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Bentley Motors Ltd.

legal form Limited
founding January 18, 1919
Seat Crewe , Cheshire , United Kingdom
United KingdomUnited Kingdom 
management Adrian Hallmark
( Chairman and CEO )
Number of employees 3,635 (2014)
sales 1.9 billion euros (2015)

Bentley Motors Ltd. is a British automobile manufacturer . The company has been owned by Volkswagen AG since 1998 . Bentley is the official purveyor to the British royal family . The company has been based in Crewe since 2002 .

For many years, “Bentley” was just the brand name for slightly modified Rolls-Royce passenger cars after Rolls-Royce Ltd. in 1931 what was then Bentley Motors Ltd. had taken over. As part of the sale of the trademark rights to the name "Rolls-Royce" to the BMW Group, Rolls-Royce Motors was renamed Bentley Motors .

Bentley Motors Ltd. (1919–1931)

Radiator symbol of the 8 liter tourer (1931)
Bentley: hood ornament "Flying B"


Bentley Motors Ltd.

The car brand Bentley Motors Ltd. was founded in January 1919 in the London borough of Cricklewood by Walter Owen Bentley , who had previously operated a trade for the French automobile manufacturer DFP with his brother under the name Bentley & Bentley . W. O. Bentley was a passionate racing driver and won several races with self-improved cars. The Bentley brothers also sold numerous vehicles with elegant travel bodies. These designs were comparable to the models from Daimler or Rolls-Royce. The first chassis deliveries were originally planned for June 1920, but were delayed until September 1921.

Financial constraints, bankruptcy and takeover

Financial shortages and bankruptcy

In 1924 Bentley sold what was then the only model, the 3 liter, 462 chassis - the highest annual production in the entire existence of Bentley Motors Ltd. (1919-1931). The year 1925 was average with 304 chassis. Even so, in late 1925 Bentley was in financial trouble. The bankruptcy was prevented by Woolf Barnato , who in February 1926 restored Bentley's liquidity with a cash injection and in this connection became the main shareholder and chairman of the board of directors of Bentley. These financial transactions were essentially a takeover, when Barnato held 109,400 preferred shares and 114,000 ordinary shares. W. O. Bentley still held 6,000 preferred shares and 3,000 ordinary shares.

Bentley from 1929

In the years that followed, Bentley's survival was ensured by large cash injections and guarantees from Woolf Barnato. Barnato invested £ 35,000 in Bentley in July 1927 and a further £ 25,000 in early 1929. In addition, he arranged a £ 40,000 loan with the insurance company London Life .

Nevertheless, the income was not enough. As a result, Bentley had to announce to the London Life Assurance Company in mid-June 1931 that the mortgage payment due on June 30th could not be paid. Bentley was at the time in debt with London Life on a total of £ 65,000 in mortgages. Barnato had refused to continue to guarantee and pay the mortgage payments. London Life therefore announced on July 11, 1931 that they were looking for a buyer for Bentley.

After almost ten years, during which a total of 3,051 chassis of four basic models (and two other model variants) were built, the history of Bentley Motors Ltd. ended as an independent company.

Takeover by Rolls-Royce

Bentley was insolvent and W. O. Bentley and Barnato had already held takeover talks with Napier & Son . Napier introduced the British Racing Green to the racing world at the time . The company had given up its own vehicle production in 1926 and at that time built aircraft engines, among other things. Napier wanted to buy Bentley for £ 103,675 and this was to be fixed in a court hearing.

A Bentley that has been upgraded with a Napier aircraft engine for high speed travel

Walter Owen Bentley in his autobiography: “I was feeling reasonably happy about our future plans — which also included a possible new aero engine — when the time came in November for the receiver to apply to the court for approval of the Napier contract. Terms had been agreed, everything seemed to be tied up, and this was to be nothing more than a formality. "

Surprisingly, on November 20, 1931, at that public court sale hearing, a completely unknown company called British Central Equitable Trust Limited placed a higher bid than Napier. The bankruptcy judge was so surprised by this bid that he remarked that it was a trial, not an auction. He ordered that on the same day at 4:30 p.m. local time, the last bids of the interested parties should be handed over in sealed envelopes. The trust bid was £ 125,256 while Napier only offered £ 104,775. The trust acted on behalf of Rolls-Royce and only a few days later gave Bentley to them.

