Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bentley Flying Spur

Bentley Automobiles

Bentley Motors, Limited is a British automobile manufacturer. It was established on January 18, 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley (better known as W.O. or simply as "O"). He became well known during World War I for his rotary aero engines used in the Sopwith Camel in later versions and it was called the Bentley BR I.
The Volkswagen Group of Germany has owned the company since 1998. They are based in Crewe, England and their central production facility is there.
Before the beginning of World War I, "O" Bentley ad been partnered with H.M. Bentley, his brother to sell French DFP automobiles. He had a burning desire to create and build his own line of cars under his own name.
So, in August, 1919, Bentley Motors was actually registered and they exhibited their first attempt at the London Motor Show that was held in October, 1919. It was only a chassis without a real engine. By December, 1919, they had an engine up and running.
Following the London Motor Show, they began taking orders for their cars, promising delivery by June, 1920. Actual development took longer than anticipated and actual delivery did not take place until September, 1921.

An aluminum paperweight caught "O's" eye on a visit to the DFP plant which gave him the idea for using instead of the typical cast iron, a light weight metal for aero engine pistons. He used this idea to make his rotary aero engines that were used during World War I in the Sopwith Camel airplane.
Constantly without funds, "O" Bentley asked for help from Woolf Barnato in 1925. Barnato became chairman and effectively owned the company after the negotiations.
The Bentley Boys (Woolf Barnato, Steeplechase racer, George Duller, Sir Henry Birkin, automotive journalist, S.C.H. Sammy Davis, aviator Glen Kidson and Dr. Dudley Benjafieldl kept the reputation for performance alive. Due to the serious dedication of this group, The Bentley Boys, the company won four LeMans races in a row from 1927-1930. Bugatti was their greatest competition at the time with their lightweight, fragile autos that were in great contrast to the Bentley which was durable and reliable.

Woolf Barnato had devoted a great deal of his fortune to keeping Bentley solvent, but when the Great Depression hit, demand dropped and the company sold to Rolls-Royce in 1931.
In 1998 both Bentley Motors and Rolls-Royce were sold to Vickers plc by Volkswagen for $430 million dollars. There was a bidding war between Volkswagen and BMW. After a negotiation, it was agreed that Volkswagen would build both the Rolls Royce and the Bentley until the end of 2002. At the end of 2002, BMW would get to build the Rolls-Royce and Volkswagen would continue with the Bentley.
Both automobiles continue to be prestigious and lovely automobiles, who knew that Volkswagen was so clever, or that they had been building both the Rolls and the Bentley since 1998? Who knew that BMW had coveted the Rolls for so long? I guess sometimes you just have to read to find out interesting information.
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