Bentley Motors Limited is British manufacture and developer of SUVs and luxury automobiles, a division of the VW Group since 1997. It has been around since at least the early nineties, but it actually developed the Bentley name long before that. The name was given to the company in the late nineteen seventies. At the time, however, the company only produced sports utility vehicles, not sedans. The name has since changed to adapt to more suitable applications such as sedans, and later on to offer SUVs specifically for the commercial marketplace.
The original name of Bentley Motors Limited was Bently Motors Limited, and they chose this name by the fact that they operated a factory in Great Britain. The business moved to Italy in the nineteen-thirties when manufacturing first began on a small scale. In 1931, however, the Company shifted its focus to the United Kingdom, taking over a bankrupted Harley Davidson factory located in South Shields.
The great news is that today the factory still stands, and the great business is in full swing. The first Bentley Motor Company was started in Brooklands, Wales, by John Bentley and his brother Frank. When John Bentley was twenty-one years old, he convinced his brother to purchase an old British motor coach, namely the Dentist’s Brougham, for which he built the body of its chassis. They completed the car in just two months, after which John Bentley set up his own firm in Bentley and Brooklands. He then used the money he had made to buy a dealership in London and leased a series of buses and coaches.
The next major development in the company’s history came about when the two decided to create a new model of bus. This time, they decided to design and build it from scratch, using a brand new flatbed lorry as its base. These new models of buses, which were called “Bentleymobile”, quickly became famous around the world. Many of the world’s leading automobile manufacturers soon recognized the company’s potential, and they soon became Bentley Motors Limited, to protect their own interests.
The original Bentleymobile was powered by a three-horsepower four-stroke motor that earned it the affectionate nickname “Bentlemobile”. In addition to this, the new model was fitted with such extras as side step bars, bulletproof windows, central locking, air suspension, hydraulic brakes, and a nine-volt electric motor. Although the new beetles were initially intended for touring purposes, they quickly proved themselves to be practical and reliable, and they soon became the choice of both racing drivers and those who wanted an elegant and reliable passenger car.
After the world war broke out, Bentley decided that it was necessary to upgrade the motor of the company’s newly introduced model. Although, the new engine did not have the power of the German aircraft, it was fitted with superior bodywork and greater performance. The Bentley chassis was also changed to the new standard steel saloon body style, which allowed for a sleeker and more modern look. However, the production line continued to remain shut down during the war, due to the threat of a bombing of the factory. When word came back that production was to resume, the factory was immediately closed down, and all Bentley vehicles were ordered in “numbering only”.
The standard steel saloon was then redesigned as a two-seat vehicle, which was much lighter in construction. The new model retained the same basic design elements of the old car, including the flat bonnet, rounded headlamp, long flanks, high kidney footrests, and deep, rectangular splitters. These additions to the old Bentley chassis helped to improve the car’s handling, performance, and safety. To improve fuel efficiency, the front wheels were fitted with Pirelli tires. Pirelli was an early pioneer in creating high-performance tires and is well known for producing super-slick tires. The result was that Bentley Motors Limited, now known simply as Bentley, soon had cars that could outrun and outshine most of its competitors.
Production continued for another two years, with just twenty-four examples produced. With production running at full steam, Bentley moved into its new headquarters at Stamping Ground, Staffordshire. Bentley was also the first company to use a full-length aluminum bodywork, using the same styling as the original, but incorporating the new double-walled and cast-in aluminum chassis. By this time, however, the demand for Cricklewood Bentleys had waned, and only a few examples of this popular type of vehicle were produced in this timeframe.