Walter Owen Bentley stated in his autobiography: “I don't know by how much precisely Napier were out-bidded, but the margin was very small, a matter of a few hundred pounds. All I knew that evening was that the deal would not be going through after all. "

Rolls-Royce changed the company name (company) to Bentley Motors 1931 Ltd. Until 1935, when Rolls-Royce closed the Bentley racing division, W. O. Bentley was still working at his former company. He then used his knowledge at Lagonda and Aston Martin , where he achieved further racing successes.

Myths and Facts

Bentley sales have fluctuated over the years. 1924 was the best year with 462 chassis. In the following years, between 304 and 400 chassis were built per year. For comparison, Rolls-Royce built around 400 chassis per year of the 40/50 hp (Silver Ghost) and the 20 hp.

Bentley 6½ liter

At the beginning of 1930 it became clear that Bentley products - roadworthy racing cars - were no longer in demand. The market literally collapsed. While 400 chassis were sold in 1928 and 383 in 1929, there was a dramatic decline in 1930 to just 221 chassis.

1931 was a normal business year until mid-July (time of insolvency). The sales figures in these six months were - based on the traditional models - catastrophic. Only three chassis of the 6½ liter (1930: 90/1929: 142/1928: 91), of the 4½ liter only 15 chassis (1930: 79/1929: 232/1928: 274) could be sold. The marketing concept “race on sunday - sell on monday” no longer worked.

Bentley made a special offer out of the 4 ½ liter supercharged / Blower, which sold 27 chassis in the six months of 1931. Originally the price of a Blower chassis was £ 1,475, but this was lowered to £ 1,150 in January 1931 (only £ 100 more than a normal 4½ liter).

Bentley 8 liter / bestseller: With 62 chassis sold, the 8 liter was Bentley's bestseller in the six months of 1931

Bentley and Barnato had apparently recognized the trend - away from roadworthy racing cars - early on and with the development of the 8 liter targeted the market segment of luxury touring sedans (analogous to the Rolls-Royce Phantom ). The chassis fully met the new market requirements, which the sales figures also showed. This very expensive 8 liter with 62 chassis was even the Bentley bestseller of the last six months in 1931. The production number was encouraging, as Rolls-Royce only built around 240 of its competitor Phantom II per year. The chassis was well calculated, selling the chassis at £ 1850 (considerably more expensive than the Rolls-Royce Phantom II ) while the cost of production was only around £ 1000.

In order to compensate for the collapse in the 4½ liter and 6½ liter models, attempts were made in a further market segment to enter the luxury class travel limousine. Barnato quickly put an inexpensive "emergency solution" on the market, the 4 liter. Chassis from 8 liter, engine from Ricardo - everything was available quickly - but unfortunately (like the 8 liter) too late. Of the 4 liter, which was only available from the spring of 1931, 23 chassis were sold, although the 4 liter chassis was £ 175 more expensive than the standard 4 ½ liter and £ 75 more expensive than the - price-reduced - 4 ½ liter supercharged / Blower was. The 4 liter no longer had time to build up an image on the market, because Bentley became insolvent shortly after the start of production.

The 8 liter and also 4 liter hardly had time to position themselves on the market. Remember, the chassis sold by Bentley were brought to the body builders who assembled the bodies. At the time of the insolvency, there were only 49 fully assembled vehicles of the 8 liter, and just 7 of the 4 liter. Neither model had time to make a name for itself.

The widespread perception that the 4-liter and 8-liter models were developed at the wrong time or by the market does not seem tenable given these facts. The price did not play the central role either (economic crisis), as more of the expensive 4 liter and 8 liter models were sold than the cheaper traditional models.

Likewise, the assumption that appears again and again in many publications that Rolls-Royce had driven the unpleasant competitor Bentley into bankruptcy does not seem to be substantiated with facts. Even after the takeover of Bentley, Rolls-Royce has by no means stopped production of the “overpowering” Phantom II competitor, the Bentley 8 liter, or scrapped the parts. Rather, 33 chassis were produced from the existing production warehouse under the management of Rolls-Royce in 1932. This 1932 RR production accounts for a third of the total 8 liter production.

