Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

Bentley

Bentley


A chronological day-by-day history of Bentley.

Wednesday 28th March 1900

117 years ago

The British Royal family took delivery of its first motor vehicle, a Daimler Mail Phaeton. There is no proof that King Edward VII or King George V could drive, but later monarchs King Edward VIII and King George VI could. The Queen's State and private motor cars are housed in the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace. For official duties - providing transport for State and other visitors as well as The Queen herself - there are eight State limousines, consisting of two Bentleys, three Rolls-Royces and three Daimlers. Other vehicles in the Royal fleet include a number of Volkswagen 'people carriers'. State cars are painted in Royal claret livery. The Bentleys and Rolls-Royces uniquely do not have registration number plates, since they are State vehicles.n technical terms, the special Bentley cars have a monocoque construction, enabling greater use to be made of the vehicle's interior space. This means the transmission tunnel runs underneath the floor, without encroaching on the cabin. Technical details show how different the Bentleys are to standard cars. The Bentleys are 6.22 metres long, nearly a metre longer than a standard Bentley Arnage. At 3.84 metres, its wheelbase is 1.3 metres longer than that of an average family sized saloon. The engine drives a standard, four-speed GM 4L80-E gearbox, which directs power through up-rated driveshafts to the rear wheels. Although they have a powerful engine, the Bentleys, like any other cars, are subject to normal speed restrictions. On processional occasions, they travel at around 9 miles per hour, and sometimes down to 3 miles per hour. The rear doors are hinged at the back and are designed to allow The Queen to stand up straight before stepping down to the ground. The rear seats are upholstered in Hield Lambswool Sateen cloth whilst all remaining upholstery is in light grey Connolly hide. Carpets are pale blue in the rear and dark blue in the front.

1900 Daimler 6hp Sandringham

1900 Daimler 6hp Sandringham

Show Article

Saturday 6th June 1908

109 years ago

American Charles Yale Knight obtained a British patent for his internal-combustion engine that used sleeve valves instead of the more common poppet-valve construction. In September the same year Daimler announced that these so-called ‘Silent Knight’ engines would be installed in some of its 1909 models. To combat criticism from its competitors, Daimler had the RAC (Royal Automobile Club) carry out their own independent tests on the Daimler-Knight. RAC engineers took two Knight engines and ran them under full load for 132 hours nonstop. The same engines were then installed in a touring car and driven for 2,000 miles (3,200 km) on the Brooklands race track, after which they were removed and again run on the bench for 5 hours. RAC engineers reported that, when the engines were dismantled, there was no perceptible wear, the cylinders and pistons were clean, and the valves showed no signs of wear either. The RAC was so impressed that it awarded Daimler the 1909 Dewar Trophy. The RAC reports caused Daimler's share price to rise, £0.85 to £18.75,[1] and the company's competitors to fear that the poppet-valve engine would soon be obsolete. W O Bentley was of the opinion that the Daimler-Knight engine performed as well as the comparable Rolls-Royce power plant. The Knight engine (improved significantly by Daimler's engineers) attracted the attention of the European automobile manufacturers. Daimler bought rights from Knight "for England and the colonies" and shared ownership of the European rights, in which it took 60%, with Minerva of Belgium. European rights were purchased from them and used by Panhard et Levassor and Mercedes.

Daimler-Knight sleeve valve engine

Daimler-Knight sleeve valve engine

Show Article

Sunday 15th January 1911

106 years ago

W. O. Bentley entered the automobile industry as a partner in Lecoqand Fernie, London agents for La Licorne, Buchet, and D.F.P. Cars.

Show Article

Wednesday 14th February 1912

105 years ago

H M Bentley joined his younger brother W O as a partner in the London automobile dealership of Lecoq and Fernie.

Show Article

Saturday 8th June 1912

105 years ago

Englishman W. O. Bentley competed in his first motor-car competition, the Aston Clinton Hill Climb in Buckinghamshire. He drove a modified DPF, the French car for which the Bentley brothers held the British concession, and broke the 2-litre-class record.

Walter O. Bentley

Walter O. Bentley

Show Article

Thursday 13th March 1913

104 years ago

The Vanden Plas (England) Ltd coachbuilding firm was founded. The coachbuilder's name first appeared in the United Kingdom in 1906 when Métallurgique cars were imported with Vanden Plas coachwork. The first Vanden Plas company in England was established by Warwick Wright (now Peugeot dealers) in 1913, building bodies under license from Vanden Plas Belgium. During World War I UK activities were switched to aircraft production and the UK business was bought by Aircraft Manufacturing Company who were based at Hendon near London. In 1917 a company, Vanden Plas (1917) Ltd., was incorporated. After the war it seems to have been a struggle to get back into coachbuilding and in 1922 that company was placed in receivership. The exclusive UK naming rights seem to have been lost as in the early 1920s the Belgian firm was exhibiting at the London Motor Show alongside the British business. In 1923 the rights to the name and the goodwill were purchased by the Fox brothers who incorporated Vanden Plas (England) 1923 Limited. They moved the business from Hendon to Kingsbury and built on the contacts that had been made with Bentley. Between 1924 and 1931, when Bentley failed, Vanden Plas built the bodies for over 700 of their chassis. In the 1930s the company became less dependent on one car maker and supplied coachwork to such as Alvis, Armstrong Siddeley, Bentley, Daimler, Lagonda and Rolls-Royce. The company also updated its production methods and took to making small batches of similar bodies. With the outbreak of war in 1939 the company returned to aircraft work, and coachbuilding stopped. During the War the company manufactured the wooden framework for the De Havilland Mosquito, one of the most successful aircraft of WWII. After the war the company continued its association with De Havilland and manufactured parts for the DH Vampire jet fighter. With peace in 1945 the company looked to restart its old business when a new customer came along. Austin wanted to market a chauffeur-driven version of its in-house-built large 4-litre Rolls-Royce-size A110 Sheerline luxury car and approached Vanden Plas. Vanden Plas became a subsidiary of the Austin Motor Company in 1946 and produced Austin's A120 Princess model on the Austin Sheerline chassis. From 1958 this also began to involve chassis assembly and the Austin (now BMC) board recognised Vanden Plas as a motor manufacturer in its own right dropping Austin from the name so the Princess could be sold by Nuffield dealers. In 1960 the Princess became the Vanden Plas Princess. Austin was joined in BMC by Jaguar with its new subsidiary Daimler. Production of Princess limousines ended in 1968 when they were replaced with Daimler DS420 limousines (Jaguar had acquired Daimler in 1960) built by Vanden Plas on a lengthened Jaguar Mark X platform. The DS420 was produced at the Kingsbury Lane Vanden Plas factory until it closed in November 1979. The British Leyland overall holding company board decided in 1967 there were insufficient funds in the group advertising budget to cope with marketing in North America the Daimler brand as well as Jaguar. This decision was later changed but Vanden Plas is used in North America instead of Daimler on Jaguar's top luxury models. Ownership of the Vanden Plas name stayed with the Rover Group so when Rover was sold Jaguar was obliged to stop using Vanden Plas in the United Kingdom though it continues to do so in America. Within the UK a Daimler Double-Six Vanden Plas became a plain Daimler Double-Six. Also in 1957/8, Vanden Plas were asked by Leonard Lord to add luxury fittings to a batch of Austin A105 Westminster cars, beginning the practice of using the company's skills and name for badge-engineered (and genuinely improved) luxury versions of many of the BMC (and later British Leyland (BL)) cars such as the 1100/1300 range and the Allegro (known as the Vanden Plas 1500, 1.5 & 1.7 ). From 1985 to 1989, Austin Rover made upmarket Vanden Plas models within its Metro, Maestro, Montego and Rover SD1 ranges. The name is also used in North America on Jaguar cars otherwise branded Daimler in other markets.

1938 Daimler 8 Vanden Plas

1938 Daimler 8 Vanden Plas

Show Article

Thursday 1st January 1914

103 years ago

Walter O Bentley wed Leonie Withers, in his first of three marriages. She sadly died during the great 1918 influenza epidemic.

Show Article

Friday 1st May 1914

103 years ago

A H M J Ward, an electrical engineer and brother-in-law of W O and H M Bentley, joined the board of Bentley and Bentley Ltd.

Show Article

Saturday 18th January 1919

98 years ago

Bentley Motors was established in London, England by W. O. Bentley and his brother H. M. Bentley. W.O. started dreaming about building his own cars bearing his name shortly after the brothers opened the UK agency for the French DFP (Doriot, Flandrin & Parant) cars in 1912. Soon, he fulfilled his dream and founded what would become one of the most desirable luxury car brands in the world. After the victory of Bentley 3 Litre Sport at the 24 Hours of Le Mans of 1924, W. O. Bentley’s cars became a major hit among the wealthy British motorists, however, his company was faced with serious financial difficulties as early as 1925. Woolf Barnato, a fan of Bentley cars and a member of the so-called Bentley Boys helped the company with financing which, however, gave him control over the company and made W.O. an employee. The new models that were introduced under Barnato’s chairmanship repeated the success of the Bentley 3 Litre Sport and won Le Mans in 1927, 1928, 1929 and 1930. Despite that, the company was severely hit by the Stock Market Crash of 1929 that was followed by the Great Depression which dramatically reduced the demand for luxury cars such as Bentley. In 1931, an agreement was reached about takeover of Bentley by Napier & Son, however, Napier was outbid by the British Central Equitable Trust. Thus the company was taken over by Rolls-Royce that was behind the British Central Equitable Trust. The real identity of the new Bentley owner, however, was revealed only after the deal was closed. Rolls-Royce formed a new company, while the production was moved to Rolls-Royce’s production facilities in Derby. Bentley factory in Cricklewood was closed. W. O. Bentley who was at the time of Rolls Royce’s takeover still working and designing Bentleys left the company as soon as his contract has expired in 1935. He joined Lagonda where he helped create a line of cars which were “Bentleys in all but name”.By the end of the 20th century, Bentley and its parent company changed owners twice. After the financial collapse of Rolls-Royce as a result of its development of the RB211 jet engine, the company was nationalised by the British government. The Rolls Royce car division was made an independent business – Rolls-Royce Motors Limited which was acquired by Vickers plc in 1980. Meanwhile, Bentley sales dropped alarmingly low. But under Vickers, Bentley restored its former reputation as a luxury sports car and the sales started to rise. The so-called Bentley renaissance, however, started only in 1998 when Rolls-Royce Motors Limited was acquired by the Volkswagen Group. Bentley cars are sold via franchised dealers worldwide.Most Bentley cars are assembled at the Crewe factory, but a small number of Continental Flying Spurs are assembled at the factory in Dresden, Germany and bodies for the Continental are produced in Zwickau, Germany.

The Bentley badge and hood ornament

The Bentley badge and hood ornament

Show Article

Tuesday 8th July 1919

98 years ago

Bentley Motors, ltd was reorganised with W O Bentley as Chairman and Joint Managing Director with his brother H M Bentley.

Show Article

Sunday 31st October 1920

97 years ago

Walter O Bentley resigned from Bentley and Bentley Ltd to devote full time to his position as Chief Engineer for Bentley Motors Ltd.

W O Bentley

W O Bentley

Show Article

Monday 16th May 1921

96 years ago

Frank C Clement, driving the second experimental Bentley 3-litre, won the Brookland Whitsun race, the first victory for the marque.

