Bentley Motors UK Press Bentley history Cricklewood then Derby and for… — Volkswagen Derby I

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PRESS RELEASES 2006

history: Cricklewood, then and for the last 60 years at Crewe

In Bentley Motors celebrates 60 of production at its famous Crewe Today, Crewe is a flourishing, site, fusing the latest with time-honoured craftsmanship and Its most popular models the Continental GT and Continental Flying — sell in record across the globe. No Bentley in history have been so nor enjoyed such international

The first-ever Crewe-built Bentley in 1946 — just a after the Second World War — as Crewe production from war-winning Merlin engines to post-war luxury It, too, was an international success. The VI was significant in many ways, not that it was the first Bentley in a ‘standard’ body rather different bodies designed and by bespoke coachbuilders. (They still available and built by the of Mulliner but represented just 20 of total orders.)

Just as as the construction was the commerce: the Mark VI was the best-selling car ever to wear a badge. More than were sold in five almost as many Bentleys as made in the entire 20-year period.

W.O. Bentley ‘a good car, a fast the best in its class’

The company, of goes back much than 60 years. Bentley was born in January 1919 and its staff of three were in Conduit Street, London. The was the brainchild and inspiration of Walter Bentley — invariably as ‘W.O.’ — a noted engine designer, amateur car importer and one-time railway W.O.’s main claims to before the incorporation of Bentley were the BR1 and BR2 aluminium-piston rotary engines. Fitted to aircraft as the Sopwith Camel, they win the Great War in the air and — owing to reliability — helped the lives of countless pilots.

In 1919, Bentley Motors’ engine, the 3-litre, burst life in New Street Mews, Baker Street, London. it used aluminium pistons, a invention (and now normal in the industry). Soon after, — as both the prototype and chassis were codenamed was previewed at the Olympia motor in London and production began, in 1921, in a new factory in Cricklewood, London. The first 3-litre car, the first car ever after its cylinder capacity, was in September that year.

reckoned racing was the best way to the new company and embarked on an ambitious of motor sport, even the sale of his first car. A won its first event in May 1921 and the was to compete at Le Mans five and win it twice. It still holds the for the biggest winning margin (by 212 in 1927). Bentley went on to win Le five times, between and 1930. It was to be 73 years before it win again.

Great cars followed the Deliveries of the six-cylinder 6 1/2-litre in 1926, while the 4 1/2-litre, in 1927, had a modular four-cylinder of the 6 1/2-litre’s motor and is probably the fondly remembered of all the Cricklewood it won Le Mans in 1928. The Speed W.O Bentley’s own favourite, used a 6 1/2-litre engine and won Le Mans (1929 and 1930). No car better up W.O’s philosophy that it was to produce fast, sporting that were also and civilised. These foundations hold true today.

was also the legendary ‘Blower — a supercharged 4 1/2-litre that was fast and spectacular, but won a major race. W.O. it. The 8-litre, on the other hand, was the best Bentley to come Cricklewood. Alas, it was launched before the Great Depression. In Bentley produced a more — in every sense 4-litre version. It was not all bad, but a engine fitted to the leviathan chassis was never going to like a true Bentley.

Motors becomes bankrupt and is by Rolls-Royce

Though undoubtedly a engineer, W.O. was less as a businessman. Successive years of losses meant that in W.O. sold a majority of the company to the man who would become his successful driver, Woolf W.O. stayed on as managing Barnato became chairman. By the extraordinary Captain Barnato businessman, Le Mans winner, and bon vivant — was no longer to spend his own money on an unviable and called in the receivers on July 10,

Napier, maker of many pre-war cars and cash-rich the recession, tabled a generous but just one rubber stamp from a deal, Rolls-Royce, car and aero engine makers, the Napier bid. W.O. on for a while, effectively as glorified driver, before leaving for good and joining rival car maker Lagonda.

