May 4, 2015 By Mike Lee
Last updated on October 19, 2017

Bentley LogoBrief History About Bentley

Bentley was founded in London in 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley, who’s goal was to build luxury performance cars. The company’s headquarters are now located in Crewe, England. From the beginning, the cars that were built were seen to be first class and even had victories in motorsport, such as winning at Le Mans in 1924, 1927-1930 and again in 2003.

Like many car manufacturers, finance was limited and in 1926 help for Bentley came from investment from Woolf Barnato, who also became Bentleys chairman. With success in racing, Bentley did quite well, until the unfortunate Wall Street Crash of 1929 and by 1931 it went into receivership.

Bentley was then bought by Rolls-Royce in 1931 creating Bentley Motors, in what was believed to be an attempt by Rolls-Royce to rid the competition they had with Bentley and not let anyone else take the make over. Although they then decided to produce cars with the Bentley name themselves from 1933.

With WW2 coming and going, most car manufacturers struggled to get back to production and Rolls-Royce/Bentley were no different. However they did eventually and gradually get back to full production, creating an all steel saloon from 1946.

During the 70’s and 80’s Bentley sales were struggling, but with some input from Vickers PLC who had acquired the Rolls-Royce motor car division (Rolls-Royce Motors Limited), some life was breathed into the marque, creating the Mulsanne and increasing the luxury/sportiness of all Bentley models.

In 1998 Vickers sold Rolls-Royce Motors Limited to Volkswagen AG who injected £500m into modernising the Crew factory and increasing the production of the Bentley cars. With increased production, demand and more money invested by VW, Bentley’s sales have been great for the luxury marque, especially in the USA and China. And now with the Bentley Continental GT3, are back in motorsport mode as well.

Bentley Turbo R
Turbo R 1985-1997 & RT 1997-1999

Bentley Arnage
Arnage 1998-2009

Bentley Continental
Continental GT & GTC 2003 on

Bentley Continental Flying Spur
Continental Flying Spur 2005 on