The History of Bentley Motors Limited

The Incredible History Of Bentley Motors – One Of The World’s Most Exclusive Car Manufacturers

Updated September 1, 2018

Today’s iconic British manufacturer of luxury automobiles got its start when the company was founded in 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley. In October of 1919, W.O. Bentley would first introduce his vehicle at the London Motor Show.

Orders were taken for the first vehicle but due to setbacks they were delayed until the first delivery was made on September 21st to Noel van Raalte. Bentley’s cars would be known for their speed and durability. In 1923 a Bentley would finish fourth in the 24-hour Le Mans. The following year a Bentley would win the coveted race thus furthering the popularity of up-and-coming auto manufacturer. In a search to find more horsepower Bentley would produce a 4.5 L and 6.5 L engine design. The 4.5 L would be used in the race cars for the upcoming Le Mans races, with first-place finishes in 1927, 28, 29 and 30 the company quickly become known around the world. Woolf Barnato was a wealthy British motorist that would win three of the races at Le Mans consecutively. Barnato would buy into Bentley as the company hemorrhaged on financial troubles and as a result would make Barnato chairman of the company.

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Even though Barnato was backing the company financially it would end up costing far too much to keep the company running and would assist in draining Barnato of his wealth. In 1931 a company by the name British Central Equitable Trust offered to purchase the company. When the deal was done it was realized that British Central Equitable Trust was simply fronting for Rolls-Royce. In 1933 the Bentley 3 ½-litre was introduced as more of a mixture of sport and luxury and although it strayed from previous Bentley vehicles, it was to be an overall success. In 1935 W.O Bentley was in a contract bound to Rolls-Royce and once his contract came time to be renegotiated, he had already picked up and headed to work with Lagonda who would later be owned by Aston Martin.

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Where Are Bentleys Made?

In the mid-to-late 40s Bentley would move its production the town of Crewe. The Bentley Mark VI would be the first production you Bentley to be built entirely in its Crewe factory. This model utilized stamped steel construction and would become one of the best-selling models in Bentley history.Since the company moved to the Crewe factory, all of Bentley’s vehicles have been made in the same location from the late-40s to the present day. During the 50s the R-Type daily would be the successor of the Mark VI. The R-Type was streamlined and lightweight thanks to its aluminum body. The vehicle would be able to reach nearly 120 mi./h making it the fastest four-seater in the world. In 1955 Rolls-Royce would rebadged its Silver cloud model is to become the Bentley S Series.

During the 70s and 80s Bentley vehicles were slowing significantly in sales as a result cause the company to be on the brink of closure. In August of 1980 Vickers plc purchases Bentley and works to bring back a revitalized Bentley that would be more luxurious as well as sporty. In the following years Bentleys would continue to rise in sales and by 1989 Bentleys were selling twice as fast as Rolls-Royce vehicles.

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The Modern History Of Bentley Motors Limited

During the 1990s the company would look to reestablish W.O. Bentley’s intentions for the company to produce powerful vehicles that were continuing to deliver innovation. In 1991 the Bentley Continental R would be shown at the Geneva motor show and receive rave reviews. 1983 Bentley Brooklands will be introduced to replace the Mulsanne. In 1995 the Bentley Azure would be introduced as the most powerful four seat convertible in existence.

In 1998 the Volkswagen Group purchased Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motors Limited, beating a bid from BMW for the companies.  Under the new ownership of Volkswagen, Bentley was able to completely re-engineer and revitalize its image. Such vehicles as the Continental GT would be introduced at the Paris Auto Show and would attract over 3000 deposits for the first delivery. Just over a decade later in 2009, Bentley would introduce the latest generation Mulsanne. In 2011 Bentley introduced the second-generation Continental GT which would play a vital role to help the company raises sales by 37% more than the previous year.

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Today, Bentley Motors Limited is impressively expanding its market outreach with China becoming its fastest growing market. For 2012 Bentley is looking to produce and sell more vehicles than its record year in 2007 as it delivered 10,014 vehicles. The company is still dedicated craftsmanship and providing luxury with power.



Uriah Nazario
About Uriah Nazario

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