Since its foundation in 1919 Bentley has been turning out powerful luxury cars. Sales are worldwide and include the lucrative United States market. The company, which was formed by W O Bentley has always had strong links with Le Mans and even today its road cars reflect the companies sporting heritage. The company is based in Crewe, Cheshire and has offices across the world, including Germany, the United States, Mexico, Australia, Japan, China, Dubai and Singapore, as well as over 200 production facilities around the planet.
Like many motor manufacturers Bentley made their name on the racetrack and in 1922 the company entered the international arena taking part in the Indianapolis 500. A year later a Bentley featured in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Bentley cars were to enjoy outstanding success in the Le Mans24 hour race, winning no fewer than five times between 1924 and 1930, including four consecutive first place finishes between 1927 and 1930.
One of the reasons for Bentley's success was the car's power. The company's engineers worked constantly to improve the range's engines. Throughout the 1920s they were 3-litre, but by the latter half of the decade the company was also producing 4.5 and 6.5 engines, including the "Blower Bentley," which was a supercharged version. By 1931 an 8-litre motor had also been developed.
The success of Bentley sales became a cause for concern with its arch rivals, Rolls Royce, which led to them taking over the company in 1931.
Following the end of World War II Bentley production moved to Crewe. In 1952 arguably the most famous road going Bentley model ever was launched, the Continental. The Bentley Continental was produced between 1952 and 1965, before being resurrected in 1984.
Used Bentley Continentals continue to be prized acquisitions among car enthusiasts. The model gained even more renown in February 2011 when Juha Kankkunen broke the world speed record on ice, driving a Bentley Continental Supersports at almost 200mph.