Show Article

Friday 6th July 1923

94 years ago

The Squire Car Manufacturing Company, a British auto manufacturer of the 1930s, based in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire was declared bankrupt. It was founded as Squire Motors Ltd two years earlier by 21-year-old Adrian Squire (1910–1940), formerly of Bentley and MG. Renamed as the Squire Car Manufacturing Company it produced the Squire car, which epitomised the Grand Prix car turned into road car. After Frazer-Nash temporarily cast aside British Anzani, Squire seized the opportunity to use Anzani's R1 100 bhp (75 kW) 1,496 cc twin-cam engine. They were purchased from Anzani with a Squire emblem cast into them. Blown versions were available. Very few were made, but it held a reputation for exceptional top speed and braking. Squire designed and built a fine rigid chassis offered in two lengths for two or four seat versions with attractive bodywork by Vanden Plas. The car was too expensive even with cheaper bodywork from Markham of Reading, and financial difficulties ended production in 1936. A Vanden Plas two seater cost £1,220 which was Bugatti money and even the Markham cost £995. Squire himself went on to join Lagonda and was working for the Bristol Aeroplane Company when killed in an air raid in 1940. Two or possibly three more cars were assembled from left over parts by Valfried Zethrin in 1938 and 1939. There were plans to resume production after the war but the lack of patterns to make the engine made this uneconomical. After the war Val Zethrin pursued a new project, an updated and simplified attempt at the Squire concept, called the Zethrin Rennsport. The reliability and cost of the R1 Anzani engine had always been an issue, and post-war conditions rendered it unthinkable. Through Benjamin Bowden and John Allen's design company, contact was made with Donald Healey, who recommended using a souped up Riley Motor engine, as he had employed in the Healey-Abbott· Suspension and modified frame from the Riley stable provided the back-bone for what was to be an interesting but doomed venture. 180 bhp from the heavily modified engine was forecast, coupled to a fairly advanced body, suggesting that a 135 mph maximum speed was achievable. It seems that this project went little further than a road-going prototype with rudimentary bodywork. Zethrin did not have the technical expertise of Adrian Squire, and failed to ensure sufficient industry interest in what seemed a flight of fancy, in an era of austerity. Lack of funds and backers falling away put paid to the Rennsport becoming available for purchase.

Adrian Squire

Adrian Squire

Show Article

Tuesday 2nd March 1926

91 years ago

Bentley Motors Ltd was reorganised with Woolf Barnato as Chairman, W O Bentley as Managing Director and Hubert Pike, Ramsay Manners and John Kennedy Carruth as Directors.

Woolf Barnato

Woolf Barnato

Show Article

Sunday 19th June 1927

90 years ago

The fifth 24 Hours of Le Mans Grand Prix of Endurance finished. The race is commonly remembered due to the infamous White House crash, which involved all three of the widely tipped Bentley team's entries, and caused the retirement of two of them. The race was eventually won by the third which, although badly damaged, was able to be repaired by drivers Dudley Benjafield and Sammy Davis. It was Bentley's second victory in the endurance classic. The winning margin was an incredible 21 laps. The total entry for the 1927 Le Mans race was only 23, although this was down to 22 by the time of the race itself due to one of the two Tracta entries crashing while en route to the event. In comparison with previous years, when entries had nearly topped 50 cars, the 1927 field had been depleted by mergers, bankruptcies and other financial worries amongst competitor manufacturers. Amongst the list of absentees were the Lorraine-Dietrich team, winners of the event for the previous two years. With three cars entered, it was therefore the Bentley squad who were pre-race favourites to take an easy victory. After a humiliating run of retirements since their victory in the 1924 event, W.O. Bentley decided to enter a strong team, despite the weakened opposition. Dudley Benjafield and Sammy Davis were again paired in the same 3 litre car which they had crashed just an hour from the finish in the 1926 race: Old Number 7. A second 3 litre was entered for Andre d'Erlanger and George Duller, while Leslie Callingham and 1924-winner Frank Clement were entrusted with the 4½ litre prototype, Old Mother Gun. The majority of the cars ranged against the Bentley Boys were an assortment of small-capacity French cars aiming for victory in the Index of Performance, with only the 2 litre Théophile Schneiders and a lone, 3 litre Ariès, driven by Robert Laly and Jean Chassagne, offering serious competition. However, as the only vehicle in the 5 litre class, Old Mother Gun was substantially quicker than even these. As expected it was car number 1, Old Mother Gun, which led away from the start. The Benjafield/Davis car slipped into second place, with d'Erlanger and Duller in third place making it a Bentley 1-2-3 in the opening laps. Old Mother Gun's pace advantage was underlined by Clement when he broke the circuit record in only the second lap of the race. Over the following few laps he whittled this down still further, to only 8 minutes 46 seconds for the 10.7 mile (17.3 km) circuit. This early-race performance was yet more remarkable as, at the time, the cars were required to run with their hoods erected for the first three hours of the race. Behind Frank Clement the race was tight, however, with the 3 litre Ariès and the Jacques Chanterelle/René Schiltz Théophile Schneider managing to keep pace with the 3 litre Bentleys as the race progressed into the growing evening gloom. It was just after 9:30pm that the second Théophile Schneider, driven by Robert Poitier and Pierre Tabourin, precipitated the race's most famous event. A few laps in arrears but being chased hard by Callingham in Old Mother Gun, the driver misjudged his entry speed into the virages Maison Blanche (since bypassed by the Porsche Curves), known amongst the British fraternity by their English translation: the White House curves. The Théophile Schneider slewed to a halt, broadside across the road. Rather than plough head-on into his opponent, Callingham chose to put the Bentley off the road, into a ditch. Unfortunately for him the big car rolled, throwing him into the centre of the road. Unsighted by the corner, when the second Théophile Schneider came upon the accident site the driver did not have time to take evasive action and thus collided, at speed, with the Bentley and its sister car. A similar fate awaited Duller, at the wheel of the number 2 Bentley, and a 2 litre Ariès, before Sammy Davis in the second 3 litre Bentley approached the White House curves. Davis perceived that all was not as it should be – even tens of metres back up the road its surface was strewn with debris – and so entered the corner slower than would normally have been the case. Even so, his speed was such that, by the time he spotted the wreckage blocking the road in front of him, he did not have sufficient time to brake to a halt. Rather than also hit the stationary cars head-on Davis provoked the big Bentley into a slide. Because of this Davis hit the stricken cars sideways, striking first with the right-hand front wing. In spite of Davis's prompt action the impact was substantial, but unlike the other unfortunates he was able to restart his car and (once he had assured himself that his team-mates and the Frenchmen were all accounted for and only slightly hurt) drive gently back to the pits. Once in the pits Davis and Benjafield assessed the damage. External assistance was greatly restricted at the time, so it was down to the drivers to effect any repairs needed to continue. The right wing was badly mangled and had to be reattached to the car using string, while the right headlamp was broken beyond repair. More fundamentally, the right front wheel was bent, as were the axle and chassis, but Davis decided to press on regardless. He volunteered to take the car back onto the track and completed six further laps to check that all was well, before Benjafield retook the wheel. In the time which had elapsed during the incident and as the car was being repaired, the 3 litre Ariès had slipped past and was beginning to establish a sizeable lead. Benjafied set about reducing the French car's advantage, pushing the Bentley hard despite running with only one headlamp and a flashlight strapped to the windscreen frame to guide him through the dark of night. By midday on Sunday they had reduced Laly and Chassagne's lead to only a single lap, assisted by a few mechanical maladies which afflicted the French car in the pits. The Ariès had a fault with its ignition system, which had resulted in lengthy delays during driver changes, and on its 122nd lap the system failed completely, stranding Chassagne out on the circuit. With its only remaining rival now out of contention, Benjafield and Davies completed the remaining time of the race at greatly reduced speed, nursing the injured Bentley home. They won the race having completed only 1472 miles (2369 km), at an average of just over 61 mph (98 km/h), far fewer than the record, set the previous year, of 1586 miles (2552 km). Despite the comparatively slow overall pace, the dramatic events surrounding the White House crash meant that the race gained much wider press coverage than had been the case in previous years. In particular, Davis's honourable and heroic actions in searching the wreckage for his compatriots and rivals, before continuing the race in the teeth of adversity, gained him high praise. That such actions had been taken by a group of young men who had previously been much better known for their lavish parties and fast-living lifestyles only added to the popular appeal. Their pluck and determination seemed to embody much of what the British regarded as best in their national character, and on their return to the UK the team were greeted as national heroes. The Autocar magazine fuelled the Bentley team's reputation by hosting a grand post-race party at the Savoy Hotel in central London, at which Old Number 7 was guest of honour. A repaired Old Mother Gun (which had sat out the remainder of the race still in its ditch) returned to La Sarthe the following year, and won the race with a new record of 154 laps. Both Benjafield and Davis remained significant figures in British motorsport over the following few decades – Benjafield as founder of the British Racing Drivers' Club, and Davis as sports editor of The Autocar and one of the founders of the Veteran Car Club – but neither's racing career managed to equal their achievement at Le Mans in 1927.

Le Mans start, 1927.

Le Mans start, 1927.

Show Article

Wednesday 26th October 1927

90 years ago

Stuart de la Ru, Chairman of Bentley Motors Ltd in 1923, died aged just 44.

Show Article

Friday 9th December 1927

89 years ago

The Hon Mrs Victor Bruce and her husband, assisted by J.A. Joyce, started a 10-day endurance record in fog at Montlhéry, driving an AC Six fitted with a racing screen but minus roof, mudguards and lights. The average speed was 68 mph (109 km/h) over about 15,000 miles (24,140 km).‪ On 6 June 1929, she drove a Bentley 4½ Litre at Montlhéry for 24 hours, to capture the world record for single-handed driving, averaging over 89 miles per hour (143 km/h). She is said to be the first woman ever arrested for speeding, on her brother's motorcycle, appearing before Bow Street police court in 1911 in her teens. In every race she wore a skirt, blouse and a string of pearls, her trademark as a ladylike professional. While window shopping in London in June 1930 she was astonished to see an aeroplane and bought it to fly around the world because it had wings that could be folded and carried between the continents by ship. She bought a Blackburn Bluebird, took flying lessons with its maker Norman Blackburn, and set out after only 40 hours of flying experience.When reporters clamoured for her itinerary she refused, figuring that if she lost her way nobody would know, and rejoiced when the press called it a mystery flight. With only a small shoulder bag containing her husband's compass, her passport, logbook, a bottle of water, sun helmet, light cotton dresses and an evening frock, Mrs Bruce took off from Heston Field, now Heathrow Airport, near London, on September 25, 1930.Great Britain, still a colonial power, provided her with contacts to supply fuel, lodging and occasional rescue en route.Mrs Bruce became the first person to fly from England to Japan, the first to cross the Yellow Sea, and the first woman to circumnavigate the world alone. The press unkindly dubbed her the "flying housewife" but though she was overshadowed by her contemporaries, Amy Johnson and Amelia Earhart, Mrs Bruce has remained an inspirational heroine to womankind. Upon her return in triumph she resumed car racing, joined a flying circus, flew helicopters, and won many horse show ribbons. Mrs Bruce pioneered mid-air refuelling in Britain and was a major force in pre-war commercial aviation, establishing several freight and passenger airlines. Her factory rebuilt damaged RAF planes during the Second World War, and when peace returned she continued her entrepreneurial ways that made her a millionaire. She never lost her love of speed, driving a Ford Ghia Capri at 110mph aged 79, her fastest speed. At age 81 she "looped the loop" in a De Havilland Chipmunk monoplane.

Hon Mrs Victor Bruce

Hon Mrs Victor Bruce

Show Article

Sunday 17th June 1928

89 years ago

The same Bentley 41/2 that had crashed in 1927 won the Le Mans 24 hours with Woolf Barnato and Bernard Rubin at the wheel. Sometime before the end of the race the car cracked its chassis, causing the entire contents of the radiator to drain away - with temperatures off the clock, Barnato nursed the car over the line. One more lap and it's unlikely he'd have made it.

