07 Mar A History of Bentley
A History of Bentley
Bentley is world renowned for its excellence and luxury. It’s a brand that has managed to maintain its reputation as the go-to car for the rich and discerning for decades, putting it in the ranks of Rolls Royce, Bugatti, and Mercedes. However, through the years the British manufacturer has evolved its design, Bentley remains a true gentleman’s car.
Here are some fun facts you probably didn’t know about Bentley.
Bentley was founded by three gentlemen in 1919; Harry Varley, Frank Burgess, and yes you guessed it W.O Bentley. They named the company Bentley Motors Limited with the sole intention of building superior sports cars.
The Bentley 3L was the very first vehicle built by the manufacturer. They named it the 3L in reference to its 3-liter engine.
Bentley Motors Limited quickly gained a reputation for building expensive and reliable cars. Unfortunately, though, due to their pricing, the company could hardly manage to cover the costs of production since not many people were able to purchase their cars.
To attract more customers, W.O Bentley began offering a 5 year warranty on his cars. This was a very bold move on his part because until then this was unheard of in Europe.
Bentley distinguished itself further from other cars by achieving numerous trophies in motorsports including the Tourist Trophy, 24 Hours of Le Mans. Overall, they were able to win a total of four victories in different motorsports competition between 1927 and 1930.
In 1929, the Great Depression occurred and this led to a reduced demand for Bentleys. Without a market to sell to Bentley filed for Bankruptcy and had it not been for Rolls-Royce acquiring it that would have been the end of Bentley. The last vehicle by Bentley Motors Limited before its acquisition by Rolls-Royce was the Bentley 8 Liter.
As a division of Rolls-Royce, the British automaker was forced to make numerous changes in how it conducted business. For instance, Bentley could no longer participate in motorsports events. In addition, the Bentley’s that were produced under Rolls-Royce were very similar to Rolls-Royce models. For example, the Bentley Silver Cloud was very similar to the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud so much so that they shared a model name.
In addition, Rolls-Royce decided to classify Bentleys into three categories:
- Red Label – These were the sophisticated Bentleys that emphasized comfort
- Black Label – These Bentleys had powerful engines
- Green Label – These were Bentleys built for racing
In keeping with their tradition of creating cars specifically meant for the rich, Bentley produced a car worth 3,000,000 British pounds in 1994 for the Sultan of Brunei, the Bentley Dominator.
Sometime in 1998, Bentley was acquired by Volkswagen and reclaimed their place on the racetrack.
Most Bentley models today feature 480 leather elements that are hand-stitched to give the interior a rich and plush look and feel.
At Classic Event Cars we have a 1956 Bentley Silver cloud that’s perfect for a classic wedding car. For more information, get in touch with us.