1919’s London Motor Show saw a new framework of car introduced — one that would evolve the automotive industry. A hundred years later, many gearheads would believe they know all about the popular car manufacturer, Bentley. However, we’re here to share some interesting and obscure factors that you probably don’t know about.
It isn’t just ‘a car’
Bentley are a car manufacturer who know and appreciate that drivers do more than just drive in their beloved vehicles. It’s more than just maintenance, like getting Skoda servicing or your tyres refilled. 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.
Bentley are known for having high bids placed on their vehicles at automotive auctions. 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’.
The Bentley Boys
The Bentley Boys, a group of wealthy Bentley fanatics, helped carry Bentley’s reputation as a leading car brand. 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.
An iconic badge
Bentley’s badge is undeniably iconic. 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.
On the Bentley Boys’ return home upon winning their first Le Mans victory, the boys were, of course, in a mood to celebrate. After all, they were the only British team competing in the Pays de la Loire. 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 — except for Calvados and Dubonnet.
The Bentley Cocktail
- 1 ½ oz of Calvados or Apple Brandy
- 1 ½ oz of Dubonnet Rouge
- 1 lemon twist for garnish
In a tall glass, add ice and pour over calvados and dubonnet. Garnish and enjoy, just like a Bentley Boy!
A quality brand
When manufactured, Bentleys are made to last. 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.
Over a hundred years old, Bentley’s quality has maintained excellence. We look forward to seeing what the next hundred years hold in store.