Before World War I, Walter Owen Bentley and his brother, Horace Millner Bentley, sold French DFP cars in Cricklewood, North London, but W.O, as Walter was known, always wanted to design and build his own cars. At the DFP factory, in 1913, he noticed an aluminium paperweight and thought that aluminium might be a suitable replacement for cast iron to fabricate lighter pistons. The first Bentley aluminium pistons were fitted to Sopwith Camel aero engines during the First World War.
W.O. registered Bentley Motors Ltd. in August 1919, and in October he exhibited a car chassis, with a dummy engine, at the London Motor Show. Ex–Royal Flying Corps officer Clive Gallop designed an innovative four-valves-per-cylinder engine for the chassis. By December the engine was built and running. Delivery of the first cars was scheduled for June 1920, but development took longer than estimated so the date was extended to September 1921. The durability of the first Bentley cars earned widespread acclaim, and they competed in hill climbs and raced at Brooklands.
Bentley has always had one clear aim: to create extraordinary cars for extraordinary customers.
From the moment the first 3-Litre engine roared into life in a mews behind London’s Baker Street in 1919, them been continually driven by the idea of exceeding expectations. From the start customers have bought into the Bentley vision and chosen them cars to push the boundaries. In the early days this took place on the roads and racetracks of Europe. Today, customers across the globe shape the world in diverse and exciting ways.
For over 90 years, the thousands of extraordinary people that work at Bentley have fed this vision. Inspired by customers, they create the most luxurious and powerful cars in the world. With each new model, they strive to stretch the bounds of possibility. As a result, Bentley remains the definitive British luxury car company, crafting the world’s most desirable high performance cars.