Mysterious History Behind Bentley

Classic Cars

One of the world’s most high-class, outstanding car manufacturers is now celebrating its one hundredth birthday – however, there are a variety of things regarding Bentley that aren’t quite so common knowledge. Along with SEAT dealership, Vindis, we take a look at six of the most interesting facts regarding Bentley.

Genuine Build Quality

We have all heard our elders exclaim the words ‘things just aren’t built like they used to be’ anymore but, when considering Bentley, this statement could not be more accurate. 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.

The Pinnacle of Racing

Obviously, Bentley is aligned closely to quality engineering. However, the world of racing isn’t somewhere we’d automatically associate the manufacturer too. The Bentley Boys, as they were affectionately known, were a group of young men who successfully took this brand and drove it straight into the motorsport 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.

The Secret Behind the Wings

Undoubtedly one of Bentley’s most distinguishing features is its winged logo. 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.

Bentley – Beyond Motoring

Bentley aren’t naive and understand their customers won’t spend every second of everyday in their car. For this reason, they offer a specialised, one-off kit for their owners to fulfill 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.

Big cash prizes

Some of the top-level classics have drawn in the biggest cash returns when sold. 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’.

Party lovers

After their big win, the Bentley Boys headed back to London, and they were in the mood to party. 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

Requires

  • 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, stir together the Calvados and Dubonnet, pour over ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish and enjoy, just like a Bentley Boy!

A hundred years below their belt and it doesn’t look likely that Bentley are intending on taking their foot off the metaphorical gas anytime soon.

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