Bentley 4½ liter / Coach-type: Drophead Coupe

Other causes:

  • Marketing: In principle, good vehicles were produced, but their design did not always correspond to customer tastes. Ettore Bugatti on the Bentley program at the time: "Le camion plus vite du monde" ("the fastest truck in the world")
  • Racing program: Bentley had a very successful, but also very expensive racing program.
  • Model variety and production costs:

The different racetracks had different demands on the chassis of the respective vehicles. The Bentley 6½ liter was therefore available in seven different chassis variants - with only 545 chassis built. Four chassis versions were produced for the 182 chassis of the Speed ​​Six version. This resulted in high production costs. For comparison: Rolls-Royce only built the basic version and the long version of a chassis.

  • Model policy from 1930/31:

Two models by Woolf Barnato were placed against the will of W. O. Bentley. The Bentley 4½ liter Supercharged was a technical and financial disaster. The Bentley 4 Liter was carefully designed with the best of intentions, but had too little time to position itself on the market.

Model history 1919–1931


Bentley Speed ​​Six "Old Number One", all Bentley engines came from the Mercedes M93654

For engine development, W. O. Bentley hired the former Vauxhall engine developer Harry Varley, who had designed the 3.4-liter V12 Vauxhall, among other things. The heart of all Cricklewood Bentleys was the 3-liter engine. This engine borrowed from the 1914 Mercedes Grand Prix engine, the M93654. This engine was originally designed for the Kaiser Prize for aircraft engines ; But it was built as a racing engine. Mercedes had won the French Grand Prix in Lyon-Givors (triple victory) with this engine in July 1914. Christian Lautenschlager's winning vehicle was sent to the Mercedes branch in Long Acre for advertising purposes. At the suggestion of WO Bentley, the vehicle was confiscated by the British Army in 1915, dismantled at Rolls-Royce and subjected to a thorough inspection. Rolls-Royce used the knowledge gained from this, among other things, in aircraft engine construction for the Rolls-Royce Eagle .

The new Bentley engine was awarded as the Mercedes engine also has four valves per cylinder, a royal shaft-driven , overhead actuated camshaft.

Despite all the similarities with the Mercedes engine, there are also clear differences: It is very likely that Bentley and Varley were also inspired by the L-series engines of the Peugeot Grand Prix cars from 1912–1914. At that time, Peugeot had the habit of selling the racing cars to the highest bidder after winning a few races. This resulted in various copies and improvements, including at Sunbeam in England and Harry Miller in the USA. Like the Peugeot, the engine is long-stroke, has the same displacement of 3 liters, a cylinder block cast in one piece from gray cast iron with sack cylinders, a camshaft running in a light metal housing, four valves per cylinder and cast cooling jackets closed with aluminum plates. The M93654, on the other hand, still had individually forged cylinders with welded, separate cooling jackets and a multi-part brass housing for the camshaft with open rocker arms.

Bentley - who developed radial aircraft engines during World War I - was one of the first to stop using cast steel pistons. Instead, he used light metal pistons made from a specially developed alloy with which he had experience in his B.R.1 and BR2 rotary engines for the Royal Air Force .

All other Bentley engines were derived from the 3-liter base model: The 4½-liter engine is a drilled-out variant of the 3-liter version. For the 6½-liter engine, in turn, two cylinders were added to the 4½-liter engine, while the 8-liter model is a modified 6½-liter engine.


Frank Burgess, formerly chief designer at Humber, was responsible for the development of the chassis. As a basis, the team took “intensive borrowings” from the Grand Prix Peugeot L45 from 1914. Bentley did not deliver complete vehicles, but - as was common at the time - only the chassis.

In 1936/1937, an additional six Bentley 4½-liter and four 3-liter chassis were made from spare parts by Rolls-Royce in Derby.

Race successes and sales strategy

Bentley racing car

For W. O., the racing program was a central part of the sales strategy race on Sunday - sell on Monday .

The Bentley Boys , a group of young men from wealthy families who drove car races, were a fixed market . They bought the cars from Bentley and financed their racing costs themselves. One of these Bentley boys, Woolf Barnato , who became Bentley's CEO and largest financier as the company grew, drove a Bentley three times as a driver at Le Mans and won each one Times. This makes him one of the most successful Le Mans drivers.

Racing successes in Le Mans

The first Le Mans 24-hour race took place in 1923. At the premiere, a Bentley took fourth place. In the following years, too, good positions were often achieved; from 1927 to 1930 Bentley was the series winner.

