By Martin Alva - January 30, 2019
Bentley Motors: Tale Of A Centenary
Bentley’s heritage is known to speak the language of royalty. Back in 1919 when W.O Bentley registered Bentley as a brand, the goal, in his words was “to build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class.” And while this year marks the British brand’s centenary, his words live on in each car that exits its production lines.
Last week, the company teased us an image of a special edition car that is set to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March. Ahead of this, in 2018, the company announced a special edition Mulsanne that was limited to 100 units. Its pièce de résistance? Each example featured a slice of the original crankshaft of the 8-Litre that W.O Bentley owned in the 1930s.
While the upcoming model will be inspired by W.O Bentley’s aforementioned words, the roots of the model enjoyed a rather heartening past. W.O Bentley’s ambitions of building his own sports car brand halted when the First World War broke out. As a captain in the Royal Naval Air Service, he used newly made aluminium pistons to create an engine for fighter aircraft that was significantly more powerful and reliable.
For his service, Bentley was awarded an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the 1919 New Year’s Honours list. The same year on July 10th Bentley Motors was born. While W.O was developing his very first car, the Autocar magazine reported that he was working on a model “intended to appeal to those enthusiasts and motorists who desire a car which, practically speaking, is a true racing car with touring accessories”- an aim that is still part of the brand’s DNA today.
W.O’s final creation was the 8-Litre. This is widely considered to be his masterpiece. Such was the power and torque of the straight-six engine. W.O. said, “I have always wanted to produce a dead silent 100 mph car, and now I think that we have done it.” This verdict was echoed by Captain W. Gordon Aston, reviewing the 8-Litre for The Tatler, who said: “Never in my life have I known a vehicle in which such a prodigious performance was linked to such smooth unobtrusive quietness.”
The 8-Litre was, however, restricted to 100 units after Wall Street crashed at the same time. But the influence of this extraordinary car lives on in the Mulsanne W.O Edition by Mulliner.
Such cars which does answer the question of time, lives on in our garages not only because the automakers were good at what they did, but also because its care-takes possesses the love and passion to keep it purring. That is what we do here at The Collectors’ Workshop. Resurrect, restore and relive not only the car but also its experience.