Bentley Motors Limited, popularly known as Bentley, is a legend in the automotive industry. The automaker is set to celebrate 100 years of luxury car production in 2019, an incredible feat. The brand was started by W.O. Bentley in 1919 and today employs over 4,000 people. These extraordinary Bentley cars are built by dedicated people using the finest materials. We want to help them celebrate by listing Bentley’s most notable releases through the years. Come along on a journey through history!
The brand prides itself on exceptionalism, both in their product and in their team. Every aspect of development involves people with a drive to excel, and it shows in the vehicles. In the 1920s, it was the Bentley Boys and Girls who raced the cars and pushed W.O. Bentley to achieve innovative feats of automotive engineering. Today’s Bentley drivers similarly push the brand to reach for higher standards to meet the demands of luxury car owners. This relationship between the brand and drivers has led to the creation of Bentley cars that are almost legendary. Here is a look at Bentley’s most notable releases through the years.
The Bentley 3-Litre is the original representation of W.O. Bentley’s vision of “a fast car, a good car, the best in its class.” The auto was in production from 1921 until 1929, and it won multiple races during that time period. In both 1924 and 1927, it won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The company still owns the EXP 2, the second experimental Bentley 3-Litre. This is the world’s oldest surviving Bentley, as well as the first one to win a race.
The brand considers this vehicle to be W.O. Bentley’s finest grand tourer and definitely one of Bentley’s most notable releases. Sadly, it is also the last car that he designed for Bentley Motors. The vehicle made its debut in 1930 as the largest and most luxurious of the Bentley cars to date. Unfortunately, the Bentley 8-litre launched at the start of the worldwide depression caused by the Wall Street Crash. This event limited demand for the car. Resulting in financial difficulties for the automaker that led to a change in ownership for the brand. Only 100 of the 8-Litre cars were made between 1930 and 1932.
Bentley Mark V
Increased competition from other automakers led Bentley to develop the Mark V. This auto was built on the much loved 4 ¼ Litre Derby Bentley but it has an update in the chassis design. Once again, world events impacted a Bentley release, as the outbreak of World War II halted all auto production until 1946. The Bentley Mark VI was the first vehicle to emerge post-war, and it was effectively the fully developed form of the Mark V. All the components and engineering revisions that had been planned for the predecessor were included with this model.
In 1952, passenger cars that could hit top speeds were almost unheard of. At the time, cars that could hit 115 mph were uncommon. Cars that could travel at 100 mph with four occupants were not an option, until the R Type Continental. Only 208 were produced, but the model is noted as a template and stepping stone for the Bentley Grand Touring. The model even inspired the first Continental GT five decades later. That makes this one of the most important Bentley cars of all time.
The Bentley Mulsanne is the embodiment of what luxury cars are all about. This model was first produced from 1980 until 1992. The Mulsanne was designed to be the ultimate combination of style, performance, and comfort, true to W.O. Bentley’s vision. Yes, it is one of Bentley’s most notable releases but it is also a great car still today. Bentley revamped the model in 2010 and it is still in production, with a starting price of $303,000.
The Continental GT is the luxury coupe that transformed the Bentley brand. The widespread popularity of this model made Bentley a major international player in the automotive industry. The latest Continental GT has a dominant bonnet line, prominent grille, and twin inner headlamps. This vehicle combines the refined luxury that the Bentley name is known for with the speed and agility of a powerful convertible grand tourer.
In spite of major world events and economic hardships, the Bentley brand has endured for 99 years and counting. What will the 100th year bring for Bentley Motors Limited? We can’t wait to find out. Are there any Bentley cars we missed on our list? Any more of Bentley’s most notable releases that we should mention?