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Bentley

From Academic Kids

For other uses of Bentley, see Bentley (disambiguation).
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Bentley's winged "B" badge and hood ornament
Bentley logo
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1929 "Blower" Bentley from the Ralph Lauren collection
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Bentley SI Continental Fastback Coup. Mulliner Bodyworks.

Bentley Motors Limited is a British based manufacturer of luxury automobiles and large sportscars. Bentley Motors was founded in England on January 18, 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley, known as W.O. Bentley or just "W.O." (1888-1971) who was previously known for his successful range of rotary aero-engines in the First World War, the most famous being the Bentley BR1 as used in later versions of the Sopwith Camel.

The company, located at Cricklewood, north London, was noted for its four consecutive victories at the 24 hours of Le Mans from 1927-1930. The Great Depression destroyed demand for the company's expensive products, and it was sold off to Rolls-Royce in 1931. It should be noted that Bentley was a very serious competitor to Rolls-Royce and that the 8 litre Bentley was probably a better machine than anything Rolls-Royce at that time had to offer.

The most notable car in the Rolls-Royce period was probably the Bentley Continental, which appeared in various forms from 1952 to 1965, and again in 1992 with production ending in 2003. For more on the period 1931 to 1998, see Rolls-Royce.

Contents

Volkswagen Group

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2004 Bentley Continental GT coupe

In 1998, Rolls-Royce and Bentley Motors was purchased from Vickers (its owner since 1980) by Volkswagen for 430 million, after bidding against BMW. BMW had recently started supplying components for the new range of cars, notably V8 engines for the Bentley Arnage and V12 engines for the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph. The Rolls-Royce name was not included in VW's purchase; it was instead licensed to BMW (for 40 million) by the Rolls-Royce aero engine company. BMW and VW came to an agreement whereby VW would manufacture both Bentley and Rolls-Royce cars until the end of 2002, whereupon the right to build Rolls-Royce cars would be BMW's alone. During this period, Volkswagen reduced its reliance on BMW as a supplier: as of 2003, BMW engines are not used in Bentley cars.

Modern Bentleys

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2003 Bentley Azure Mulliner Final Series

In 2003, Bentley's 2-door convertible, the Bentley Azure, ceased production, and the company introduced the Continental GT, a large luxury coupe. The car is powered by a version of VW's W-12 engine. Demand has been so great that the factory at Crewe, Cheshire, has been unable to satisfy demand despite producing 4,500 vehicles a year and there is a waiting list of over a year for new cars to be delivered. Consequently there are proposals to produce the new model Flying Spur, a four-door version of the Continental GT (140.000 Euros) in Dresden in the same factory where the VW Phaeton luxury car is made. In April, 2005, Bentley confirmed plans to produce a 4-seat convertible model, the Arnage Drophead Coupe, at Crewe beginning in 2006.

Older Bentleys

Racing

In 2001 Bentley returned to the Le Mans race with the Bentley EXP Speed 8. The car, an advanced sports-prototype, had a turbocharged V8 engine from sister company Audi. It gained 3rd place in 2001 and 4th place in 2002, both races being won by Audi, before Bentley won both 1st and 2nd places in 2003.

See also

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External links


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