One of the most popular car brands, known for their exceptional design and high-quality engineering, Bentley have been around for a hundred years. Although many fanatics may believe they know all there is to know about Bentley, in this article we’ll share some interesting and obscure facts you probably don’t know.
More Than Just A Car
If there’s a car brand that know how to add extra value to their vehicles, it’s Bentley. Bentley offer a specialised, one-off kit for their owners to fulfil their hobby — the hobby being falconry, of course. Bentayga falconry by Mulliner is, admittedly, a rather obscure optional extra, but it depicts exactly what Bentley is about — creating a car for their client, catering to their wants and needs during development. The flight master station, which is stowed neatly in the boot space of the Bentley Bentayga, includes a GPS tracking system, binoculars, and hand-crafted leather bird hoods. Don’t be concerned if falconry isn’t your forte, however. Bentley promise to appease customers by asking to submit their requests, and their bespoke service will attempt to create a package for any lifestyle or hobby. Who knows, maybe this will inspire other car brands. Falconry at your nearest Volkswagen dealership?
Going Once, Going Twice!
Unlike many car brands, people are willing to place high bids to get their hands on Bentleys with an impressive past. In July 2004, during Christie’s Le Mans Classic Auction, the Works No.2 Bentley Speed Six Tourer, which laid claim to second place at Le Mans in 1930 and won ‘The Double Twelve’ was sold for £2,784,741. A press release prior to the auction noted, ‘no other car has accomplished so much and, most importantly ‘No.2’ remains in the same conditions since its early racing days in the 1930’.
The Bentley Boys’ Victories
The Bentley Boys were a group of rich Bentley enthusiasts who took Bentley’s name and made it a leading name in motorsports. In 2019, Lewis Hamilton was ranked by Forbes at the world’s 13th highest paid sports star, however, the Bentley Boys, which featured Capt. Woolf Barnato, J.D Benjafield, Tim Birkin, S.C.H Davis, Glen Kidston, John Duff, and Jack and Clive Dunfee, were unpaid. These men had a true passion for racing, moreover, racing Bentleys. Their relationship with the brand, which led to five Le Mans victories in eight years, was apparent. It was often the young men exhilarating attitude which helped both them, and Bentley, gain an outstanding reputation.
Upon returning to London following their victory at Le Mans, the Bentley Boys were keen to celebrate their first victory at the Pays de la Loire. After all, they were the only British team competing alongside French and Germans. Plus, this was only the second endurance event these men had competed in. So, when they landed back in Mayfair, trophy in tow, they were irritated by the fact the bar had been left, well, dry — except for Calvados and Dubonnet.
The Bentley Cocktail
- 1 ½ oz of Calvados or Apple Brandy
- 1 ½ oz of Dubonnet Rouge
- 1 lemon twist for garnish
In a tall glass, add ice and pour over calvados and dubonnet. Garnish and enjoy, just like a Bentley Boy!
The Iconic Badge
Bentley’s reputation even stretches to the design of their famous ‘B-Wings’. Back, when the company was gaining traction in the early 1920s, founder W.O. Bentley called upon the help of close friend and designer, Crosby, to establish a badge that could not be fraudulently reproduced. Therefore, he requested one which featured asymmetric downward aiming feathers. Although ‘wings’ were a popular choice for many car manufacturers when establishing a badge during this era, rumour has it, Bentley’s logo was designed to represent W.O.’s background as an aeronautical engineer during the Great War.
Made to Last
Bentley’s overarching commitment is to top tier quality engineering. Considering 80 per cent of all Bentleys ever built are still on the roads today, it appears they are doing a rather good job. Also, despite the fact the brand may hold connotations of heavy fuel consumption and a lack of concern for sustainability, CO2 levels across the fleet have been driven down by 30 per cent in recent times.
It’s certainly impressive that Bentley has created such an inspirational legacy that has contributed largely to the automobile industry — but what will happen in the next hundred years?