  • 1923 : 4th place with 3 Liter Sport - drivers: J. Duff (GB) and F. Clement (F)
  • 1924 : 1st place with 3 Liter Sport - drivers: J. Duff (GB) and F. Clement (F)
  • 1925: No participation
  • 1926: No finish
  • 1927 : 1st place with 3 liter Super Sport - drivers: D. Benjafield , S. Davis (GB)
  • 1928 : 1st and 5th place Bentley 4 ½ liter - Drivers: W. Barnato , B. Rubin (GB)
  • 1929 : Places 1–4 for the four cars of the Bentley factory team - Drivers: W. Barnato, Sir H. Birkin (GB)
  • 1930 : 1st and 2nd place Bentley 6.6 liter (The Bentley works team consisted of four vehicles, the two Bentley Blowers failed) - Drivers: W. Barnato, G. Kidston (GB)

In 1931 no Bentley took part for financial reasons. Bentley did not return to Le Mans until 2001 , but just missed a place on the podium as in 2002 . The start at the Le Mans 24-hour race in 2003 then led to great success: the Bentley Speed ​​8 with drivers R. Capello (IT), T. Kristensen (DK) and G. Smith (GB) took first place before another Speed ​​8.

Bentley and Rolls-Royce (1931–1998)

The Bentley brand had become known as a manufacturer of expensive sports cars. Rolls-Royce cultivated this reputation by offering sportier models than Bentley, the large Phantom sedans only as Rolls-Royce and most models as both Rolls-Royce and Bentley, these being essentially only differentiated by the grille , hood ornament and differentiated the brand logos.

1931–1933 relocation of production to Derby

8 liter short wheelbase built in 1932 in Cricklewood by Bentley 1931 Ltd under the leadership of Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce bought Bentley on November 20, 1931 and wanted to replace the model range there immediately. The new Bentley was to be based on Rolls-Royce technology, which was also implemented in the Bentley 3½ liter , which was presented in 1933.

To bridge the gap, production at Bentley in Cricklewood continued until autumn 1932, as a large number of production parts in stock had to be recycled. The production of the Bentley based on Rolls-Royce technology was to take place in the future at the Rolls-Royce plant in Derby (Derbyshire) , which is why a buyer for the Bentley plant was also sought at this time. The Bentley parts that remained after production was discontinued were stored as spare parts in Derby.

After the takeover, under the leadership of Rolls-Royce in 1932 at the Cricklewood plant, 33 8 liter chassis and 25 4 liter chassis were produced ; In 1933, two more 4-liter chassis and a 4½-liter Supercharged were built at the Derby plant .

Derby Bentleys

Bentley 3½ liter 1934
1937 4¼ liter Bentley body König Basel

After Rolls-Royce continued to produce old Bentley designs during the transition period, the first Bentley model developed by Rolls-Royce was finally presented in 1933: For the Bentley 3½ liter , Rolls-Royce used the frame of a Rolls that never went into series production -Royce experimental model and a revised version of the engine from the Rolls-Royce 20/25 hp . From 1936 the same chassis with the 4257 cc engine of the 25/30 hp was offered for 50 pounds extra . This version was so successful that the original 3.5 liter version was discontinued in 1937, the 4¼ liter was built until 1939. This Bentley was supposed to enable high continuous speeds, especially on the emerging highways.

Between 1936 and 1937, individual copies of old Bentley models were made. For the Bentley 3½ liter and Bentley 4¼ liter presented from 1933 under the direction of Rolls-Royce, not a single part from the existing inventory of Bentley parts was compatible. After parts used from this stock in 1932 in vehicle production and other stocks were down as spare parts in stock, recovered in 1936 and 1937 Rolls-Royce the remaining stock by both used chassis and bearing parts new vehicles of the models 3 Liter and 4 ½ Liter made were. With the exception of a body from Corsica, these were given four-seater bodies from Vanden Plas and were given to customers as 3 liter RC and 4 ½ liter RC with a five-year guarantee.

As the successor to the 4 ¼ liter, the Bentley Mark V was offered from 1939 as the second Bentley model completely developed by Rolls-Royce. The clearly sporty variant Bentley Corniche derived from this was ultimately no longer produced in series. The development of the models that had begun was interrupted by the Second World War. 15 Bentley Mark V were completed as a chassis with an engine, eleven of which also received bodies. Only four Bentley Corniche chassis were completed, only the previously built prototype had also received a body.

