Bentley Motors Limited
Bentley is just one of those names that is synonymous with luxury. And this is all thanks to the car manufacturer’s long and illustrious history. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, the company, which is now owned by Volkswagen AG, is one of the most prestigious luxury automakers of all time.
The history of Bentley dates back to 1919 when the company was known as Bentley and Bentley. Brothers, W.O. Bentley and H.M. Bentley, owned it. Soon after its start, they changed the name to Bentley Motors Limited.
The brothers quickly began producing luxury cars under the Bentley name. But it wasn’t until one of their Bentley 3 Liter Sport cars won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1924 that the company became a key figure in the automobile industry. Indeed, the car itself became a major hit among the wealthy in Britain.
Despite Bentley’s early success, they ran into a few roadblocks during their first couple of years. 1925 was a particularly poor year as the company faced a series of serious financial difficulties. Luckily, a wealthy fan of Bentley cars gave the company the financial support they needed to stay on their feet.
Bentley continued through World War II and on with a number of ups and downs. The company changed owners a couple of times – at one point it was owned by Rolls Royce – before it was acquired by Vickers in 1980. Though sales had dropped greatly by this point, the new owners and management were able to propel Bentley back to its former spot as one of the top luxury sports car manufacturers.
All throughout its early history, much of Bentley’s success was thanks to its involvement in motorsports racing.
The current flagship model of Bentley Motors Limited is none other than the Bentley Mulsanne. Named after the Mulsanne Straight from the Le Mans racing circuit (Bentley has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans five times), the Mulsanne is a four-door full-size luxury car available both as a coupe and a sedan.
The new rendition of the Mulsanne was first unveiled in 2009. It has undergone several updates since then. One of the special features that set the Mulsanne apart from other luxury cars is the vast number of choices customers have regarding its look. Those lucky enough to be in the market for one of these cars can choose from 114 paint colors, 21 carpet colors, 9 wood veneers, and 24 interior leather hides. It is even possible to request a custom color scheme.
In addition to the standard flagship Mulsanne, Bentley also offers several special edition models of the car. These include the Mulsanne Diamond Jubilee Edition (only 60 units were manufactured) that was made to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday, the Mulsanne Executive Interior featuring Mulsanne Theater Specification, the Mulsanne Le Mans Edition, the Mulsanne Shaheen, the Mulsanne Seasons Collectors Edition, the Birkin Mulsanne (only 22 units were manufactured), and the Mulsanne Speed Model that was designed with the highest level of performance in mind.
Currently, Bentley offers three models of luxury cars. These include the abovementioned Bentley Mulsanne as well as the Bentley Flying Spur and the Bentley Continental GT.
There have been several different reincarnations of the Bentley Flying Spur over the years. The current model is a high performance four-door sedan with 616 horsepower and a 0 to 60 mph time of just 4.3 seconds.
Bentley’s other current model, the Bentley Continental GT, is the model behind the company’s modern day success. It was their first mass-produced car and greatly helped them cement their position at the top of the luxury car market. The Continental GT is available in a wide variety of different model types. A few of these include the GT 2, the GT V8, and the GT Speed Coupe.
Bentley has produced a number of different models over the years. In fact, they have produced several different lines of cars under each of their different owners. During their Cricklewood era, the 3-Liter, Blower Bentley, and 8-Liter did particularly well. Under Rolls Royce, their Mark V was especially successful.
When Vickers owned them, they first started production on their Continental line and Mulsanne line. But it wasn’t until ownership was transferred to Volkswagen, that the first modern Bentleys were truly produced. In addition to the Continental and Mulsanne, these previous models included the Arnage saloon, the Azure convertible, and the Brooklands coupe among numerous others.
Success in motorsports racing is the farthest thing from unheard of for luxury and performance automakers. However, Bentley has been particularly successful. Indeed, few other companies have won as many times at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the world’s oldest active endurance race for cars. They won the race in 1924, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, and 2003.