Everything You Need to Know About Bentley Motors

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Bentley Motors was originally founded in 1919 by Water Owen Bentley, who was also known as “W.O.” Since then, the company has achieved incredible success, creating some of the finest vehicles the world has ever seen. And, while we wait for Bentley to officially unveil their new SUV, now is a good chance to really learn more about Bentley as a company, their factory, the records broken and awards won, and to learn about what goes into their automotive designs.

On their media site, Bentley offers a long list of facts and figures from 2013. With the trivia found in this list, one can learn what has made Bentley so successful. Check out the list below, directly from their media website, to learn everything you need to know about Bentley Motors. To read the entire list, click here.

Bentley EXP 2 (Source: Bentley)
Bentley EXP 2

Bentley – The company

  • Bentley was founded in 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley, or “W.O.” as he was known
  • W.O. Bentley’s Mission statement is as true today as it was then “To build a good car, a fast car, the best in its class”
  • The first Bentley car, EXP 1, was completed in London in 1919
  • In 1998 Bentley was acquired by VW, since then the site has seen £1billion of investment
  • There are 4,000 Bentley employees worldwide – Bentley has been named as one of Britains Top Employers for two years running
Bentley employees on the Mulsanne assembly line
Bentley employees on the Mulsanne assembly line
  • Bentley operates in 58 countries, with 193 sales sites
  • 10,120 cars were delivered in 2013, a 19 per cent increase on 2012
  • Bentley is the third largest automotive R&D investor in the UK, and in the top 20 overall
  • Over the past 10 years Bentley has donated £500,000 to local and national charities
  • Bentley works in partnership with various establishments across the world. Bentley places include a dining room at Mosimanns in London, the Bentley Suite in St Regis NY and Bentley commissioned barber chairs in Pankhurst London
The Bentley Factory (Source: Bentley)
The Bentley Factory

Bentley – The factory

  • The Bentley Motors factory is a fully integrated site – all aspects of car production from Design, Engineering, Manufacture, Quality, and Sales & Marketing take place in Crewe
  • 3,600 employees are based at the Pyms Lane site
  • The solar panel installation on the factory roof is the largest in the UK. 20,000 panels totaling 5MW are situated over a 3.45 hectares of roof space, generating enough energy to power to 1,200 houses over a year.
  • On average 25 Continental and four Mulsanne are built per day
  • It takes 104 hours to build a Continental GT, 130 hours to build a Flying Spur, and 399 hours to build a Mulsanne from start to finish
  • 546 employees work on the Continental and Flying Spur production line
Fresh off of the assembly line
  • 144 employees work on the Mulsanne production line
  • The factory is the largest producer of the W12 engine globally, 66,537 have been built since the introduction of the Continental GT in 2003
  • Once a week an engine undergoes a full audit test – running the engine at speeds up to 6,000 revolutions per minute
  • Every car undergoes a 500-650 point checklist before final sign off, dependent on options
  • 20 cars per week undergo a full audit, which includes full function, road test (around 40 miles per test), and a full interior and exterior check
Bentley's paint process
Bentley’s paint process

Bentley – The craftsmanship

  • The Bentley matrix grill originates from the golden era of Bentley racing in the 1920s, when it was fitted as a protective mesh stone guard
  • Bentley’s winged B mascot was redesigned by Tim Potts in 2006, the original was designed by Charles Sykes and first used on 6½ Litre Bentleys in the late 1920’s
  • Bentley leather is sourced from Northern European bulls, the more temperate climate zones ensure there are fewer parasites and the leather is naturally blemish free
  • Of the 399 hours it takes to build the flagship Mulsanne from start to finish, 200 of these are dedicated to crafting the interior
  • The steering wheel of one Mulsanne takes one person 10 feet of thread, 5 hours and 620 stitches to complete
Bentley’s craftsmanship in leather
  • To contrast stitch the entire cabin of a Continental GT takes 25 hours
  • There are 16 veneer options available, including 14 types of wood
  • 167 employees work in the Wood Shop, it takes four years to master every one of the 17 processes
  • There are 120 “standard” Bentley paint colours to choose from, however colour matching means the actual palate is effectively limitless
  • More unusual customer requests have included matching upholstery to a customer’s nail varnish, and matching paint to another’s food processor
Bentley’s world ice speed record-breaking Supersports convertible
Bentley’s world ice speed record-breaking Supersports convertible

Bentley – Records and awards

  • Though best known for 6 victories at Le Mans – Bentley’s first racing victory was at Brooklands in Surrey in 1921
  • Bentley first won at Le Mans in 1924, and from 1927 to 1930 they won each year
  • Bentley boy Woolf Barnato remains the only driver to have won Le Mans every time he entered, in 1928, 1929 and 1930
  • In 2011 rally champion Juha Kankkunen achieved a new ice speed record of 205.48 mph (330.695 km/h) in a Bentley Continental Supersports Convertible, latterly known as the “Ice Speed Record” car
  • In 2003 the first generation Bentley Continental GT was named the most significant production car design at the NAIAS eyes on design awards, since then the car has won numerous awards including Grand Tourer of the Year award by Top Gear magazine,  and is twice winner of the ‘Classic Car of the Future’ award from Motor Klassik magazine
Glen Kidston and Joel Woolf Barnato at Le Mans (1930
Glen Kidston and Joel Woolf Barnato at Le Mans (1930)
  • W.O. Bentley’s own company car, a 1930 8 Litre, is still driven, in October 2012 it completed the seven-day long 2012 China Rally of International Classic Cars in Shanghai
  • Tim Birkin’s 4 ½ Litre Supercharged ‘Blower’ Bentley single seater set a new world best for a Bentley at Bonhams Goodwood auction, the legendary car set a £4.5 million auction record

(Source: Bentley Motors)

(Image Source: Bentley Motors)