1928 24 Hours of Le Mans 24 winners Woolf Barnato and Bernard Rubin

1928 24 Hours of Le Mans 24 winners Woolf Barnato and Bernard Rubin

Show Article

Thursday 6th June 1929

88 years ago

The Hon Mrs Victor Bruce drove a Bentley 4½ Litre at Montlhéry for 24 hours, to capture the world record for single-handed driving, averaging over 89 mph (142 km/h).‪

Hon Mrs Victor Bruce

Hon Mrs Victor Bruce

Show Article

Sunday 16th June 1929

88 years ago

Bentleys swept the first four places at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Just 25 competitors started the race.The duel that pitted Bentley, victorious, against Stutz in 1928 was still fresh in everyone's mind. The British team was determined to continue its momentum, entering five cars. For the engine, Bentley continued to use their 4.4 litre powerplant, but also arrived with their secret weapon: the Speed Six, with a 6.6 litre monster of an engine, driven by Woolf "Babe" Barnato and Sir Henry "Tim" Birkin. Against the British fleet, the ten French cars were no match: for the B.N.C., D'Yrsan, S.A.R.A. and Tracta, did not produce enough power to match. To find the real competition, one had to look at the American contingency: Chrysler, Du Pont and Stutz were all hoping to make a splash. Come June 15 of that year, the competitors had barely started the race that the speeds clocked started to rise. Sir Henry "Tim" Birkin shattered the lap record, with an average speed of 133 kph. At the back of the pack, teams tried to organise an attack but the pace was so high, the race looked to be more difficult than ever. The race's first retirement was recorded after seven laps: the Bentley driven by Bernard Rubin, winner the previous year, and Earl Howe. Meanwhile, the cars continued on their hellish pace and mechanical woes took their toll. After thirty laps, a third of the competitors had already stopped, and that wouldn't be the end of it. As the hours continued to pass, the drivers had to stay concentrated on a circuit that looked more like a rally special than a race track: the trees along the road are painted white, so drivers knew to avoid them! There was no time to lose in the pits, in which only the drivers were allowed to work on the car! And despite team orders (even back then!) imposed by W.O. Bentley, the beautiful British cars flew to the finish.Bentley, once again, were the big winners, monopolising the first four finishing positions. The No.1 Speed Six of Captain Woolf "Babe" Barnato, who would win three times in three participations, and Sir Henry "Tim" Birkin, who was probably the fastest of the Bentley Boys, covered 2,843 kilometres with an average speed of 118.492 kph claiming its fourth victory, and third in a row, for the British marque. At the back, two French cars would finish the race. Two Tracta ended the day in ninth and tenth places, covering 2000 km with an average of just 85 kph!

Bentley team at 1929 24 Hours of Le Mans

Bentley team at 1929 24 Hours of Le Mans

Show Article

Saturday 12th October 1929

88 years ago

First running of the BRDC 500-mile race at Brooklands. It was won by Jack Barclay & Frank Clement driving a Bentley at an average speed of 107.32 mph.

Show Article

Monday 9th June 1930

87 years ago

S C H "Sammy" Davis established the first lap record to be recognised for the Mountains course at Brooklands. His supercharged Riley Nine lapped at 66.86 mph. As Sports Editor of The Autocar magazine, Davis aided his prewar motorcycling associate, W. O. Bentley, in starting his company. In 1921, Davis was invited by S. F. Edge to join Edge's Brooklands AC racing team, in between magazine deadlines, while in 1922 he was part of Aston Martin's effort to break no less than 32 world and class records at Weybridge.[3] Davis became one of the famous Bentley Boys of the late 1920s. He won the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright in 1927. Partnered with Dr. Benjafield, they covered 1,472.527 miles at an average speed of 61.354 mph (98.740 km/h). Motor Sport reported: "The victory, in spite of its accident of the crippled 3-litre Bentley driven by J.D. Benjafield and S.C.H. Davis, will always remain an epic, and even if the competition was not as keen as in the past, it is great thing to have won a race with a car which was damaged in the early part of the event." In 1928 he finished ninth overall at Le Mans on a 1½-litre front-wheel-drive Alvis. In 1925, Davis finished second at Le Mans with co-driver Jean Chassagne in a 3-litre twin cam Sunbeam, covering 1,343.2 mi (2,161.7 km), some 45 mi (72 km) behind the winner. Davis piloted a 3-litre Bentley at Le Mans in 1926, crashing in an attempt to take the lead only twenty minutes from the flag.[3] On 7 May 1927, Davis finished second in the Essex Car Club Six Hour race at Brooklands on an Alvis 12/50.[9] At Le Mans that year, Davis became the stuff of racing legend when, at the wheel of the 3-litre Bentley "Old Number Seven", he skidded into a pileup at White House and saw the chassis twist, but nevertheless went on to win.[3] Davis would enter the 1928 Le Mans, coming ninth at the wheel of a front wheel drive 1,500 cc (92 cu in) Alvis shared with Urquhart-Dykes. He would also come second at the 1929 Saorstat Cup, Phoenix Park, and at the Brooklands Double-Twelve (24 hours in two shifts, because the track was prohibited from holding racing at night) and 500 mi (800 km). In 1929, Davis finished second overall, and class winner, in the Brooklands Double Twelve on a 4,398 c.c. Bentley. He finished second again in 1930 on a 5,597 c.c. Bentley. At Le Mans in 1930 he met with misfortune, when his goggles were shattered by a stone, forcing his retirement; there were concerns he might be blinded.[12] On 4 October 1930, Davis was partnered with the Earl of March in an Austin Seven and they won the B.R.D.C. 500-mile race at Brooklands outright, at an average speed of 83.41 mph (134.24 km/h).[14] Also at Brooklands that year, Davis set several Class H records in the Seven, including a flying kilometre of 89.08 mph (143.36 km/h).[14] (For the kilometre, his co-driver was Charles Goodacre.) His efforts for the year earned him a BRDC Gold Star.[14] He also entered a Daimler Double-Six sleeve-valve V12 at Monte Carlo. He had a spectacular accident in a low-chassis Invicta S-type at Brooklands in 1931, skidding into a telegraph pole. In 1933 he finished ninth at Le Mans in an Aston Martin. At the 1935 Tourist Trophy, Davis' Singer Nine crashed due to a broken steering ball-joint. He hit Norman Black's Nine, which had crashed for the same reason at the same place.[14] Despite the severity of the crash, Davis was unhurt. On 15 April 1937, Davis drove a Frazer-Nash BMW round Brooklands, covering more than 100 mi (160 km) in an hour, at an average speed of 102.22 mph (164.51 km/h)[16] The same year, his Wolseley earned "a special award for being the best-equipped car to finish". He died on his 94th birthday.

S C H

S C H "Sammy" Davis

Show Article

Saturday 21st June 1930

87 years ago

(21st - 22nd) Boring though the race was, were it not for W O Bentley’s race strategy, it is entirely possible that Bentley would not have won Le Mans. It faced the might of the works Mercedes team and, in Rudi Caracciola, Germany's greatest driver until the era of Michael Schumacher. Happily for Bentley, Mercedes had based its plans to beat the Bentleys on the latter's pace from the 1929 race; and as Mercedes would discover to its considerable cost, this gave little indication of the speeds at which the Bentleys could travel if they had to. The first surprise for Caracciola came on the third lap of the race when Tim Birkin, driving one of his beloved supercharged 'Blowers' came past at 125mph with two tyres on the grass and a third in tatters. Then the battle was taken up by Barnato in the same Speed Six with which he had won in 1929. It took many hours but by forcing the Mercedes to use its clutch engaged supercharger more and more of the time, it was eventually broken. Barnato and his teammate, Glen Kidston swept to Bentley's historic fifth and most recent win.At first it seems hard to see why all this matters so much to Bentley today. All the Bentley Boys are long since gone and the cars they raced then have little more than four wheels in common with those they race today. And yet it does matter, desperately. And spend any time at Bentley and you know it goes deeper than the veneer of historical awareness touted by most car manufacturers today. The cars may now been built in Crewe rather than Cricklewood but talk to anyone who works there and you will find a fundamental and unshakeable belief that racing is as much part of Bentley as the winged 'B' mascot. And that's odd because, before last year, no works Bentley had raced for 71 years.

Bentley Blower 1930

Bentley Blower 1930

Show Article

Saturday 21st June 1930

87 years ago

British cars took the first 4 places at the Le Mans Grand Prix. First was Sir Henry Birkin and Glen Kidson in the Bentley Speed Six, followed by Frank Clement and Richard Watney in another Bentley. Third and fourth places were claimed by Brian Lewis and Hugh Eaton and Johnny Hindmarsh and Tim Rose-Richards, respectively driving Talbot AO90s. The pairing of Odette Siko and Marguerite Mareuse would go in history as the first women to compete and finish in the race.

Tim Birkin - Le Mans 1930

Tim Birkin - Le Mans 1930

Show Article

Sunday 22nd June 1930

87 years ago

Woolf Barnato and Glen Kidston won the Le Mans 24-hour race in their Bentley Speed Six, the fourth consecutive win for the marque bin this event. Barnato, in his third and last appearance, recorded his third victory to complete a perfect record.

1930 Le Mans 24 Hours - 'Bentley Boys' Glen Kidston and Woolf Barnato celebrate victory

1930 Le Mans 24 Hours - 'Bentley Boys' Glen Kidston and Woolf Barnato celebrate victory

Show Article

Thursday 26th June 1930

87 years ago

Frederick Henry Royce pioneering car manufacturer, who with Charles Stewart Rolls founded the Rolls-Royce company, was knighted by King George V. Royce earned a reputation for perfection and quality, one that lives on in the continued popularity among the rich and famous of the Rolls Royce and Bentley cars. This stemmed from his own attention to detail. The company founded by Royce acquired the Bentley in 1931. His planes powered Allied planes in World War I. In the World War II, engines bult by his firm made a material contribution to the war effort as they powered the Spitfire and the Hawker Hurricane in their Battle of Britain confrontation against the German Messerschmitt and Junkers. Royce did not have the advantage of a wealthy family or the privilege of an elite education, but created one of the best known automobiles through hard work, and by applying his engineering skills gained as an apprentice on the factory floor. Although not usually regarded as a racing car, Rolls Royce engines famously set several world speed records in cars driven by Sir Malcolm Campbell. As the largest supplier of engines to civilian aircraft in the world, the company that builds on Royce's legacy facilitates global travel and global exchange in today's world.

Frederick Henry Royce

Frederick Henry Royce

Show Article

Wednesday 15th October 1930

87 years ago

The Bentley 8 Litre was announced at the Olympia Motor Show in London. The 8 Litre was W.O. Bentley’s finest grand tourer and was also the last car he designed for Bentley Motors. Launched in 1930, it was the largest and most luxurious Bentley of its time. Its launch coincided with the worldwide depression caused by the Wall Street Crash. Demand for the car slowed and the company encountered financial difficulties, leading to a change in ownership. As a result, only 100 examples of the 8 Litre were built between 1930 and 1932.
 At the time of the 8 Litre’s launch, W.O. declared: “I have always wanted to produce a dead silent 100mph car, and now I think we have done it.”
Such was the power of the car’s 7,983 cc, straight-6 engine, that the company guaranteed it would be capable of at least 100mph, regardless of the chosen coachwork.

Bentley 8 Litre (1930)

Bentley 8 Litre (1930)

Show Article

Friday 10th July 1931

86 years ago

The Bentley Company found it could no longer meet its financial obligations and, with Chairman Woolf Barnato unwilling to continue baling it out, it was put into receivership. Following a brief battle with Napier, Rolls-Royce, hiding behind the British Equitable Central bought the Company and its assets for £125,275.

Bentley badge and hood ornament

Bentley badge and hood ornament

Show Article

Saturday 11th July 1931

86 years ago

The London Life Assurance Co applied for a receiver for Bentley Motors, as Woolf Barnate, the principle investor and Chairman had refused to meet mortgages totally £65,000. Rolls Royce pre-empted Napier Motors in acquiring Bentley and from then on the marque moved towards being a Rolls with a different badge and grille.

