A History Of The Bentley Motor Group


The motorcar company Bentley has been at the forefront of British automobile manufacture since the beginning of the twentieth century. Bentley is renowned for its high performance and luxurious interiors and has become the front runner in providing the ultimate driving experiences.

Bentley was founded on the 18th of January 1919, by Walter Owen Bentley who had previously worked on locomotion’s and in the aeronautical trade. During the companies early years it was brought to the publics attention by its many racing feats. Incidentally a privately owned Bentley came fourth in the worlds first ever Le-Mans competition in 1923, this was a starting factor in the company’s support of a dedicated factory racing team.

As Bentley became more and more expansive it was becoming underfunded, Walter Owen Bentley turned to millionaire Woolf Barnato in 1925 in a deal which would see Barnato become chairman. Before his new appointment Barnato was a member of the ‘Bentley Boys’ who were a group of wealthy British individuals who owned and raced Bentley Motor cars. The group were responsible for keeping the companies prestigious reputation alive by racing Bentleys to victories around the world.

Barnato spent much of his fortune on the Bentley motor company as much for his love and belief of the company’s products as his business interests within it. Sadly, due to the depression in 1935 Bentley was sold to Rolls-Royce as the companies expensive and luxurious products were no longer viable in the unstable economy.

Rolls-Royce continued to own and operate the Bentley motor company up until 1988 when it was bought by Volkswagen for 430 million following a bidding fight with BMW. Volkswagen invested 500 million on modernising the Bentley Crewe Factory. This investment triggered a large revival in Bentley’s popularity and figures show that the workforce increased almost three times its size between 1998 and 2007.

Bentleys are now one of the most sought after cars and have enjoyed great exposure with product placement in many Hollywood blockbusters such as G.I Joe and Batman: The Dark Knight. Sales increased greatly each year and Bentley broke many of their own production records under the ownership of Volkswagen but due to the current financial climate sales are slowing down.