The Derby Bentleys had overhead bumper motors ( OHV ) with side camshafts . In contrast, the engines built by WO Bentley had an overhead camshaft ( OHC ).

Crewe Bentleys

Bentley Mark VI 1952
Bentley R-type (1952)
Bentley S2 (1961)

To meet the need for Merlin aircraft engines, Rolls-Royce built a new factory in Crewe . Construction began in May 1938 and the first Merlin engines were delivered in 1939.

In 1941 the production of civilian cars by Rolls-Royce and Bentley was stopped due to the war. After the war, it was decided not to start producing them in Derby anymore. Chassis production was relocated to Crewe, while the Derby factory was to build jet engines .

In 1946, production began in the Crewe factory, which is still in use today. Both Rolls-Royce and Bentleys were manufactured here until 2002. The vehicle production halls today belong to the VW Group and are used for the production of the Bentley brand.

After the war, Rolls-Royce began developing its own factory standard body (called "Standard Steel"), which should make it possible to deliver complete vehicles and not just chassis (the standard steel body was attached to the chassis at the factory) .

1946–1952: Bentley Mark VI 1012 chassis + 4190 with standard steel body. The Mark VI was the sister model of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith and at the same time the first complete vehicle offered by the Rolls-Royce Group with the new “standard steel body”.

In addition to the Mark VI with factory bodies, 1012 individual bodies were also realized by renowned body builders such as Mulliner , Park Ward and many others.

In 1952 the only slightly further developed R-Type replaced the previous model. With the R-Type, the tradition at Bentley began to offer particularly sporty offshoots of the production model as the Continental . From a British point of view, the name is based on the higher speeds that could be driven on the continent. The Bentley R-Type Continental with a predominantly two-door fastback body by HJ Mulliner, which was built only 208 times, was the fastest four-seater sports car in the world at the time.

The similarities between the Rolls-Royce models and Bentley's sister models increased further when the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and the Bentley S-Type were presented in parallel in 1955 . The two types no longer differed in terms of engine performance, but only in terms of the radiator, brand emblems and body details. The Bentley S-Type was still based on a separate chassis, which meant that special bodies could still be implemented. There was also a Continental version of this model with a special sporty body and a variant with an extended wheelbase.

The great success of the S-Type was crowned in 1959 with the introduction of the light metal V8 engine with a displacement of 6.2 liters, which had been further developed in 2006. The model called S2 was otherwise identical and was replaced by the S3 with double headlights from 1962 until the end of the series in 1965.

The distribution of the construction figures between the sister models is interesting: While the S1, later referred to as 3538 units, was built significantly more than the Silver Cloud I with 2360 units, the ratio for the S2 was already 2308 to 2717 Silver Cloud II and for the S3 only still 1630 to 2809 Silver Cloud III.

In 1965 the Silver Shadow , which was downright revolutionary by Rolls-Royce standards, and its sister model, the Bentley T-Series, were introduced. While the previous models with their curved shapes were very conservative even for the time, the new sister models were technically and stylistically up to date and were generally recognized as extremely successful.

For the first time, the company built a self-supporting body , disc brakes , independent wheel suspensions and level control in its vehicles. The outside of the new T-Type was shorter, narrower, lower and also lighter, but the interior could be enlarged by the self-supporting body.

From 1969, a version with a long wheelbase and an optional separating disk could be ordered. The vehicles were built until 1980. The models from 1977 to 1980 were referred to as Silver Shadow II and T2 because of numerous changes, such as a different dashboard, plastic-padded bumpers and numerous technical changes. Nevertheless, the proportion of Bentleys compared to the Rolls-Royce versions continued to decline, only around 7 percent were delivered as Bentley T-Series. The T2 was no longer homologated for the USA, the most important export market. At the time, consideration was given to discontinuing the Bentley brand.

As successors, the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit and the sister model Bentley Mulsanne were presented in October 1980 . With this, and especially with the Bentley Mulsanne Turbo presented in 1982 , the recovery of Bentley sales began. The turbo versions, with a performance of “sufficient plus 50%”, are significantly more powerful and can be distinguished again from the Rolls-Royce sister models, and opened up new and, above all, younger groups of buyers.

