Now at a hundred years old, Bentley, the car manufacturer that calls Crewe home, is considered the pinnacle of luxury motoring. A marque within the automotive industry, Bentley has more stored in the boot than first meets the eye. Alongside premium interiors and a phenomenally powerful output, Bentley, famous for its ‘B-Wings’, has a secret or two. Here Audi dealership, Vindis, unearth them.
A group of rather affluent motorists, the Bentley Boys helped to take the Bentley name and cement it into the motorsport’s hall of fame. In 2019, Lewis Hamilton was ranked by Forbes as 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 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.
Rally good fun
Drink, but don’t drive
After laying claim to their first Le Mans victory as the only British team competing in the Pays de la Loire, the Bentley Boys arrived back to London. The boys were, of course, in a mood to celebrate. 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 Calvados or Apple Brandy
• 1 and a half ounces of Dubonnet Rouge
• 1 lemon twist – garnish
In a glass, stir together the Calvados and the Dubonnet, pour over ice, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish and enjoy, just like a Bentley Boy!
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Built to last
A popular phrases thrown around in the UK in the 21st century is ‘stuff just isn’t built to last anymore’. That statement could not be truer than when considering the Bentley brand. The manufacturer’s overarching commitment is to quality engineering. Considering 80% 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% in recent times.
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Of course, Bentley aren’t disillusioned to the fact that their owners won’t be spending every hour of every day behind the wheel of their cars. 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 them 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
Bentley is immediately identifiable by their spectacular, iconic wings sign. 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 - 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. 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’.
Bentley is, undoubtedly, one of the strongest premium car brands to exist. Its contribution in regard to the automotive industry over the past century has been phenomenal. No doubt the next hundred years will provide us with even more amazing feats.