Originating in the town of Crewe a little over 100 years ago, Bentley have grown into one of the most iconic luxury brands in the world. Bentley, although always having a large presence in the luxury vehicle market, has been present among a number of major motorsport events. Other than class and comfort, what else has this luxury brand had to offer over the past century? Here, Audi dealership, Vindis, look at what lies beneath the surface of this automotive powerhouse.
The Bentley Boys were a group of seven motorists that excelled through the 20th century and brought huge recognition to the brand and as individuals through their great partnership. 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.
Drink, but don’t drive
Come the date of their return to London after their first Le Mans victory, the team returned with high hopes of celebration. Alongside being the only British team surrounded by French and Germans, this was only the second endurance event these men had competed in. So, when they landed back in Mayfair, trophy in tow, they were irritated by the fact the bar had been left, well, dry — with the exception of Calvados and Dubonnet.
The Bentley Cocktail
- 1 and a half ounces of Apple Brandy or Calvados
- 1 and a half ounces of Dubonnet Rouge
- 1 lemon twist – garnish
Stir together the Calvados and Dubonnet in a glass and pour over ice to chill. Pour cocktail into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish. Enjoy!
Built to last
It’s hard to argue with the fact that things just ‘aren’t built to last anymore’, with the introduction of fast fashion and more one-time use, disposable items. That statement could not be truer than when considering the Bentley brand’s legacy. The manufacturer’s overarching commitment is to quality engineering. Considering 80 per cent of all Bentleys ever built are still on the roads today, it appears they are doing a rather good job. Also, despite the fact the brand may hold connotations of heavy fuel consumption and a lack of concern for sustainability, CO2 levels across the fleet have been driven down by 30 per cent in recent times.
Despite how much some customers would like to spend every minute of their lives behind their Bentley’s wheel, this is simply unfeasible. But Bentley has made sure their product’s luxury and functions can be taken with you throughout your day. For this reason, they offer a specialised, one-off kit for their owners to fulfill their hobby — the hobby being falconry, of course. Bentayga falconry by Mulliner is, admittedly, a rather obscure optional extra, but it depicts exactly what Bentley is about — creating a car for their client, catering to their wants and needs during development. The flight master station, which is stowed neatly in the boot space of the Bentley Bentayga, includes a GPS tracking system, binoculars, and hand-crafted leather bird hoods. Don’t be concerned if falconry isn’t your forte, however. Bentley promise to appease customers by asking to submit their requests, and their bespoke service will attempt to create a package for any lifestyle or hobby.
Fly on the wings of love
Is there anything that signifies Bentley better than their famous B-wings? The design is arguably one of the most iconic within the automotive industry. 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.
Going, going, gone…
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.The legacy of the early le mans races still remain and Bentleys vehicles have stood the test of time just as well. The vehicle that placed 2nd in 1930 and won ‘The Double Twelve’ found itself up for auction 74 years later in a condition very much comparable to that three quarters of a century beforehand. The legacy and value of this vehicle was definitely understood and appreciated as the Works No.2 Bentley Speed Six Tourer 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’.
It is impossible to argue that Bentley isn’t one of the most successful premium brands in the world. Its contribution regarding motorsport and simply on-road driving is evident. No doubt the next hundred years will provide us with even more amazing feats from the company.