W.O. Bentley enjoyed victory after victory in several races in the 1920s, but there was one particular race he disliked: the 24 hours of Le Mans. According to Bentley, a 24-hour race was crazy. He therefore assumed that nobody would finish, until John Duff and Frank Clement proved him wrong by coming fourth in 1923 and celebrating victory in1924. Both times driving a Bentley. This convinced Bentley to set up an exclusive team of drivers who would race for the brand. To this day, this team is still remembered for their need to challenge themselves to the limit, their reputation for exuberant parties and above all for their ultimate achievements.
In the following years, Bentley managed to continuously surpass itself. The company was taken over by Rolls-Royce in the 1930s. Models such as the Drophead coupé, Continental, R-Type and Continental Flying Spur followed each other in rapid succession. The 1960s were very successful for Bentley: the V8 engine made an appearance and technology was advancing. Bentley introduced a chassis, which was manufactured in one piece independent of suspension and disc brakes.
Whereas Rolls-Royce mainly focuses on classic exclusivity, Bentley’s love for speed is always in their blood. Bentley launched various new engines and a new type of rear suspension in the 1980s. In 1982 Bentley introduced the Mulsanne Turbo, which reached 0-100 km/h in 7 seconds, and had a top speed of 216 km/h. In 1985 the British introduced the Mulsanne Turbo R, a faster version again, followed by the Mulsanne S in 1987. These were ground-breaking models, which were always combined with an exclusive and luxurious look. In the 1990s, Bentley was taken over by Volkswagen, which clearly put its mark on the brand by immediately adding a powerful German engine to the Bentley Hunaudières concept car. In 2003 Bentley introduced the Continental GT, which was jokingly called the Golf of the luxury class because of its unprecedented popularity.
“At Bentley, the love for speed continues to be in their blood”
Even nowadays, Bentley goes a long way to provide clients with an unrivaled experience. Almost everything is hand-made, as it can be customized to the wishes of the customer and only the finest materials are used. From chrome-plated fuel caps to the finest veneer wood on the dashboard, only the best is good enough. For a century, Bentley has their craftsmanship at a level which few can match.
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