Show Article

Friday 20th November 1931

86 years ago

Rolls Royce purchased Bentley Motors for £125,275, thwarting an attempt by Napier to acquire the assets. W.O. Bentley remained with the company.

Show Article

Monday 14th December 1931

85 years ago

Rolls-Royce acquired the much smaller rival car maker Bentley after the latter's finances failed to weather the onset of the depression. From soon after World War II until 2002 standard Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars were often identical apart from the radiator grille and minor details.

Show Article

Thursday 24th March 1932

85 years ago

Sir Henry Birkin raised the Brooklands Outer Circuit lap record to 137.96 mph in the 4.5 litre Bentley Blower (Brooklands Battleship), a record which stood for another two years before being beaten by John Cobb driving the 24 litre Napier Railton.

Henry 'Tim' Birkin (1931)

Henry 'Tim' Birkin (1931)

Show Article

Saturday 22nd April 1933

84 years ago

Sir Frederich Henry Royce (70), joint founder of Rolls Royce Ltd., died in West Wittering, West Sussex, England The first Rolls-Royce car, the Rolls-Royce 10 hp, was unveiled at the Paris Salon in December 1904. In 1906 Rolls and Royce formalized their partnership by creating Rolls-Royce Limited, with Royce appointed chief engineer and works director. Biography Frederick Henry Royce was born in Alwalton, Huntingdonshire, near Peterborough, the son of James and Mary Royce (maiden name King) and was the youngest of their five children. His family ran a flour mill which they leased from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners but the business failed and the family moved to London. His father died in 1872 when Royce was only nine and he had to go out to work selling newspapers and delivering telegrams, having had only one year of formal schooling. In 1878 he started an apprenticeship with the Great Northern Railway company at its works in Peterborough thanks to the financial help of an aunt. After three years the money ran out and, after a short time with a tool making company in Leeds, he returned to London and joined the Electric Light and Power Company. He moved to their Liverpool office in 1882 working on street and theatre lighting as their chief engineer. Founds F. H Royce & Co. In 1884 with £20 of savings he entered a partnership with Ernest Claremont, a friend who contributed £50, and they started a business making domestic electric fittings in a workshop in Cooke Street, Hulme, Manchester called F H Royce and Company. In 1894 they started making dynamos and electric cranes and F.H. Royce & Company was registered as a limited liability company. The company was re-registered in 1899 as Royce Ltd with a public share flotation and a further factory opened in Trafford Park, Manchester. Birth of the Rolls Royce With his fascination for all things mechanical he became interested in motor cars and bought first, in 1901, a small De Dion and in 1902 or 1903 a 1901 model two cylinder Decauville. This did not meet his high standards and so he first improved it and then decided to manufacture a car of his own which he did in a corner of the workshop in 1904. Two more cars were made. Of the three, which were called Royces and had two cylinder engines, one was given to Ernest Claremont and the other sold to one of the other directors, Henry Edmunds. Edmunds was a friend of Charles Rolls who had a car showroom in London selling imported models and showed him his car and arranged the historic meeting between Rolls and Royce at the Midland Hotel Manchester. Rolls was impressed and agreed to take all the cars Royce could make provided they had at least four cylinders and were called Rolls-Royce. The first Rolls-Royce car was made in December 1904 and in 1906 they joined forces to become Rolls-Royce Ltd. Royce & Company remained in business as a separate company making cranes until 1932 when it was bought by Herbert Morris of Loughborough. The last Royce designed crane was built in 1964. Orders for cars quickly outstripped the firm's capacity to build them. He had always worked hard and was renowned for never eating proper meals which resulted in him being taken ill first in 1902 and again in 1911. He had a house built at Le Canadel in the south of France and a further home at Crowborough, later moving to West Wittering, both in East Sussex, England, but his health deteriorated further. He had a major operation in London in 1912 and was given only a few months to live by the doctors. In spite of this he returned to work but was prevented from visiting the factory, which had moved to larger premises, fitted out to detailed plans by Royce, in Derby in 1908. He insisted on checking all new designs and engineers and draughtsmen had to take the drawings to be personally checked by him, a daunting prospect with his well known perfectionism. He also continued to do design work himself, particularly on the aircraft engines that the company started to make from 1914 in response to the needs of the British military during World War I. At the time, Royce was a consultant to the British Army. Engines built by Royce provided "over half the power used in the air war by the allies." His Eagle engine also powered the first trans-Atlantic flight and the first flight between England and Australia. His engine achieved the world speed record several times. Speed Records Rolls Royce engines achieved speed records on land and in the air. In 1931, a Rolls Royce entry in the International Schneider Trophy contest set a new world air speed record of over 400mph. This was the first of several air speed records. On February, 22, 1923 at Daytona Beach, Florida Sir Malcolm Campbell set the world land-speed record driving his Rolls Royce powered Blue Bird. On March 2 and September 3, 1935, Campbell broke his own record again driving a Rolls Royce powered vehicle. Legacy Sir Henry Royce's legacy is represented by the continued reputation of the Rolls Royce car for quality and style. Ownership of the car continues to be regarded as a symbol of personal status. In 1931, the company added the Bentley to its production line, another luxury car and status symbol. Rolls Royce's standard of engineering is so high that cars remain valuable despite their age. Both Rolls and Bentley chassis were constructed to the taste and requirements of individual clients, not mass produced, which added to their desirability and attractiveness. The company founded by Royce would expand its operations in the twentieth century from luxury cars to the manufacturer of aircraft engines, for which it earned a comparable reputation. During World War II the company made the engines, the Merlin, for the famous Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane aircraft, both of which helped to win the Battle of Britain, a major confrontation. It was manufacture of the Merlin that led to the Company's development into a major aircraft manufacturer. In 1944, the first jet engine to enter military service was designed and built by Rolls Royce. The automobile and aircraft operations are now run by separate companies. The aircraft manufacturer is the second largest supplier of engines to civilian airlines and the largest supplier of engines to the military.

Frederich Henry Royce

Frederich Henry Royce

Show Article

Monday 2nd October 1933

84 years ago

The Bentley 3.5 Litre was introduced, the first of the marque produced by the Rolls Royce owned Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd.

Show Article

Monday 5th August 1935

82 years ago

Oliver Bertram, driving the 8-litre special Barnato-Hassan Bentley racing car, set the all-time Brooklands outer lap record with a time of 69.85 seconds, attaining an average speed of 142.60 miles per hour (229.49 km/h). However this record stood for only 2 months 2 days, as on 7 October John Cobb regained the title in his Napier Railton with a speed of 143.44 miles per hour (230.84 km/h). Bertram won the Easter Short handicap race in 1935 and with John Cobb took first place in 1937 in the BRDC 500 Kilometres Race – a shortened version of the 500 Miles Race. He was awarded the British Racing Drivers' Club gold star twice – in 1935 and 1938.

