Bentley 100 Years Timeline
Chapter 1 - W.O.
The founder of the company begins his career in railway engineering before joining his brother in a company selling DFP cars - which he soon modifies for greater performance. Bentley Motors Limited is formed in 1919.
Chapter 2 - Glory Years
Bentley builds fine 3-Litre, 41/2-Litre, 61/2-Litre and 8-Litre cars, including the famed 41/2-Litre 'Blower'. Its strong, reliable racing cars win five times in the new 24-hour race at Le Mans. Diamond heir Woolf Barnato becomes Bentley's financial backer.
Chapter 3 - Crisis and Rescue
Following the Great Depression of 1929 Bentley struggles financially, until rescued by Rolls-Royce in November 1931. Production moves to Derby, then to Crewe after the Second World War.
Chapter 4 - Going Continental
Bentley introduces the new R-type saloon and then a fastback car which was to become one of its most famous - the R-type Continental. The S-type follows in three phases, but the S3 is destined to be the last Bentley with a body style not shared with Rolls-Royce until the 1980s.
Chapter 5 - Badge Engineering
Bentley's T-series is a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow with different badges. There are two-door and convertible variants, but Bentleys remain rare compared to their Rolls-Royce equivalents.
Chapter 6 - R for Revival
Signs of revival for Bentley begin with the Mulsanne Turbo, which has no Rolls-Royce equivalent. The Turbo R accelerates the trend, offering better roadholding and handling, and there's a cut-price Eight saloon. At the other end of the scale a new Continental becomes the most expensive car on sale.
Chapter 7 - From Vickers to Volkswagen
Vickers, Bentley's parent company since 1980, sells Rolls-Royce/Bentley in 1998. BMW and Volkswagen vie for ownership, and eventually BMW takes over Rolls-Royce (ultimately establishing a new factory at Goodwood) while Bentley and the Crewe facility come under the ownership of Volkswagen.
Chapter 8 - Back to Le Mans
Bentley returns to racing with the EXP Speed 8 designed and built by Racing Technology Norfolk in Hingham. On its third attempt in 2003 it wins the Le Mans 24-hour race with a car driven by Tom Kristensen, Dindo Capello and Guy Smith.
Chapter 9 - Building the Bentley Brand
Bentley introduces a new model line, the Continental GT, powered by a W12 engine, which establishes Bentley as a major player in the luxury car market. A Flying Spur saloon, a GT3 racing car and a new V8 engine follow.
Chapter 10 - Onwards and Upwards
Bentley diversifies with a new flagship saloon, the Mulsanne, and the controversial Bentayga SUV, alongside a new-generation Continental GT. Electrification begins with a plug-in hybrid Bentayga, with big plans for the future.