the new flagship in the Grand Tourer Mulsanne class.

In 2012 at the Geneva Motor Show debuted the concept car Bentley EXP 9F SUV, a serial version of which under the name Bentayga promises to come out in 2015. In 2013, the world’s fastest four-seater convertible Continental GT Speed ​​Convertible is shown.