Barnato-Hassan Bentley

Barnato-Hassan Bentley

Show Article

Thursday 15th October 1936

81 years ago

The 30th International Motor Exhibition opened in London, England, at Olympia. The following review of the show appeared in The Spectator the following day: "One of the few real surprises of the show is the new 12- cylinder Lagonda, designed by Mr. W. 0. Bentley. It was only announced a week before the opening, a very brief warning of what is only the second British Twelve in history, apart. from the sleeve-valved Daimlers built to the order; of the late . King. The new Lagonda has its cylifsders set' ià the two banks of six each, V-fashion. The bore and stroke are 75 by 84.5 (very nearly "square "), the cubic content is 41 litres, the rated power 42 and the tax 2.31 10s. It has a four-speed synchro-meshed gearbox, with central change, and it is built in two chassis lengths, 11 ft. and 11 ft. 6 in., both with a 60-inch track. There is independent front,wheel springing and in most respects the design follows the most recent trend. Another new model which might almost be called a new car is the 8-cylinder Sunbeam, a notable addition to the respectable list of British luxury cars. It is two years or so since any Sunbeams have been built, and there is no question but • that the company are re-entering the market with a striking car. The engine has its cylinders in line, but in spite of that it is one of the shortest units of its power made. It is much shorter and more compact than either the last 8-cylinder Sunbeam or the better-known 3-litre Six, which, with the original Bentley and the " 30-98 " Vauxhall, led the world in high-performance ears. The power is a nominal 30, an actual 150 hp., the cubic content being 41 litres, from a bore and stroke of 80 by 112. It is a beautiful piece of work, admirably laid out and superbly finished. The chassis costs £750 and £800, according to length, and the complete car costs from £1,195 upwards. The new 6 h.p. Fiat is interesting in that it is the smallest 4-cylinder car in existence andAprohably the. smallest eves made. The bore and stroke are 52 by 67, a shade over 2 in. by 21 in., which gives a capacity of 570 c.c. and a 13.11.p. of 13. It has a. 4-speed gear box with synehro-meshed third and fourth, and except for its minute dimensions the whole ear is exactly like any other. It is, as it were, a made!, the only difference, which incidentally is not noticeable with the bon- net down, is that the radiator and axle are behind the engine and-not in front. 'A single transverse spring provides independent suspension in front, while the rear axle is sprung on ordinary quarter ellipties, and the whole is assisted by hydraulic shock absorbers. The wheel base is 6 ft. Olin., the track 3 ft. 71 in. and 3 ft. 61 in. in rear. The body is a 2-seated saloon-with the usual " occasional " accommodation behind, and, considering the very small .dimensions - of every- thing, entrance should be fairly easy through the very wide door. Apart from these new models, the new editions of existing cars all show that steady advance which distinguishes the whole Exhibition. "Armstrong Siddeley make an impressive display with _no . fewer. than nine cars, -two examples of the 14 three of the 17 h.p., three of the 20-25 and one of the Siddeley special. The particular improvements which apply to all these models include increased power and more vivid acceleration. There is no-noticeable change in any of them, but there is. a better single-plate clutch which is stated to give very smooth. engagement for the pre-selective gear- box, and all models now have' centralised chassis-lubrication and permanent jacks; In all these cars, the back seats are well forward oft he axle. Of the cars shown I like best the 14 h.p. 4-window-saloon, the 17 h.p. touring saloon, and the 20-25 h.p. Atalanta. saloon. These are all excellent examples of first-class British coach-work of plain and unostentatious design. Nine Austins in-all are shown, the 20 11.p. Mayfair limousine, the 10 h.p. York saloon, the 14 h.p. Goodwood saloon, the 12 h.p. Ascot saloon, the 10 h.p. cabriolet and. aaleon, and cabriolet and saloon on the 7 h.p. The principal changes in all the Austin cars is in their bodywork, which no*: has decidedly flowing lines:- Perhaps the model that 'is likely to be the star turn of the stand is the new 14 h.p. six-cylinder "• Goodwood " saloon, a very good-looking car that sells for £235. I had a special opportunity of examining this car when if was shown at the first " Television Motor Show" at Alexandra Palace last week, and I was impressed then with its sensible design and the comfort of its body. The newest Austin product is the " Conliay " cabriolet, shown on the Ten chassis. There is plenty of room in it and the hood can be left open at full or half-dropped positions. This car costs £182 10s. The New Ascot" Twelve has a 4-cylinder engine of 11.9 h.p., mounted on rubber, and looks excellent value at £210. Altogether a good display. Daimler are showing seven different models, of which perhaps the 15 h.p. is the most interesting, in that the power of the engine has been now increased to 17 h.p. Of the two examples shown I imagine the sports saloon at £475 will attract the most attention. Its lines are excellent. There is a Light Twenty with a 6-window saloon, a light straight 8 with a sports saloon (this is the car that has done 94 m.p.h. at Brooklands), and a decidedly impressive example of the 41 litre straight 8 with a limousine body by Hooper, costing £1,510. With the exception of the 15 h.p. there are no changes worth mentioning in the Daimler design for 1937. The chief exhibits on the Rolls-Royce stand are naturally the new Phantom III 12-cylinder, which made its first appear- ance last year. The engine of this, it will be remembered, consists of two banks of 6 cylinders each ; the treasury rating of this is 50.7 h.p. Minor improvements have been made throughout, but in general the car remains the same. It is shown in two types of limousine costing £2,605 and £2,650. The other exhibits are two limousines on the 20.25 h.p. 6-cylinder chassis, one by Thrupp & Maberly and the other by Park Ward, costing 11,572 and £1,767 respectively. In this chassis also there is no change to report. Rovers are showing their new 16 h.p. saloon and their new speed model, which is a 20 h.p., the remaining cars shown being a Ten, two Twelves and two Fourteens. Very little change has been made in the Rover chassis for this year, and what there is is chiefly in the line. The radiator guard has been brought a little further forwards and, as far as I can see, there is rather more room in the bodywork. The roof and the rear panel cantours of the Ten have been redesigned and the front door is now hung on the centre pillar. The prices of the cars Shown arc, tha-Ten-A248, the two Twelves 1285 and £295, the two Fourteens £305 and £315, the Sixteens 1345 and 1355. and the sports, a good-looking car finished in two shades of greed,: at £415. Vauxhall's new car, the chief exhibit, is their 25 h.p., which sells at the remarkably low price of £298. The 6-cylinder engine has a bore and stroke of 81-94 by 19L6, with a cubic capacity of 3215 c.c., and a very remarkabl' performiuice is claimed for it. The maximum speed- is stated to be 80 ' while the claimed acceleration is as follows. In top speed it takes 7 1/5 seconds to reach 30 m.p.h.'from 10 m.p.h., and 53/5 seconds on third speed ; 50 m.p.h. is reached in 16 seconds, using all gears. The Vauxhall independent suspension is used in front, and, in general, all the familiar features of the make are incorporated. The makers consider that this car is the fastest they have made since the famous " 30;98 " of distinguished memory. The chief exhibit of interest of the Lanehester stand is the new 18 h.p., which is shown with a saloon No. 581. The bore and stroke of its engine are now 72 by 105, which gives it a treasury rating of. just -under g0 h.p. The price complete of the ear shown is.£595. Another very interesting-looking ear, which I hope to try for report in The Spectator in a few days, is the 14 h.p. 6-cylinder " Roadrider." This has a bore and stroke of 00 by 90, with a wheel base of 8 ft. 7 ins., and sells as shown on the stand for £330. The 11 h.p. remains much the same as last year, and an example of it with a neat saloon body is shown. To experienced motorists, one of the main points of interest in the Morris display will be the fact that practically no alterations have been found necessary—or if they have the makers have not considered it worth while to mention them. A strict adherence to approved design is always, to my mind, the best advertisement any car can have. The entire range of the six Morris cars is shown from the £120 8 h.p. open tourer to the £280 25 h.p. saloon. The new features of the 8 h.p. include a spring steering-wheel, a carburettor silencer, a fume exhaust-pipe and needle bearing universal joints. The 10 h.p. and the 12 h.p. are fitted with a permanent jacking system, the accommodation in the rear compartment in the saloon has been improved and a new, type, of external oil filter, which can be easily dismantled for cleaning, has been adopted. Officially speaking, the centre of attraction on the Riley staiakii-nep. Monaco, which has been reintroduced after a lapse of a year. Bodywork has been considerably improved and there are six windows instead of four. For my part I consider the 14 litre Falcon, which I recently tried for The Spectator, of greater interest if only because it is more powerful. This chassis is shown with the Falcon and Adelphi saloons, the Lynx tourer and the two-seater Spright. Perhaps the most attractive-looking car on the stand is the 15 h.p. 6- cylinder Kestrel, which has what is called aero line coachwork. The new V8 Ninety is shown with a very agreeable saloon body finished in what looks like transparent green. , : All the Humber models, the Snipe, the Pullman, the 18 h.p. and the 12 h.p., are represented in the eight cars displayed. While it is not exact to say that the :bigger Humber is a new „ car, the engine's dimensions have been increased, bringing the capacity from 34 litres to just over 4 litres, and- the rated - h.p. to 27; and the 18 h.p. -has _now-: a 2-ilitre ingine.1 In. Other respects the design of the HUMber remains much the same as before, the two larger cars having:the even-keel front- . Wheel suspension, while the 12 h.p. is fitted -With -the normal type. The Snipe and 18 h.p. can be fitted with the de Nora-am- -vine quick-changing gear which was recently described in The Spectator, while the 12 h.p. uses the normal type. The display of cars is a notable one; the Snipe is shown as a Pullman limousine, the Pullman Sedanca de ville as a saloon, and as a sports saloon, the last being fitted with the de Normanville gear-box. The 18 h.p. is shown as a 4-window saloon with a division and as a particularly attractive grey foursome coupe, while the two 12 h.p. are the standard saloon, which has been reduced in price to 1258, and the Vogue, which is now sold for £298. The latter, it will be remembered, was what is called '7 inspired " by'Molvneux, the dressmaker. • B.S.A. again show their Scout front-wheel drive 10 h.p. car in six different forms. - There are no differences between this tear's and last. year's model except in detaiLand,also in a.slight increase in power. Steering has been greatly improved as I have been able to prove for myself, and, all things considered, I regard this car as one of the most interesting in the Show. One regrets: that the idea has not been; adapted to a larger machine. There is a stripped chassis; that very rare and-wel- come thing in these days, two 2-seaters, two 4-seaters, and a , coupe de luxe. The prices range from £150 10s. to £189. A' Point of interest is that for an extra five guineas twin car- burettors can be fitted to any model. : Ford has his usual impressive display at the Albert Hall; a_ display. _of _such_variety...this music by a band called the V-8 Shadow Symphony Or- : iiiestra,"1--that there. in some -danger- of the. principal per- forthers being overlooked. The new car this year is the 22 h.p. V8, of which several attractive examples are shown. The original 30 h.p. V8, the Eight and the Ten, are displayed in various forms. 4 As in tlie case of the.standard productions, the special coachwork shcivis signs. of steady progress. Among the problem, that have been studied more particularly since last -year is sound-isolation, and there are various ingenioui methods by which noise- is kept away from the inside of the body. In some cases much trouble has been taken to reduce as far as possible the noise caused by wind-rush---a problem as difficult of solution as any, one would imagine. Ventilation has also advanced a good. deal - and it may be taken that from now on the ordinary well-built closed car will be free from " draughts and always fresh. -Several; leaves seein to have been taken out of the American coachbuilders' book in- the matter of the disposal Of luggage, and throughout the special coachwork section you will see' quite remarkably neat methods of carrying considerable quantities of suitcases and other kWard things protected from the weather and withoUt detracting from The 'lines of the car. These lines, by the way, are perhaps the best we have seen since the insane craze for what was called streamlining reached its peak and began to subside. There are _ very few examples of absurd designs and, on the ,other hand, nearly all the English coachwork has returned to dignity. There is a certain lightness of touch even on the largest and heaviest cars, which is very pleasing to the eye. Park Ward show some attractive work on Daimler, Bentley and Rolls-Royce chassis, Of Which I thought the four-wiudg, :nv saloon on the Bentley the most interesting from the. con- structional point of view. The frame, usually made of wood, is in this case made of 22-guage aircraft steel. The company show a division window which is decidedly novel. When the winding handle is turned the window rises Eat with the rOof where it is concealed by a flap. It is extremely neat and one of its advantages is that it gives more leg-room. Barker and Company show. some fine examples of their best Work on one straight-8 44 litre Daimler chassis, on two Rolls-Royces and one Bentley. Of these, the touring limousine on the 12-cylinder Rolls-Royce is perhaps the most striking, bat the Sriorts on the 44 litre Bentley, painted in light yellow, a colour that will remind_ old nuttorista_Qf cheerful days long past, runs it very close. The limousine has a special 'compartment for golf -Clubs which is likely to be one of the most popular innovations in coachwork generally. • Hooper and Company, show -a very agreeable sports saloon on a 25 h.p. Rolls-Royce, finished in grey, and a cream-and- black " Sedanca " on a 40/50 chassis. The Burlington Carriage Company have fitted an Armstrong Siddeley with a Town Brougham of attractive design, and Martin Walter has an excellently designed cabriolet on a Daimler-light straight 8. I do.not think there are any more open cars than there were last year, but there are quite a number on various stands, and most of them are certainly viry alluring.":.:In-the medern open 4-seater you sit consider- ably lower down than in the old-fashioned type, and, with Proper screening, there is no reason why,.in any weather but a raging north-east gale,--the 'occupants' Should not be well , preteeted. *There is an '- all=weitber. "tourer on two small WOlseley chassis Which' will explain what I mein.. Vanden Plas show an interesting :example of the pillarlesa saloon on the new Alvis 4.3: litre. ,--Jt is a matter. for some surprise that this design has not progressed any faster. It is not of any great importance on a big car, but on a little one it makes all the difference in the world. There is every reason to be well satisfied with the trend of coachwork design as well as with the improved workmanship. In spite of the fact that punctures and bursts-seldom happen to modern cars, old-timers (perhaps for the good of their souls)- are generallYitill slightly obsessed' by their possibility,. , or, if you prefer it, suffer a distinct inferiority complex on the subject. A de,ad'tyre 'will immobilise the best car as completely if not as long as will a petrol-shortage. At every motor-show therefore I slink round to that part which .houses the tyres, beautiful, new, tightly blown-up, obviously good for a. year's driving, and feast lay eyes on them. It is a senseless procedure, but I like it. This year I-am specially taken with,the Dunlop show, where they have all kinds Of dark, gleaming tyres toeheer me up, including the new " Cruiser " cover and- the _" Sports," which has a ferocious-looking.tread. Here, too, you can see all the kinds of wheels Used, centre-lock; ordinary detachable, Magna and disc, Also a very intriguing pressure-gauge."

British Motor Show at Olympia, London, 1936

British Motor Show at Olympia, London, 1936

Show Article

Monday 27th February 1939

78 years ago

The Bentley 'Scalded Cat', with experimental straight-8 engine mounted in a standard Mark V chassis, was completed.

Bentley 'Scalded Cat'

Bentley 'Scalded Cat'

Show Article

Wednesday 23rd October 1946

71 years ago

Rolls Royce Ltd., completed their post post World War II car, a Bentley Mark VI standard saloon.

Show Article

Wednesday 18th December 1946

70 years ago

Austin Princess limousine was announced. The first Austin Princess A120 was launched in 1947 as the most expensive flagship model in the Austin range at the same time as the A110 Austin Sheerline (designed during the war) which body was built on the same chassis at Longbridge, the A110 produced 10 less horsepower being fitted with a single carburetter. Both cars always had bodies that were massive and heavy in appearance. The Princess (model code A120) featured a body by the coachbuilder Vanden Plas and was a large saloon or limousine. The car was offered with two distinct interiors. The "DM" or limousine type had a sliding glass partition between the driver and rear passengers plus picnic tables, and the "DS" was the saloon. The saloons were successful as a top-executive car, many Princesses (and Sheerlines, for that matter) were bought for civic ceremonial duties or by hire companies as limousines for hire. The standard saloon weighed almost two tons, was 16 ft 9 inches long and 6 feet 1¼ inches wide on a 10-foot 1¼-inch (the short) wheelbase. The Princess model was updated over the years through Mark I (A120), Mark II (A135) and Mark III versions, the largest variation being the introduction of the long-wheelbase version in 1952 with a longer body and seven seats: apart from that the bodywork and running gear hardly changed, nor did the 4-litre straight-6 engine. The radiator was fairly upright in old-fashioned style and the car had separate front wings, but these cars were always more modern in style than the equivalent-sized Bentley or Rolls-Royce and, for the saloon, the price was little more than two-thirds of the Rolls-Royce. From August 1957 the Austin part of the badging was dropped so it could be sold by Nuffield dealerships. From May 1960, the Vanden Plas name was added in front of "Princess".

