A British car brand, Bentley’s level of manufacturing is certainly unparalleled. At a hundred years old, Bentley undoubtedly have some secrets under their trunk. What fun facts lie beneath the luxury interior and powerful output? In this article, we’ll divulge some fun and widely unknown facts you most likely didn’t know.
Winning second place at Le Mans in 1930, the Works No.2 Bentley Speed Six Tourer was sold at auction for an astounding £2,784,741 in July 2004. 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’.
When you think Bentley, you’ll likely think of their magnificent wings. 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.
The people who were responsible for catapulting Bentley into the motorsport’s hall of fame, the Bentley Boys were a group of rather affluent motorists. 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 exhilarating attitude which helped both them, and Bentley, gain an outstanding reputation.
It comes as no surprise that the Bentley Boys celebrated their first Le Mans victory in true British style and had a good drink! 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!
Bentley acknowledge that their brand is a classic to car enthusiasts. To make their cars even more special, 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. After all, having a car is about more than maintenance like Volkswagen Servicing, it’s a lifestyle for some! 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.
Bentley’s overarching commitment to high quality manufacturing is evident still 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.
After an eventful and historic past, Bentley have certainly set an impressive legacy. We can’t help but wonder, what will happen in the future?
Article collated by Vindis, a SEAT dealer