In 1984 the Bentley Eight, which was a little cheaper by Rolls-Royce standards, was presented with a traditional chrome-plated wire mesh radiator grille. In 1985 the most important model of the time, the Bentley Turbo R , was presented, which was built in several evolutionary stages until 1997. Bentley thus regained a clear profile as a sporty, yet luxurious brand. Sales increased again, and since 1990 more Bentleys than Rolls-Royce have been produced: Some customers rejected the pompous appearance of a Rolls-Royce with the hood ornament (" Spirit of Ecstasy ") and preferred to use the equally comfortable, faster Bentley model .

Sale to Volkswagen AG

The Bentley brand was acquired by Volkswagen in 1998 for 1.44 billion German marks (736 million euros). During a transition period from 1998 to 2002, the Crewe plant manufactured Bentley and Rolls-Royce vehicles. Today only Bentley cars are produced in Crewe, while the Rolls-Royce models have been built at the Goodwood ( West Sussex ) plant since 2003 .

Bentley Motors Limited in the Volkswagen Group (since 1998)

Bentley EXP Speed ​​8

In 1998 the company Rolls-Royce was sold by the parent company Vickers to Volkswagen AG after a bidding war between BMW and Volkswagen . As a result, BMW canceled the existing engine supply and used its good relationships with the aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce plc. which had not been sold but owned the Rolls-Royce trademark to secure the rights to the name for £ 40 million. Volkswagen had acquired the automobile plant in Crewe and the name Bentley, but not the rights to the name of Rolls-Royce. So it came to a gentlemen's agreement between the VW chairman Ferdinand Piëch and the BMW boss and later VW chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder that VW continued to Rolls-Royce in the main plant in Crewe until the end of 2002 under the license of BMW and with engines from BMW -Models were allowed to build and BMW will set up a completely new production facility for Rolls-Royce cars with the Goodwood plant.

In the course of the transfer of the trademark rights to Rolls-Royce to the BMW Group, the company Rolls-Royce Motors was officially renamed Bentley Motors Limited.

In 2001, Bentley took after 70 years the first time with the model Bentley EXP Speed 8 at the 24-hour race at Le Mans in part. To get back into racing after this decade-long break, the company relied on the expertise of its sister company Audi , which was victorious with the R8 sports prototype in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2005. In 2003, the Sport Team Joest won the sixth time at Le Mans on the Bentley Speed ​​8 with a double victory. The victory went to the team Tom Kristensen / Rinaldo Capello / Guy Smith . Second came Johnny Herbert / David Brabham / Mark Blundell . For marketing reasons, the Sport Team Joest was run as a Bentley works team.

The model range from 2009: Continental Flying Spur, Continental GT, and the Arnage still developed by Vickers.

The Arnage , Continental and Azure (convertible version of the Continental), which were still developed by Vickers / Rolls-Royce, were initially offered for use on public roads . In 2003, Volkswagen presented the first independent development, the Continental GT, as the successor to the previous Continental Coupé. The vehicle is based on the same platform as the VW Phaeton . One year later, the production of the convertible Azure, which was still based on the old Continental, was discontinued, the successor Bentley Azure , introduced in 2006, was based on the Arnage and was therefore only partially redesigned. Based on the Azure, the Brooklands Coupé was manufactured from 2007 to 2011 . The Continental Flying Spur sedan has been produced on the basis of the Continental GT since 2005 . After the Azure and Brooklands models were discontinued (2009 and 2011) and the Arnage was replaced by the Mulsanne (2009), Bentley only offers Volkswagen-based models.

The Bentley State Limousine is the official car of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. Only two examples were made as gifts for her golden jubilee in 2002. The Bentley State sedan is therefore rarer than the legendary Rolls-Royce Phantom IV , of which only 18 were produced.

In 2009, the production of a small series of GT Zagato vehicles began in cooperation with the Italian design company.

In February 2011 Wolfgang Dürheimer replaced the long-time CEO Franz-Josef Paefgen and took over the management of the company. On June 1, 2014, Wolfgang Dürheimer took over the management from Wolfgang Schreiber again.

At the beginning of 2018, Adrian Hallmark followed as the new Chairman and CEO. Hallmark's appointment on February 1, 2018 was one of four changes in the senior management team at Bentley Motors. As of January 1, 2018, the company also appointed new board members in the areas of technical development; Sales Marketing as well as HR, digitization and IT.

A study by the German economist Ferdinand Dudenhöffer shows that Bentley suffered a loss of 17,000 euros per vehicle sold in the first half of 2018 . The company justified the red numbers with increased investments in electric mobility .