Austin Princess A120

Austin Princess A120

Show Article

Tuesday 16th September 1947

70 years ago

The Cisitalia 202 Gran Sport coup with a trend-setting body designed by Carrozzeria Pininfarina was introduced at the Fiera de Milano, Italy. The Pininafarina design was honored by New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1951. In the MOMA's first exhibit on automotive design, called "Eight Automobiles", the Cisitalia was displayed with seven other cars (1930 Mercedes-Benz SS tourer, 1939 Bentley saloon with coachwork by James Young, 1939 Talbot-Lago Figoni teardrop coupé, 1951 Willys Jeep, 1937 Cord 812 Custom Beverly Sedan, 1948 MG TC, and the 1941 Lincoln Continental coupe). It is still part of the MoMA permanent collection.[2] It was not, however, a commercial success; because it was coachbuilt, it was expensive, and only 170 were produced between 1947 and 1952. Most cars were coachbuilt by Pinin Farina with some by Vignale and Stabilimenti Farina.Building on aerodynamic studies developed for racing cars, the Cisitalia offers one of the most accomplished examples of coachwork conceived as a single shell. The hood, body, fenders, and headlights are integral to the continuously flowing surface, rather than added on. Before the Cisitalia, the prevailing approach followed by automobile designers when defining a volume and shaping the shell was to treat each part of the body as a separate, distinct element—a box to house the passengers, another for the motor, and headlights as appendages. In the Cisitalia, there are no sharp edges. Swellings and depressions maintain the overall flow and unity, creating a sense of speed. The 202 is featured in the 2011 video game L.A. Noire by Rockstar Games and Team Bondi as a secret car called the Cisitalia Coupe.

Cisitalia 202 Gran Sport coupe

Cisitalia 202 Gran Sport coupe

Show Article

Tuesday 27th July 1948

69 years ago

(Joel) Woolf Barnato (53), winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1928, 1929 and 1930 in his only three entries in the race, and Director of both Bentley Motors Ltd and Bentley Motors (1931) Ltd, died following a medical operation.

Woolf Barnato

Woolf Barnato

Show Article

Monday 17th January 1949

68 years ago

The first Volkswagen Beetle, designed by Ferdinand Porsche at the request of Adolf Hitler, arrived in the US from Germany. The idea had been for a small saloon that could carry a German family of five flat-out at 100kph along the country’s new autobahns. It was to have cost 990 Reich Marks, which represented 31 weeks’ pay for the average German worker in 1936, making it cheaper than the £100 Fords being made in England (31 weeks pay for the average British worker in 1936 was about £100). To buy one, however, members of the Volk had to join a special savings scheme run by the organisation KdF (Kraft durch Freude, or Strength through Joy); from 1938, the Volkswagen was officially named the KdF Wagen. There was little joy, though, in rival engineering camps. The Czech car company, Tatra, claimed that Porsche had infringed several design patents, notably those by Hans Ledwinka, an Austrian engineer much admired by Hitler. Tatra took legal action, but Hitler invaded Austria, seized its factory and banned Ledwinka’s VW-like prototypes from public show. In 1961, however, VW made a substantial payment to Tatra through an out-of-court settlement. By then, though, Volkswagen had conquered the world. In 1945, factory and car had been saved by Major Ivan Hirst, a British army officer and engineer. Hirst had witnessed first hand the sheer quality of VW-based military vehicles during the war and believed that, once in production, a peacetime Beetle would have an appeal well beyond Germany. Sold to the United States in a brilliant ‘Think Small’ advertising campaign launched in 1959 and devised by the New York agency Doyle Dane Bernbach, the Beetle became the biggest selling foreign-made car in America throughout the ’60s. It went on to sell in various guises, as a soft-top, a sportscar – the svelte, if unhurried VW Karmann Ghia – and as an interminably fashionable Camper van. A ‘New Beetle’, based on the floorplan of the VW Golf, the Beetle’s replacement, went on sale in 1998, although this was always something of a mechanical dress-up doll rather than the real thing. These days, and despite global recession, there is a lot more money in the world, so the elemental nature of the honest-to-goodness Beetle will seem a little too severe for those who dream of buying, let’s say, a Bentley. But, in an almost comic turn of events, Volkswagen now owns Bentley. However impressive, an elite Bentley can never be a People’s Car. Few cars since have ever really lived up to the name, one devised by a brilliant Bohemian engineer and a brutal Austrian-born German dictator seventy years and more than twenty million air-cooled cars ago.

Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen Beetle

Show Article

Friday 30th June 1950

67 years ago

The first four-seat Triumph Mayflower, noted for its razor-edge styling, rolled off the production line. The 1.25-litre, 4-cylinder, side-valve engine was capable of 65 mph and cost £374 (plus £104 18s 4d purchase tax). The Mayflower used a version of the pre-war Standard Flying Ten's side-valve engine updated by having an aluminium cylinder head and single Solex carburettor. The engine developed 38 bhp (28 kW) at 4200 rpm. The 3-speed gearbox, with column shift, came from the Standard Vanguard and had synchromesh on all the forward ratios. There was independent suspension at the front using coil springs and telescopic dampers, but a solid axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, also based on the Vanguard's design, was at the rear. Lockheed hydraulic brakes were fitted. The Mayflower was the first car with unitary construction to be manufactured either by Standard or by the Triumph company that existed before Standard bought its assets. The body was designed by Leslie Moore, chief body designer of Mulliners of Birmingham with input from Standard's Walter Belgrove. The body shells were built by Fisher and Ludlow at Castle Bromwich, Birmingham. The Mayflower had traditional "razor edge" styling similar to that of the Triumph Renown imitating the style then still used by Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars. Standard's managing director Sir John Black believed this would be especially appealing to the American market. One advantage of the car's upright styling was that it could seat four people in comfort despite its small size,although there were complaints about the rear seat being constrained by the rear axle and being too narrow as a result. A Mayflower tested by British magazine The Motor in 1950 had a top speed of 62.9 mph (101.2 km/h) and could accelerate from 0–50 mph (80 km/h) in 26.6 seconds. A fuel consumption of 28.3 miles per imperial gallon (10.0 L/100 km; 23.6 mpg‑US) was recorded. The test car cost £505 including taxes.

Show Article

Sunday 24th June 1951

66 years ago

Peter Walker and Peter Whitehead in their works-entered Jaguar C-type, claimed the first Le Mans win for the marque. This year marked the real start of the modern era of sports-car racing, with the arrival of Jaguar’s purpose-built racer, and the first showing for Porsche and Lancia. It was also the final time for Delahaye and Bentley (for 50 years). The race was marred by the death of French driver Jean Larivière within the opening laps of the race.

1951 Le Mans Peter Walker in Jaguar C-type

1951 Le Mans Peter Walker in Jaguar C-type

Show Article

Wednesday 8th January 1958

59 years ago

John Duff (61), the only Canadian to win at Le Mans, who had been inducted in the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, died. He was one of only two Canadians who raced and won on England’s famous Brooklands Motor Course. In 1920, Duff began his racing career at Brooklands, a 2.6 mile long concrete track with concave banking. He drove a Fiat S.61, a 10-litre chain-driven car built in 1908. By August 1920, he was lapping in the same range as Henry Segrave, one of the great Brooklands and Grand Prix drivers of the 1920s. Driving the S.61, Duff won the 75 Long Handicap at Brooklands in May 1921 at a speed of 104.19 mph. He won the 100 Long Handicap at Brooklands’ mid-summer meeting, averaging 104.85 mph. Duff was the fastest on the track for both wins. He also lost a number of races where he was the fastest. As Duff’s driving skills improved, his reputation began to put him at a disadvantage with the handicappers. In the off-season, Duff bought another old Fiat, the 18-litre pre-war racer called “Mephistopheles”.In June, he took both Fiats to the Fanoe beach speed trials in Denmark. Duff set the fastest time of the meeting with a run at 165.9 km/h. He also took a class win with the S.61 at a speed of 149.2 km/h, the third fastest speed of the meeting. In 1922, Duff sold the S.61 and focused on making Mephistopheles faster and more reliable. Harry Ricardo made a set of aluminum pistons and raised the engine’s compression ratio. In May, Duff finished third in Brooklands’ 100 Mile Handicap. In its next race, one of the Fiat’s engine blocks detached from the crankcase. When the engine blew, the hood was torn off the car, just missing Duff’s head. Engine parts rained down on the track. Duff sold the car for scrap. 1922 saw the birth of Duff and Aldington, a dealership set up to sell the new Bentley car. Duff raced a Bentley at Brooklands. On August 28, he took a stock 3-litre model to the track where he made an attempt on the “Double Twelve” record (24 Hour runs were not allowed at Brooklands due to the noise). The car broke before he could achieve that goal but, in the process, Duff set new Class E world records for 1, 2, and 3 hours, 100 and 200 miles, and 100, 200, 300, and 400 km. Duff returned to Brooklands on September 27–28, driving both 12 hour shifts singlehanded to take the Double 12 [6] at an average of 86.52 mph, for a total distance of 2,082 miles (3,351 km). He also broke the Class E world records for 1 to 12 hours and all distances from 100 to 1,000 miles and 100 to 1,600 km. In total, he set 38 international class records. The Double 12 record was an absolute record, regardless of class. The event was depicted on the cover picture of the first edition of the Brooklands Gazette, published in July 1924. At Brooklands’ autumn meeting, Duff appeared at the wheel of J.L. Dunne’s old 21-litre Blitzen Benz. He lost the 100 Mile Handicap to Parry Thomas, despite lapping at 114.49 mph. Unable to stop the old car at the end of the last lap, Duff shot over the top of the banking, crashing through trees and a telegraph pole outside the circuit before finally coming to rest. Early in 1923, Duff learned of a new 24 Hour race to be held at Le Mans. He was the first entrant. W. O. Bentley, the founder and then-owner of Bentley Motors, thought it was madness and that no car would finish. In the face of Duff’s determination, he agreed to have the car prepared at the factory and let his test driver, Frank Clement, partner Duff. The Duff/Clement Bentley was one of the fastest cars, Duff setting the fastest lap at 9 mins 39 sec for the 10.726 mile lap.[9] Rough track conditions took their toll as a flying stone holed the fuel tank, forcing Duff to run back to the pits. As only the drivers could work on the cars, Clement had to bicycle back with a can of gas to power the car back to the pits. Despite the drama, Duff and Clement finished a strong fourth.[10] More importantly, W.O. Bentley, who only went over at the last minute, became hooked on Le Mans, the race that would make his cars famous. Duff then took his Bentley to the Spanish Touring Car GP at Lasarte. Leading with two laps to go, he was hit in the face by a stone thrown up by a lapped car. Duff crashed into a wall, injuring his jaw and breaking some teeth. Despite that, he won first place in the 3 litre class, as he had easily outlasted and outdistanced his competition. "In token of his gallant drive Duff was awarded the 3-litre trophy anyway, there being no other finishers in the class." By 1924, Bentley was now fully committed to Le Mans. Duff was still a private entrant, using one of the dealership’s cars. His car was prepared alongside the works entry using ideas Duff had come up with after the 1923 race. Partnered by Clement, in a race run in intense heat, Duff won handily, giving Bentley its first victory at Le Mans. In 1925, a carburetor fire ended Duff’s chances at Le Mans. On September 9–10, 1925, Duff went to the high-banked Montlhéry track, near Paris, for an attempt at the absolute 24 Hour Record. He had a special single-seater Weymann body on his Bentley and works driver Dudley Benjafield as his co-driver. In driving rain, they did the first 12 hours at 97.7 mph but missed the 12 hour record. At 18 ½ hours, the camshaft drive failed, ending the attempt. He was able to claim two world records: 1,000 Kilometres in 6 hrs, 23 mins, 55 secs and 1,000 miles in 10 hrs 15 mins 59 secs. On September 21, Duff returned to Montlhéry with Woolf Barnato as his co-driver. Driving on a damp track in heavy mist, they covered 2,280 miles in 24 hours, averaging 95.02 mph.They beat the previous record, held by the 9-litre Renault of Garfield and Plessier, by over 7 mph. Along the way, the 3-litre Bentley took 21 world records, including those for six and twelve hours, and 500, 1000, and 2000 miles. Looking for new challenges, Duff went to America in February 1926. He signed to drive a Miller sponsored by the Elcar Automobile Company in the Indianapolis 500, following the death of Herbert Jones, who was killed attempting to qualify for the race in the Elcar Special. In a race shortened to 400 miles by rain, Duff finished 9th. The next AAA championship event was on the 1.25 mile board track at Altoona, Pennsylvania on June 12. Duff finished 3rd in the 250 mile race, two laps down. The next race was on the Rockingham board track in Salem, New Hampshire. A puncture pitched Duff’s car sideways, throwing him from the car. "John Duff of Indianapolis, Ind., wrecked his machine and suffered a broken collar bone when his car crashed through the top rail and dropped clear of the track." Duff suffered painful bone and muscle injuries, and a concussion that affected his vision. Knowing that his competitiveness would be compromised, and having promised his wife that he would quit if he suffered another serious injury, Duff retired from racing.

