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Bentley

Bentley

United Kingdom United Kingdom (1919 - present)
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History

W. O. Bentley

W. O. Bentley

© photo courtesy of: Bentley

W. O. Bentley had already been in the automobile industry, selling cars in partnership with his brother, until he decided it was time to open his own car company and brand, where he could design and execute his own car range.

Suffering from serious financial problems, which the 1929 Wall Street crash came to join, the Bentley company eventually had to be sold in order to survive and British automaker Rolls-RoyceRolls-RoyceRolls-RoyceUnited Kingdom, 1904 > present30 models
1274 photos
1 video
came to fill that part in 1931, secretly acquiring Bentley through another company – British Central Equitable Trust – that disguised the Rolls-Royce company until the purchase was concluded.

Rolls-Royce transformed the company into the new Bentley Motors and owned it ever since 1931 until 1998.

The ‘father’ of the company eventually gave up on the business he had started and left Bentley in 1935 because he had no longer been an important member of the administration since Rolls-Royce bought him the company and took full control of it.

In addition, Rolls-Royce closed Bentley’s factory at Cricklewood and Bentley cars began being produced at the Rolls-Royce facility in Derby, England. Then, after World War II, both brands began having their cars manufactured at a factory in Crewe, Cheshire, England.

As a consequence of both brands having been joined together, the very majority of the Bentley models weren’t much more than a tad cheaper Rolls-Royce cars with Bentley badges and some other minor differences, resulting on a mixture of these brands’ identities.

Not until the 1980’s did Bentley become more independent and began producing its own high performance and luxury models once again, which reflected on its significant increase on sales and popularity.

With this important growth and the promise of a bright future ahead, Volkswagen GroupVolkswagenVolkswagenGermany, 1938 > present96 models
9611 photos
31 videos
decided to invest on the Bentley brand and acquired the company in 1998. Bentley’s sales have not disappointed the investment made so far, as they currently keep on rising.



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Motorsport

Bentley 3-Litre

Bentley 3-Litre

© photo courtesy of: Bentley

The year Walter Owen Bentley opened his car company he also set up a parallel racing department – Bentley Motorsports, Ltd. The first vehicle the company raced was a Bentley Exp2, a prototype that would run to victory at the 1921 Brooklands race. Bentley still owns this car today.

Bentley entered the Le Mans for the first time in 1923, where driver John Duff took fourth place. Then in 1924 Duff raced again to win Bentley’s first Le Mans title. Bentley’s success on the Le Mans, however, was still about to come, as the British brand won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for four years in a row from 1927 to 1930. Bentley also won the title at the 1931 Brooklands 500 Mile race.

Unfortunately for Bentley, from the day Rolls-Royce bought the company onwards, Bentley almost dropped the motor sports world, as the majority of its participation was through private teams. The Bentley Speed 8Speed 8Bentley Speed 8United Kingdom, 2003 > present7 photos
made a successful participation at the 2001, 2002 and 2003 seasons of Le Mans.



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