Trademark, grille and naming

Rolls-Royce continued to use both the Bentley radiator and the trademarks. Different variants were and are used.


The trademark was designed by W. O. Bentley's friend Freddie Gordon Crosby , although the original version was modified several times (early 1930s, 1990s and 2002).

The background colors for the winged B are apparently not used on the basis of a clear, fixed allocation. W. O. Bentley used a blue background for his first own car, then switched to red, green and black on other models. Blue was also used for the 6½, 8 and 4 liters, red for the “Speed” model, green for the 100 mph and many racing 4½s (including blower), and black for some 4½ and 8 liters -Chassis.

The variable choice of colors was continued under the leadership of Rolls-Royce as well as Volkswagen.


The radiator was designed in two different versions: Bentley used a lamellar radiator primarily in elegant models (for example Bentley 8 liter ) and while it was part of Rolls-Royce. The wire mesh radiator was the original radiator shape and was mainly used by Bentley for sporting purposes. After the takeover by Volkswagen, this variant has again been the sole "brand face" for all models since 1998, with the exception of the Bentley Mulsanne, which uses a lamellar radiator which, however, shows the wire mesh radiator behind it .


  • Brooklands: In 1912, W. O. Bentley and his brother HM Bentley founded a company to sell French DFP cars. W. O. Bentley improved the DFP engine and won several races with this vehicle on the Brooklands circuit in 1913 and 1914. In 1921 the Bentley 3 liter Experimental 2 was the first Bentley vehicle to win the first race here. RR Bentley models: 1992–1997 Brooklands, 1996–1998 Brooklands R and since 2006 VW Bentley: Brooklands Coupé.
  • Le Mans / Mulsanne: The "Mulsanne" is the section of the Le Mans race track on which the highest speeds are achieved. Bentley had its greatest successes at the 24 Hours of Le Mans - for example, a four-fold victory in 1929. RR-Bentley honored this racing tradition: 1980–1987 Bentley Mulsanne (incl. Turbo) 1980–1987, 1987–1992 Mulsanne S, and from 2010 VW-Bentley the “New” Mulsanne.
  • Le Mans / Arnage: Arnage is the name of the demanding Arnage curve on the famous French racing circuit. Since 1998 the name Arnage has been used by both RR-Bentley and VW-Bentley.
  • Eight: With starting number 8, a Bentley 3 liter won the Le Mans 24-hour race for the first time in 1924 - 8 has been the magic Bentley number ever since. W. O. Bentley constructed an 8-liter engine and named this top model Eight in 1931 , RR-Bentley built the Bentley Eight from 1984–1992 and VW-Bentley used the top-of-the-line racing model Bentley Speed ​​8 from 2001–2003 .


Timeline of Bentley models from 1919 to 1939
Type engine Bentley Motors Ltd. (independently) Bentley Motors 1931 Ltd. (Part of Rolls-Royce Ltd. )
1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s
9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0
Sports car 4 cylinder 3 liters
4½ liter / 4½ liter supercharged "Blower"
6 cylinder 6 ½ liter / Speed ​​Six
Upper class 6 cylinder 4 liters 3 ½ liter
8 liters 4 ¼ liter Mark V
  • Based on Rolls-Royce 20/25 hp
  • Based on Rolls-Royce 25/30 hp
  • Based on Rolls-Royce Wraith
  • Bentley models timeline since 1945
    Type Body versions Rolls Royce Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Vickers Volkswagen AG
    1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 2020s
    5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0 1 2 3 4th 5 6th 7th 8th 9 0
    Gran Turismo Coupé / convertible Continental GT / GTC [6] Continental GT / GTC [6] Continental GT / GTC [8]
    Roadster Bacalar [8]
    Upper class limousine Eight [4] Continental Flying Spur [6] Flying Spur [6] Flying Spur [6]
    Mark VI [1] R-Type [1] S1 [2] S2 [2] S3 [2] T1 [3] T2 [3] Mulsanne [4] Mulsanne S [4] Brooklands [4] Arnage [5]
    Mulsanne Turbo [4] Turbo R [4] Turbo RT [4] Arnage Red Label [5] Arnage R / Arnage T [5] Mulsanne
    Coupe R-Type [1]
    S1 [2]
    S2 [2]
    S3 [2]
    T1 [3] Corniche [3] Continental R / S / T Brooklands [5]
    Convertible T1 [3] Corniche [3] Continental [3] Azure Azure [5]
    State car State sedan [5]
    SUV Bentayga [7]
    Racing car LMGTP Speed ​​8
  • Based on or largely identical to Rolls-Royce [1] Silver Wraith , [2] Silver Cloud , [3] Silver Shadow , [4] Silver Spirit , [5] Silver Seraph
  • Based on VW platform [6] PL61, [7] MLB-Evo, [8] MSB
  • Collaboration with Zai