John Duff's official 1926 Indianapolis '500' qualifying photo

John Duff's official 1926 Indianapolis '500' qualifying photo

Show Article

Sunday 26th July 1964

53 years ago

Francis Richard Henry Penn Curzon (80) racer for Sunbeam and Talbot in the 1920s and later a Member of Parliament, died in Buckinghamshire, England. Curzon, better known as Lord Howe, made his race debut at the comparatively old age of 44, in the 1928 Irish TT with a Bugatti Type 43. After leaving the House of Commons he pursued his driving career with increasing vigour. During the 1930s he became a well known driver, competing in many national and international races, most notably the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he gave Ala Romo their first victory at the event. He entered the endurance classic six times between 1929 and 1935, only missing the 1933 event. For the first year he was entered as a part of the Bentley factory team, but latterly he entered his own cars. It was in his own Alfa Romeo 8C that he won the race in 1931, driving in partnership with Henry Birkin.

Show Article

Monday 29th November 1965

51 years ago

The last Bentley S3 chassis was completed and delivered to the coachbuilder.

Show Article

Thursday 15th May 1969

48 years ago

In a dramatic finish to Le Mans 24 Hours, Jacky Ickx in a Ford GT mark 1 and Hans Herrmann in a Porsche repeatedly overtook. In the last lap, Ickx let Herrmann pass him early on the Mulsanne Straight, faking he had not enough fuel anymore. Ickx used the slipstream of Herrmann to pass him again just before the end of the 5km straight. Ickx managed to hold on and beat Herrmann by a few seconds, or about 120 meters (394 feet). Ickx and Oliver won with the GT40 chassis 1075, the same car that had won the previous year. This was second time the same car had won two years in a row; a Bentley Speed Six had done it in 1929 and 1930. Joest Racing would later repeat this feat twice.

Ford GT

Ford GT

Show Article

Friday 13th August 1971

46 years ago

Walter Owen Bentley (82), MBE, English engineer who designed engines for cars and aircraft, raced cars and motorcycles, and founded Bentley Motors Limited in Cricklewood near London, died. He was known as "W.O." without any need to add the word Bentley. W. O. Bentley was born as the ninth child to Alfred Bentley, a British businessman and Emily nee Waterhouse in 1888. From 1902 to 1905, he attended the Clifton College, a public school in Clifton, Bristol. He left the school at the age of 16 and started to work as an apprentice railway engineer at the Great Northern Railway at Doncaster, Yorkshire. W. O. completed apprenticeship in 1910. Afterwards, he studied briefly theoretical engineering at King's College London. In 1912 W.O. Bentley and his brother H.M., with their newly formed company Bentley & Bentley Ltd., which was specialised in selling the D.F.P cars (Doriot, Flandrin & Parant (D.F.P.) was a French car maker based in Courbevoie, Seine between 1906 and 1926). W.O. Bentley and his brother H.M., had acquired the British and Commonwealth Agency for the French-built Doriot, Flandrin et Parant motor cars. The French cars were imported as rolling chassis and sent out to London coachbuilders for bespoke coachwork. W.O. successfully campaigned the 12/15hp model in competition however worked closely with his French mechanic Leroux to develop still more power from this engine. The result was the 12/40hp Speed Model, built exclusively by DFP for Bentley & Bentley. Soon, however, he started making aluminium alloy pistons for the DFP engine. After the outbreak of the First World War, he started to build rotary aero-engines. Meanwhile, he also started to make plans for his own range of cars that would bear his name. During World War I, he was a Captain in the Royal Naval Air Service, where he played a major role in improving the design and manufacture of Clerget engines for the Sopwith Camel and the Sopwith Snipe aircraft. These were known as the BR1 (Bentley Rotary 1) and BR2 and were made by Humber. For this he was awarded an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire), and an award of £8,000 from the Commission for Awards to Inventors.

W O Bentley

W O Bentley

Show Article

Tuesday 9th July 1974

43 years ago

Sir Harry Brittain, Chairman of D Napier & Sons Ltd, who attempted to put Napier back into the automobile business through acquisition of Bentley `Motors Ltd, died at aged 101.

Show Article

Tuesday 8th July 1980

37 years ago

The Bentley Mulsanne was introduced in Paris, France. The name "Mulsanne" is derived from Bentley's motorsport history, which included five victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 1924 and 1930 — the 'Mulsanne Straight' being the stretch of the Le Mans racecourse where cars reach their highest speeds. The Mulsanne shared the traditional 6.75 L (6750 cc/411 in³) Rolls-Royce V8 with aluminium alloy cylinder heads. Two SU carburettors were replaced by Bosch fuel injection on all cars from 1986. All Mulsannes use a 3-speed automatic transmission. The Mulsanne was based on the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit/Silver Spur introduced at the same time and would be the basis for all Bentley models until the 1998 introduction of the Arnage.

Bentley Mulsanne

Bentley Mulsanne

Show Article

Wednesday 1st October 1980

37 years ago

The Rolls Royce Silver Sprite was introduced to replace the Silver Shadow. It was the first of a new generation of models for the company and formed the basis for the Flying Spur, Silver Dawn, Touring Limousine, Park Ward and apart from branding differences and a different radiator housing also Bentley for the Mulsanne/Eight series. The Spirit was not entirely new – it continued to use the basic design of the Silver Shadow as well as that motor car's 6.75 L (6750 cc/411 in³) V8 engine and GM sourced THM 400 3-speed automatic transmission. The Spur / Spirit continued the emphasis toward a high degree of ride quality by utilising the self-leveling suspension from the previous model Silver Shadow, though in this application using a Girling automatic hydraulic ride height control system and gas-charged shock absorbers.

Rolls Royce Silver Sprite

Rolls Royce Silver Sprite

Show Article

Thursday 4th March 1982

35 years ago

The Bentley Mulsanne Turbo was unveiled at the Geneva International Auto Show. The name was taken from the famous bend on the Le Mans race track, the Mulsanne bend at the end of the long Hunaudières straight, in order to commemorate the many victories the English make at the famous French race circuit. The imposing large tourer was given a V8 6.75-litre engine and a "sufficiently powerful" turbo, that could reach a maximum speed of more than 135 mph. Porsche also revealed the first fully convertible Porsche 911 at the show.

Bentley Mulsanne (1980-92)

Bentley Mulsanne (1980-92)

Show Article

Wednesday 12th November 1986

31 years ago

The United States introduction of the Bentley Eight was held in New York City.The Eight was Bentley's "entry-level" offering from 1984 until 1992. Distinguished mainly by a wire-mesh grille radiator instead of vertical slats, the Eight also had somewhat less equipment than the similar Mulsanne on which it was based. This brought the introductory price to under the psychologically important £50,000 mark at the time of introduction, £6,000 less than the Mulsannne.[4] A firmer suspension offered slight handling improvements. The Eight was so popular that sales expanded from the original UK market to Europe and the United States.

Bentley Eight

Bentley Eight

Show Article

Thursday 7th March 1991

26 years ago

The £200,000 Bentley Continental R debuted at the 1991 Geneva Motor Show to a standing ovation, upstaging the Mercedes W140 S-Class also launched there. Customer response was enthusiastic, and the Sultan of Brunei purchased the red show car right off the Geneva stand. The Citroën ZX also made its official debut at the show.

Bentley Continental R

Bentley Continental R

Show Article

Thursday 7th March 1991

26 years ago

Rolls-Royce's "Project 90" concept car, a mock-up of a future Bentley coupé, was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show. The full size styling mock-up of a two door coupe, had neither an engine or running gear fitted. Rolls-Royce received most favourable comments and their exhibit was considered to give a glimpse of the future for Bentley motor cars.To a certain degree “Project 90” was a milestone for the 1991 introduction of the Bentley Continental R.

Rolls-Royce's

Rolls-Royce's "Project 90" concept car

Show Article

Tuesday 7th March 1995

22 years ago

The Bentley Azure convertible was introduced at the Geneva Auto Show. Production only crept to a start, with a mere nine examples finished in the first year – in 1996, after full production had started, no less than 251 Azures were finished.Pininfarina assisted in the two-year process of turning the Continental R into a full four-seater convertible, and also built the shell and soft-top at their factory in Italy, largely from parts sourced in the UK. Final assembly was then carried out at Crewe. A roll-bar was never considered, which necessitated extensive reinforcing of the chassis. At 210 in (5,340 mm) in length and 5,750 pounds (2,610 kg) in weight, the Azure often surprised onlookers with its size and bulk, intended to both convey a sense of "presence" and allow for comfortable seating of four adult passengers. Power came from the company's stalwart 6.75-litre V8, featuring a single, intercooled Garrett turbocharger and producing in the region of 360 hp – Rolls-Royce and Bentley did not yet give official power numbers at the time of the Azure's introduction. By the time production began in earnest, new engine management from Zytek meant a slight power increase to 385 hp (287 kW; 390 PS) at 4,000 rpm and 750 N·m (553 lb·ft) of torque at 2,000 rpm; power was routed to the rear wheels via a modified, General Motors sourced, four-speed automatic transmission. With a zero to sixty miles per hour time of 6.3 seconds (0–100 km/h in 6.5 s) and a top speed of 241 km/h (150 mph), the Azure was very fast for a car of its size, weight and poor aerodynamic profile. Owing to the limited space and workforce at Bentley's Crewe factory, the Azure's thick, powered convertible top was designed and manufactured by Pininfarina, which significantly added to the vehicle's cost. New in 1995, the Azure was priced at $347,645 – $36,355 more than the Continental R on which it was based. From 1999 through the end of production, the Azure was also available in "Mulliner" trim, which added special bespoke trim and additional equipment and allowed the buyer the option for further customisation during the build-process; pricing varied by car, as equipment could be significantly different from one to the next depending on customer requests. One of limited editions included '2000 Symbolic Edition', an only 4-made Mulliner commission.

Bentley Azure convertible - 1995

Bentley Azure convertible - 1995

Show Article

Monday 30th March 1998

19 years ago

German automaker BMW bought Rolls-Royce for $570 million. But the deal was not smooth and has a very interesting story behind it. In 1998, owners Vickers decided to sell Rolls-Royce Motors. The most likely buyer was BMW, who already supplied engines and other components for Rolls-Royce and Bentley cars, but BMW's final offer of £340m was beaten by Volkswagen's £430m. A stipulation in the ownership documents of Rolls-Royce dictated that Rolls-Royce plc, the aero-engine maker would retain certain essential trademarks (the Rolls-Royce name and logo) if the automotive division was sold. Rolls-Royce plc chose to license not to VW but to BMW, with whom it had recently had joint business ventures. VW had bought rights to the "Spirit of Ecstasy" bonnet (hood) ornament and the shape of the radiator grille, but it lacked rights to the Rolls-Royce name necessary to build the cars. Likewise, BMW lacked rights to the grille and mascot. BMW bought an option on the trademarks, licensing the name and "RR" logo for £40 million, a deal that many commentators thought was a bargain for possibly the most valuable property in the deal. VW claimed that it had only really wanted Bentley anyway. BMW and VW arrived at a solution. From 1998 to 2002 BMW would continue to supply engines for the cars and would allow use of the names, but this would cease on 1 January 2003. From that date, only BMW would be able to name cars "Rolls-Royce", and VW's former Rolls-Royce/Bentley division would build only cars called "Bentley". The Rolls-Royce's Corniche ceased production in 2002.

