Bentley Motors Limited manufactures England’s best known brand of luxury cars and Grand Tourers. One Walter Owen Bentley started the company in the United Kingdom in the year 1919. Bentley had already earned a name for himself for his successful range of rotary aero Configurations in the Great World War; his most famous was known as the Bentley BR1, and was used in later versions of the Sopwith Camel. As of 1998, Volkswagen has owned Bentley.
Early on in the evolution of Bentley, the car’s reputation was kept alive by a group of car lovers known as the Bentley Boys. They consisted of diamond heir Woolf Barnato, George Duller, Barney Barnato, and S.C.H. Davis. Barnato once raced Le Train Bleu from Cannes to Calais, then by ferry to Dover and on to London, and won. The car he was driving later came to be known as the Blue Train Bentley.
Thanks to the Bentley Boys’ dedication to serious auto racing, Bentley took four consecutive victors at the 24 Hours of Le Mans – despite being heckled by their Italian competitor Bugatti, who referred to their cars as “the world’s fastest trucks.”
Perhaps the most iconic Bentley of all time is the Blower Bentley. At 4.5 L, it features a distinctive supercharger that projects forward from the grille’s bottom. It would become famous as the vehicle of choice in the James Bond books.
Barnato would spend a great deal of his fortune trying to keep Bentley afloat. The Great Depression, however, put an end to the demand for Bentley cars, and the company ultimately was sold off to Rolls Royce in the year 1931. It was not until the 1980s that Bentley would become an independent, separate car brand once again. Bentley is still renowned for its high performance, luxury vehicles.
Above - Bentley's fastest car, the Continental GT, capable of speeds near 200 MPH despite weighing 2350kg.