Indulge in the Opulence of Bentley Today
The winged “B” is born
In January 1919, HM Bentley, WO Bentley, and HMJ Ward founded Bentley Motors. In October, a few months later, they finished the 3-liter, their first model: it is powered by a 65 hp engine and manufactured in a workshop near Baker Street (London). It is the first car to feature the brand’s characteristic winged “B” on the front. Finally, in the mid-1920s, the manufacturer announced a new model, a 6.5-litre six-cylinder.
The first victories
The 3-litre soon became popular: in 1921, it achieved its first victory in a race. A plant is founded in Cricklewood and, a year later, the brand participates for the only time in The Indianapolis 500. In 1923 he obtained the fourth place at Le Mans, an appointment he won a year later: it was the first of the three triumphs of this decade. As early as 1930, only 100 units of the 8-liter were assembled.
Rolls buys the motors
In 1931 the 4-litre began to be produced from a 120 hp version of the six-cylinder engine; it was modified five years later when 126 CVs were obtained. In November, Rolls Royce bought the brand’s powertrain section, and in ’39, the Embiricos was developed, a special model with aerodynamic bodywork that will serve as an example for future Bentley.
The Great War ended, and in 1946 the MkVI was introduced, the first model with a steel body and Rolls Royce components. Three years later, the brand built its first left-hand drive car.
6.0 aluminum engines
At the beginning of the decade comes the R-Type, successor to the MkVI, which has 120 hp and is the only one without a Rolls Royce equivalent after 30 years. In 1955, the S Series was announced, equipped with a new drivetrain with automatic transmission. In ’57, the four-door Continental Flying Spur was launched, and in ’59, the brand announced the use of an aluminium 6.0 engine, originally developed for the 1920 Rolls.
In 1962 the S3 was introduced, and in 1965 the T Series appeared, with a line very similar to that of Rolls Royce’s Silver Shadow, independent suspension and brake discs. Six years later, it makes its London Motor Show debut with a special Pininfarina design.
A V8 that remains today
At the beginning of the 70s, the V8 engine was redesigned to give it more power; it remains today. In 1977 the T2 was presented.
All with ABS
In 1982 the Mulsanne Turbo appeared. Two years later, the Eight arrives, characterized by its chrome front that recalls the racing models of the 20s. In 1987 an important novelty was incorporated: all the brand’s models incorporate anti-lock brakes.
In March 1991, the Bentley Continental R was introduced, the first model with its own body since the 1954 Continental Type-R. Since January 1993, all cars have carried the winged “B” logo to celebrate 50 years of the brand’s acquisition by Rolls Royce. In the middle of the decade, the Azure, designed by Pininfarina, was presented, and the Continental T, which with 400 hp, became the most powerful vehicle of the manufacturer.
Bentley and Rolls Royce are again two independent companies after 67 years together: BMW bought the second in April 1998. That same year, Volkswagen announced a £ 500 million investment in Bentley and a new model. Finally, in September 1999, the Bentley Arnage Red Label was launched, and the return of the 6.75-litre V8 engine to the range was noted.
Successes at Le Mans
In 2001 the EXP Speed 8 was presented in Detroit, which achieved third place at Le Mans (1992); the brand returns to the podium of the most famous endurance race in the world after 71 years. The firm recovers the old name of Bentley Motors and unveils a series of models: Arnage T, Arnage R, Continental GT…
In 2003 it won Le Mans, and in 2005 Bentley’s fastest four-door appears the Continental Flying Spur. The year 2006 is one of the convertibles, the Continental GTC, and the new Azure, which becomes the standard-bearer of the manufacturer.