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Bentley: The Highs and Lows

Updated August 24, 2013

They are still considered a sign of wealth and even after all these years, considered a status symbol by the younger generation. Bentley motors have been producing automobile gems since 1919. The automotive giant has enjoyed a serious fan-base who rescued the designer car company as it faced liquidation and closure a couple of times during its life.


Started by W.O Bentley, the car company was the realisation of a dream for Mr. Bentley after he decided to move on from a car sales partnership with his brother. Bentley always wanted to design and manufacture his own cars so he registered the Bentley name in 1919 and set to work. His first course of action was to design a chassis and put a dummy engine on it for an exhibition at the London Motor Show in 1919. The cars were put on order based on the chassis and engine design. They earned a reputation of being durable and reliable. As with most car designers and manufacturers, the cars were entered into racing competitions, and Bentley automotives proved that it is perfectly capable of holding its own on and off the track.

The company saw some financial hardships thanks to W.O’s over-spending on development. Woolf Barnato, a keen Bentley enthusiast, bought over the company, and set up the headquarters in London. He then set to saving what was fast becoming a sinking legend. The ‘Bentley Boys,’ a club of Bentley automobile owners and followers naturally assisted with keeping Bentley London’s reputation as a high performance and reliable car, on top.

After the Great Depression, W.O Bentley had a rude awakening when Rolls-Royce bought over the company under an alias, and he was forced to toil under their brand. He resigned himself when his contract ended and moved to another automobile company. One has to give W.O his due as he mentioned that the first Bentley produced under the Rolls-Royce name was certainly the best ever produced. Just under a century later and one sees, obviously, how the Bentley design has evolved but one thing that remains the same in the class and elegance. Paris Hilton has three: One in Pink, one in baby blue and another in black. It’s quite something when you can pick any colour car from your fleet to accessorise your handbag or shoes. We’re not sure Bentley had this in mind when he designed the world’s most coveted luxury vehicle.

Vida Denning is a keen writer who sometimes works from executive suites with large windows overlooking a private parking lot that has a ridiculous number of Bentley’s parked in it.



Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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