On the 18th January 1919, Walter, or W.O, Bentley, as he was known, established the Bentley brand.
A hundred years on, the manufacturer whose roots lie in Crewe has developed a reputation as one of the most high-end automotive companies in the world. Although everything regarding class has more than likely been uncovered about Bentley, there do exist a host of unknown facts. Here, with Vindis, who offer Skoda servicing, we take a look at six of these aforementioned unheard-of pieces of information.
Le Mans champions
A group of young motorsport enthusiasts, the Bentley boys, were successfully able to cement Bentley’s position in the automotive hall of fame. In 2019, Lewis Hamilton was ranked by Forbes at the world’s 13th highest paid sports star, however, the Bentley Boys, which featured Capt. Woolf Barnato, J.D Benjafield, Tim Birkin, S.C.H Davis, Glen Kidston, John Duff, and Jack and Clive Dunfee, were unpaid. These men had a true passion for racing, moreover, racing Bentleys. Their relationship with the brand, which led to five Le Mans victories in eight years, was apparent. It was often the young men exhilarating attitude which helped both them, and Bentley, gain an outstanding reputation.
A drink for heroes
Following the win, the boys embarked on their journey back to blighty and they were in the mood to celebrate. They had just achieved their first Le Mans victory, and they were the only British team competing in the Pays de la Loire. The boys were, of course, in a mood to celebrate. Alongside being the only British team surrounded by French and Germans, this was only the second endurance event these men had competed in. So, when they landed back in Mayfair, trophy in tow, they were irritated by the fact the bar had been left, well, dry — with the exception of Calvados and Dubonnet.
The Bentley Cocktail
- 1 and a half ounces of Calvados or Apple Brandy
- 1 and a half ounces of Dubonnet Rouge
- 1 lemon twist – garnish
In a glass, pour Calvados or Dubonnet over ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish and enjoy, just like a Bentley Boy!
Wings that won the hearts of the automotive world
The Bentley badge is undeniably one of the most memorable car logos of all time. Back, when the company was gaining traction in the early 1920s, founder W.O. Bentley called upon the help of close friend and designer, Crosby, to establish a badge that could not be fraudulently reproduced. Therefore, he requested one which featured asymmetric downward aiming feathers. Although ‘wings’ were a popular choice for many car manufacturers when establishing a badge during this era, rumour has it, Bentley’s logo was designed to represent W.O.’s background as an aeronautical engineer during the Great War.
Worth the investment
At auction, Bentley has developed quite the reputation for pulling in a considerable sale price. In July 2004, during Christie’s Le Mans Classic Auction, the Works No.2 Bentley Speed Six Tourer, which laid claim to second place at Le Mans in 1930 and won ‘The Double Twelve’ was sold for £2,784,741. A press release prior to the auction noted, ‘no other car has accomplished so much and, most importantly ‘No.2’ remains in the same conditions since its early racing days in the 1930’.
Still on the roads
Do you find that items built-in 2019 don’t last as long as those that were created a decade ago? For Bentley, a focus on their vehicles standing the test of time is crucial. The manufacturer’s overarching commitment is to quality engineering. Considering 80 per cent of all Bentleys ever built are still on the roads today, it appears they are doing a rather good job. Also, despite the fact, the brand may hold connotations of heavy fuel consumption and a lack of concern for sustainability, CO2 levels across the fleet have been driven down by 30 per cent in recent times.
More than just a car
Even though the sheer luxury up for grabs in the Bentley is enough to entice anyone to spend the entirety of their day in it, the manufacturer is aware that their customers do more than drive. For this reason, they offer a specialised, one-off kit for their owners to fulfil their hobby — the hobby being falconry, of course. Bentayga Falconry by Mulliner is, admittedly, a rather obscure optional extra, but it depicts exactly what Bentley is about — creating a car for their client, catering to their wants and needs during development. The flight master station, which is stowed neatly in the boot space of the Bentley Bentayga, includes a GPS tracking system, binoculars, and hand-crafted leather bird hoods. Don’t be concerned if falconry isn’t your forte, however. Bentley promise to appease customers by asking to submit their requests and their bespoke service will attempt to create a package for any lifestyle or hobby.
A hundred years after their inauguration into the automotive world and Bentley are still producing utter class in regard to their vehicles. What the next hundred years holds fails to be seen, but we’re sure it’ll be impressive.