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Bentley is a British automotive company that produces luxurious autos and is a symbol of automobile industry of Great Britain. Founded by Walter Owen Bentley in 1919 near London, today it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of a German corporation Volkswagen. It’s headquartered in Crewe, England.
The First Bentley Car
We know Bentley Motors Ltd. as one of the most expensive, sophisticated, and prestigious auto brands in Great Britain. It’s held that the company was established in 1919, however, its history goes back to 1913, actually. This year, Walter Owen Bentley applied light metals for aircraft engine piston production for the first time. As a result, the surname Bentley became well known among English industrialists.
The first Bentley car was manufactured in 1919, shortly after the business was started. It was the Bentley 3L, built up with a four-cylinder 65 hp engine. Interestingly, the car provided a five-year guarantee that was an unprecedented term at that time.
In 1927, the 3L was equipped with a 4.5-litre engine that made it one of the fastest and most powerful cars of the epoch. Between 1928 and 1930, the Bentley Speed Six with a 6.5-litre 200 hp engine was produced in limited quantities. Despite such a short production period, the car managed to become a legend gaining nine prestigious racing awards, with three at Brooklands and two at Le Mans included.
Fusion with Rolls-Royce
W. O. Bentley never paid particular attention to design. He was too concentrated on technical specifications of his cars. What he aimed to create were motor racing winners. Although his cars really succeeded in sports, the situation was quite opposite in the market.
The company made a mistake when it launched the unreasonably expensive 8L. Then, even its golden customers weren’t interested in the innovation. In addition, Bentley – as all other enterprises - became weak due to the Depression. Eventually, Rolls-Royce took it under the wing in 1931.
Rolls-Royce quickly got Bentley on its feet and the company started to gain momentum again. Consequently, the 3.5L model, which gave rise to the SS Cars series, was produced. The 3.5L ran on a six-cylinder 3699 cc engine and could accelerate up to 150 km/h. Since 1936, the similar 4.5L model began to be made.
During the WWII and up to the 50s, Bentley couldn’t boast of own-produced cars worth attention because its whole model range consisted of Rolls-Royce copies.
Modern Model Range Formation
It was so till 1955 when the S1, which became a prototype of the famous Bentley Continental series, was unveiled. The Continental series won the hearts of millions of automobilists all over the world due to combination of traditional Bentley’s mighty and Rolls-Royce’s lustre. Experts call the Mulsanne Turbo (1982) and the Turbo R (1985) the best saloons ever.
Since the 80s, the company’s contemporary line-up began to be formed. Mainly, they focused on the Continental and the Mulsanne and their versions, which also appeared rather successful.
In 1998, Rolls-Royce had to transfer the authority over Bentley to Volkswagen due to an unstable economic situation at Rolls-Royce.
Today, Bentley’s line-up includes the Mulsanne, Flying Spur, Continental, and Bentayga. All the cars without an exception prove Bentley to be the living legend of the world’s automobile production as they harmoniously combine usual for Bentley aristocratism and exclusivity with high performance and innovative technologies.
- Queen Elizabeth II is driven in the Bentley State Limousine, which was presented by Bentley to the Queen in 2002 on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee.
- John Lennon bought the Bentley S2 with the aim to advertise the Beatles’ new album Yellow Submarine. For this purpose, the car was painted with incredible images and patterns. To tell the truth, they made such a luxurious car look awkward.
- Bentley cars interior is covered up with leather manually. 135 m of fibre are needed for a car. A steering wheel is covered up according to a complex technology that requires two needles. Ultimately, the process takes about 15 hours.
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