At a hundred years old, Bentley have certainly mastered the art of producing luxury cars. A symbol of British excellence, Bentley’s craftmanship has exceeded expectations. Beyond the finest interiors and a roaring engine, Bentley’s iconic ‘B-Wings’ has a few secrets under its bonnet.
Bentley Boys: Car Fanatics
Bentley Boys were a group of wealthy Bentley enthusiasts, who helped Bentley achieve their high-performance reputation that they still have today. 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’s exhilarating attitude which helped both them, and Bentley, gain an outstanding reputation.
Drink! But don’t then drive
When the Bentley Boys won their very first Le Mans contest, they were the only British team to compete in the Pays de la Loire. When they arrived home, 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!
Made to last
The consistent high-quality manufacturing of Bentley is still evident today. 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.
What makes Bentley excellent is their appreciation that drivers consider their Bentley’s more than just a car. Bentley offer a specialised, one-off kit for their owners to fulfil 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. Whether this will become popular and we will be seeing falconry at our nearest Audi dealer is another matter, however.
Wings from heaven
The iconic Bentley wings — wings sent from Heaven. 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.
It comes as no surprise that Bentley’s cars are sold for extremely high prices at auction. 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’.
The past hundred years of Bentley have certainly been a hundred to remember. There’s no doubt that Bentley have helped shaped the automotive industry — and we’re excited to see what the next hundred hold.