    Together with the Graubünden ski manufacturer Zai , Bentley developed new technologies that are implemented in ski models. 250 specimens of the Bentley ski were produced and came on the market in January 2010 for 9800 francs.


    • Klaus-Josef Roßfeldt: The history of the Rolls Royce and Bentley brands. Brinkmann, Sonsbeck 1981.
    • Klaus-Josef Roßfeldt: Rolls-Royce and Bentley - all models; History-data-facts. BLV-Verlag, Munich 1988, ISBN 3-405-13741-1 .
    • Klaus-Josef Roßfeldt: Rolls-Royce and Bentley Automobile, From the beginning of the century to the new millennium. Roßfeldt, Schwerte 1998, ISBN 3-00-004434-5 .
    • Jonathan Wood: Rolls-Royce & Bentley, the story of a legendary brand. Heel, Königswinter 2001, ISBN 3-89880-106-3 .
    • Andrew Frankel: Bentley - The Story. Delius Klasing Verlag, Bielefeld 2005, ISBN 3-7688-1658-3 .

    Web links

    Commons : Bentley  - collection of images, videos and audio files

    Individual evidence

    1. Volkswagen Navigator 2015 - Bentley . Retrieved May 16, 2015.
    2. Handelsblatt , No. 101 of May 30, 2016, p. 20.
    3. Walter Owen Bentley . Archived from the original on November 30, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    4. a b Woolf Barnato 1895–1948 (PDF; 54 kB) Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    5. a b ( Memento from June 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Bentley History p. 51 (PDF)
    6. a b c d Bentley Heritage . Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    7. a b ( Memento from June 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) RR-Foundation S 80 / Bentley Autobiography
    8. 1931 Bentley 8 Liter Open Tourer by Harrison . Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    9. Bentley Luxury bridal cars wellington . Archived from the original on February 19, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    10. a b 1931 Bentley 4½ liter Supercharged Boattail . Archived from the original on April 15, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    11. a b c Production numbers for Vintage Bentley cars . Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    12. 1931 Bentley 8-Liter Images, Information and History . Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    13. ^ Not just one of the boys . Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    14. Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Story: Part 2 . Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    15. ^ Bentley Classic & Sports Car . Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    16. Remember it for the one who lost . Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    17. ^ Rob McLellan: Vintage Bentley article :: The 3 Liter Bentley (1967). Retrieved November 23, 2017 .
    18. ^ Grand Prix Cars - Peugeot 1914 GP. Retrieved November 23, 2017 .
    19. ^ Ralph Juergen Colmar: Peugeot | Gettin 'A Li'l Psycho On Tires | Page 6 . In: (Ed.): Gettin 'A Li'l Psycho On Tires . May 2, 2013 ( [accessed November 23, 2017]).
    20. DMG M 93654 . Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    21. Derek Taulbut BSc (Eng) Hons. DMS: Pistons for High-Power Engines. In: Grand Prix Engine development 1906–2000. Derek Taulbut, May 23, 2001, accessed November 23, 2017 .
    22. ( Memento from June 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) BentleyHistory p. 31
    23. The Bentley Story . Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    24. ( Memento from June 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Bentley History
    25. Car of the Month - November 1999 Bentley 4 1/2 liter Tourer . Retrieved June 2, 2012.
    26. ^ Bentley Zagato GTZ - The Unique , February 4, 2009
    27. Adrian Hallmark becomes Chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors - three additional board members are appointed to the new leadership team. Retrieved February 10, 2018 .
    28. Profitability of the car companies: Ferrari earns 69,000 euros per car - Tesla loses 11,000 euros. In: Manager Magazin . August 8, 2018. Retrieved August 8, 2018 .
    29. William Medcalf. (No longer available online.), archived from the original on May 13, 2012 ; accessed on June 2, 2012 .
    30. Autoblog