Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Profile : Bentley Company

Founded in 1919 by Walter Owen ("W.O."), Bentley, the luxury brand developed a high class, sports car reputation due to the antics of the "Bentley Boys" such as race car driver Woolf Barnato of the Barnato diamond fame; journalist S.C.H. Davis; and racer Sir Henry Stanley. Bentleys would win the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1927 through 1930 before competitor Rolls-Royce purchased it in 1931.

It was under Rolls-Royce did the first Bentley Continental appear.

In 1980, Rolls-Royce was purchased by Vickers plc, which later sold both marques to Volkswagen after a bidding war with BMW. In a complicated agreement between the two German automakers, VW would continue to build both luxury brands until 2002 while BMW licensed the Rolls-Royce "nom de plume" from Rolls-Royce plc.

Bentleys are known for their exclusive, luxurious, "Old-World" feel but powerful engines. Besides the Continental, other well-known Bentleys include the convertible Azure, the Continental GT coupe, and the Flying Spur sedan. During the 2007 Geneva Motor Show, Bentley confirmed it has given the green light for a new coupe, the Bentley Brooklands, for 2008.

Bentley continues to be a subsidiary of Volkswagen.

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