Show Article

Sunday 26th April 1998

19 years ago

The 2.5 tonne, 5.4 metre long Bentley Arnage was unveiled to the public at the Sarthe Circuit in France. Powered by a BMW V8 engine, with Cosworth-engineered twin-turbo installation, for a brief period it was the most powerful and fastest four-door saloon (top speed 180 mph) on the market.

Bentley Arnage

Bentley Arnage

Show Article

Tuesday 18th January 2000

17 years ago

Comedy veteran Sir Norman Wisdom was reunited with a precious Bentley after 19 years, thanks to a television programme. The 1956 R Type Continental was tracked down by researchers of Carlton Television's Pulling Power programme as a surprise for the recently-knighted funnyman. Sir Norman, 84, who parted with the car after 21 years said: "It's a lovely car and I've always regretted selling it." He is thought to have paid £40,000 to buy back the vehicle.

Sir Norman first bought his beloved Bentley in 1960

Sir Norman first bought his beloved Bentley in 1960

Show Article

Thursday 4th January 2001

16 years ago

Bentley Motors announced its new flagship car, a sumptuously appointed sporting saloon without equal, the Bentley Arnage RL by Mulliner.

Bentley Arnage RL

Bentley Arnage RL

Show Article

Friday 2nd March 2001

16 years ago

Bentley Motors launched two exclusive and limited edition motors, specially developed to celebrate the company’s return to the world’s greatest motor race, Le Mans, after 71 Years. The launch of the Bentley Arnage Le Mans Series and the Bentley Continental R Le Mans Series came just seven weeks after Bentley Motors officially unveiled its EXP Speed 8 Le Mans contender at the Detroit Motor Show. Only 150 Arnage and just 50 Continental R Le Mans Series models were made.

Bentley Arnage Le Mans

Bentley Arnage Le Mans

Show Article

Tuesday 8th January 2002

15 years ago

Luxury car maker Bentley Motors unveiled its most powerful model to date at the Detroit Motor Show in the United States, the 168mph Arnage T, costing £166,500 car and capable of 0-60mph in 5.5 seconds.

Bentley Arnage T - 2002

Bentley Arnage T - 2002

Show Article

Wednesday 29th May 2002

15 years ago

Bentley Motors chairman and chief executive Franz-Josef Paefgen presented the new Bentley State Limousine to The Queen at Windsor Castle in recognition of her Golden Jubilee year. The State Limousine is 83.0 cm (2.723 ft) longer than a standard Bentley Arnage, 25.5 cm (10.0 in) taller, and 6.8 cm (2.7 in) wider. It is equipped with broad coach doors that open to the rear almost 90 degrees. Opaque panels over the backlight of the car can be installed for either added privacy or removed for added visibility of its passengers. For protection of its occupants, the bodywork and glass are armoured, the cabin can be sealed air-tight in case of gas attack and is also blast-resistant, and the tyres are kevlar-reinforced. The vehicle's twin-turbocharged, 6.75-litre V8 engine has been modified from Bentley's Arnage R version to produce 400 hp (300 kW) and 616 lb·ft (835 N·m) of torque. Its maximum speed is 130 mph (210 km/h).

Bentley State Limousine

Bentley State Limousine

Show Article

Friday 30th August 2002

15 years ago

The last ever Rolls-Royce built at the Crewe factory in Cheshire, the home of Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motor Cars since 1946, rolled off the production line. The unique two-door, Silver-Storm-coloured, convertible Rolls-Royce Corniche, had a specially designed interior based on that of the famous 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. All last-of-line Rolls-Royce series models, including, therefore, the last ever Crewe-built Rolls-Royce, were badged with the distinctive red interlocked ‘R-R’ of the original Rolls-Royce motor cars.

Rolls-Royce Corniche covertible

Rolls-Royce Corniche covertible

Show Article

Thursday 26th September 2002

15 years ago

Bentley Motors announced that its all new coupé would be named the Bentley Continental GT and would go on sale in 2003.

Show Article

Tuesday 15th October 2002

15 years ago

London's Somerset House saw the official unveiling of Bentley's newest model; the magnificent Continental GT. It was the first car released by Bentley under Volkswagen AG-management after their acquisition of the company in 1998, and the first ever Bentley to employ "mass production" manufacturing techniques. It shares a platform with the Volkswagen Phaeton. The Continental GT transformed the company into a major global brand.

Bentley Continental GT

Bentley Continental GT

Show Article

Tuesday 22nd October 2002

15 years ago

Volkswagen unveiled the striking new £22,000 Golf R32, the fastest production Golf ever built, to a crowd of waiting journalists at the NEC Motor Show. With a 3.2-litre engine developing a whopping 240 bhp, the Golf has an impressive top speed of 153 mph and could accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in a breathtaking 6.6 seconds. Rover Group unveiled the MG X80, whilst the DB7 GT, was the most powerful Aston Martin ever made. The stunning Bentley Continental GT won the Institute of Vehicle Engineers Motor Show Design ‘Car of the Show'. It beat the Jaguar XJ and Volvo XC90 to scoop the top award and also took the 'Best Luxury Car' award beating off close competition - again from the new Jaguar model.

Volkswagen Golf R32

Volkswagen Golf R32

Show Article

Tuesday 31st December 2002

14 years ago

After 71 years together the world’s most famous car marques – Bentley and Rolls-Royce – separated. Rolls-Royce left Crewe and became part of BMW AG, while Bentley, still owned by Volkswagen AG, remained at the historic Cheshire site.

Show Article

Thursday 6th March 2003

14 years ago

Bentley Motors unveiled the production version of its new Continental GT and confirmed pricing for the fastest road going Bentley in the 84 year history of the company as €137,069 excluding tax. The new Bentley Continental GT was the fastest genuine four-seat coupé in the world with a top speed in excess of 190mph (300 km/h), and a 0-60mph time of 4.7 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds).

Bentley Continental GT interior.

Bentley Continental GT interior.

Show Article

Sunday 15th June 2003

14 years ago

Bentley, with an Audi engine and support from Audi works team Joest Racing, won its first Le Mans title since 1930, in the Bentley Speed 8, driven by Italian Rinaldo Capello, Britain’s Guy Smith and the Dane Tom Kristensen, who set a personal record with his fourth straight victory. Another Bentley team consisting of Australian David Brabham and Brits Mark Blundell and Johnny Herbert finished second.

Bentley Speed 8

Bentley Speed 8

Show Article

Wednesday 28th January 2004

13 years ago

Bentley Motors announced they would produce a limited edition of special Bentley Arnage T-24 Mulliner’s to commemorate Bentley's historic sixth win in the Le Mans 24-hours. Just 24 of these cars were offered for sale in the US, while a handful were built for the UK and Continental Europe.

Bentley Arnage T-24 Mulliner

Bentley Arnage T-24 Mulliner

Show Article

Friday 23rd July 2004

13 years ago

A 1930 Bentley Speed Six, ‘the most original and significant surviving Bentley’, was sold at auction by Christie’s in Le Mans, France for $5.1 million, the highest price ever paid for a British car.

1930 Bentley Speed Six

1930 Bentley Speed Six

Show Article

Monday 17th January 2005

12 years ago

The Bentley Arnage Convertible, also known as the Arnage Drophead Coupé, was revealed at the Los Angeles Auto Show."We knew that the Drophead Coupe would create quite a stir," said Bentley chairman Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen, "because it is the most sensationally beautiful convertible with strikingly contemporary lines and an unashamed luxurious interior." The Arnage Drophead Coupe was the fourth new model to go on sale in just four years at Bentley, reflecting the incredible success of the brand since becoming part of the Volkswagen Group in 1998. Since 2002, Bentley launched the all-new Continental GT Coupe, the 2005 Model Year Arnage, the four-door Continental Flying Spur and the Arnage Drophead Coupe.

Arnage Drophead Coupé

Arnage Drophead Coupé

Show Article

Wednesday 19th January 2005

12 years ago

Actor and rapper Lamont Bentley (32) was killed in a single-car accident while driving on Highway 118 near Simi Valley, California. When his vehicle went over an embankment, his body was thrown into the path of five cars which struck his body. Bentley is best known for his role as Hakeem Campbell in the Moesha TV series.

Show Article

Saturday 20th August 2005

12 years ago

Bentley Motors celebrated the seventy-fifth anniversary of the famous Blue Train race with the launch of the Arnage Blue Train saloon at ‘The Quail – A Motorsports Gathering’ in California’s Carmel Valley. In March 1930, British Le Mans winner and then chairman of Bentley Motors, Woolf Barnato, wagered £200 that his Bentley Speed Six could beat Europe’s fastest train, Le Train Bleu, from Cannes to London. Travelling with his golfing partner Dale Bourn, the records show that Barnato pulled up outside his London club 4 minutes before the Blue Train had even reached the French port of Calais.

Bentley Arnage Blue Train

Bentley Arnage Blue Train

Show Article

Monday 12th September 2005

12 years ago

At the IAA Motor Show in Frankfurt, Bentley Motors revealed the production version of the new 168 mph Azure. The luxurious four-seater Azure, which went on sale in the Spring 2006, was the latest in a portfolio of wonderfully desirable ‘dropheads’ stretching back many decades and reaffirmed Bentley’s reputation as creator of the world’s most elegant convertibles. Like its iconic predecessor, which was in production from 1995 to 2002, the new Azure became the flagship of the Bentley model range. Britain’s fastest hatchback, the 255PS Vectra VXR was also unveiled at the show. The supercar priced at £25,000 was capable of 161 mph.

Bentley Azure II

Bentley Azure II

Show Article

Friday 10th February 2006

11 years ago

Vehicles introduced at the opening of the Chicago Auto Show included, Bentley Continental GTC convertible, Ford Expedition, Lexus ES 350, Lincoln MKZ (formerly the Lincoln Zephyr, Mercedes-Benz R63 AMG and Volkswagen Rabbit.

Show Article

Thursday 2nd August 2007

10 years ago

Bentley presented the all new 600bhp Continental GT Speed inspired by the legendary ‘Speed’ models of the 1920s. The Continental GT Speed was the most powerful production Bentley ever and the first to top 200mph (322km/h). The exterior style of the new Continental GT and GT Speed models were defined by a wider, lower air intake and more upright radiator grille that also provide increased airflow to the more powerful GT Speed. Its 600bhp (610PS) W12 engine developed 15 percent more torque and nine percent more power than the standard Continental GT, while engine efficiency was optimised by the use of lower friction, lighter-weight components and a new engine management system. The resultant performance was exceptional, with a top speed of 202mph (326km/h), a zero to 60mph sprint time of just 4.3 seconds (0-100km/h in 4.5 sec) and effortless overtaking capability.

Bentley Continental GT Speed

Bentley Continental GT Speed

Show Article

Thursday 6th March 2014

3 years ago

The 84th Geneva Auto Show opened its doors to the public. Cars premiered included Audi S1, Bentley Flying Spur V8, Citroen C1, Cireon C4 Cactus, Ferrari California, Nissan Juke, Renault Twingo, Toyota Aygo and the VW Golf GTE plug-in hybrid.

Show Article

Back