The era of the Derby ‘the Silent Sports

Production at Cricklewood ceased; Bentleys would be made, at for the remainder of the ’30s, at Rolls-Royce’s in Derby. The first Derby the 3 1/2-litre — the ‘Silent Car’ — was announced in 1933 and although it may have the ‘bloody thump’ of W.O.’s cars, it had a civility and refinement new to W.O. claimed it was the best car to bear his name. In 1936, the 3 engine was bored out to 4 1/4 litres.

All Bentleys built at Derby Bentleys in their own right: did not share engines or chassis Rolls-Royces made at the same That changed with the V, development of which began in but which was effectively still-born 17 were built) because of the W.A. Robotham, head of car was a prescient man who saw that the future lay in the modular method of car building: should be as standardised and widely as possible. The Mark V was step one in the sharing of components between and Bentley. It was a philosophy that for almost 60 years.

Birth of the Bentleys


In the ’30s, Rolls-Royce a fifth of all workers in the aircraft As war seemed inevitable, demand for engines soared. Rolls-Royce and the government looked for other ‘Shadow’ factories were set up to demand and to reduce the likelihood of being wiped out in the event of an strike. Crewe was a railway which meant a good infrastructure and a ready supply of labour. The site chosen, on the of Crewe, were potato part of Merrill’s Farm. began in July 1938. months later the first aeroplane engine was built. At its in 1943, 10,000 people employed at the factory.

Car production during the war years. When the war the factory at Derby was committed to new-era jet engines. Car production to Crewe, where employees had to be in unfamiliar techniques necessary for car such as painting, anti-corrosion body mounting and woodwork.

The Mark VI launched in 1946 was the new Crewe-built vehicle. It was based on the Mark V; the major change was the new Steel body, designed by Evernden. It was the first-ever ‘complete’ Before the Mark VI, Bentley had only the chassis and engines.

The capacity was increased to 4 1/2 litres, up 4 litres, for the last year of the VI’s life, before it was by the R-Type, the first Bentley to be with an automatic transmission. four-speed auto quickly the most popular choice: it offered a higher top speed the manual and further increased the and refinement of the car.

Magnificent R-Type Continental glimpse of the future

The most and influential R-Type model, was the Continental. This two-door, vehicle, mechanically based on the saloon, had a body designed by chief stylist John and built by HJ Mulliner. It was a lovely flowing, extravagant bodywork, haunches, minimal front Inspired by the one-off pre-war Bentley coupe, it became a piece of post-war design. Bentley Motors’ current director Dirk van Braeckel inspiration for the new Continental GT, it was to the ‘50s Continental that — than any other previous model — he turned. 208 were built from to 1954. With a top speed of it was the fastest four-seat car in the world just as the Continental GT would 50 years later.

In 1955, the was replaced by the S1, the first car to be developed and at Crewe. There was a Continental version, although it lacked the and pace of the R-Type Continental. The S1 was and roomier than the R-Type; transmission was standard. It was also the Bentley fitted with a engine. Its successor, the S2, saw the debut of the 6.25-litre V8 — lighter yet powerful than the outgoing six which, in various modified has remained in production.

The S2 was the first that had power steering as Air conditioning was an option. The S3, distinguished by its in the front wings, followed in

Although the V8 engine fitted to Arnage shares no components, the is clear. Says director of Dr Ulrich Eichhorn: Today’s V8 is a of the 1959 engine but massively It now has over100 percent more over 100 percent more 40 percent less fuel and produces 99.5 percent emissions.

The Bentley T-series, the engineered’ Rolls-Royce

The T-series, in 1965, was Bentley’s first car made with a unitary as opposed to a separate chassis. It had self-levelling suspension for superior comfort and was the first Bentley to use disc brakes. Two-door and Continentals were offered. In engine capacity increased to litres, the capacity of the current

In 1977, the T2 was launched. It had fully split-level air conditioning, a world and power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering.

The belonged to the era of ‘badge engineering’. the R-Type and S-Type vehicles also closely linked to models, the T represented the greatest sharing. It was identical to the Rolls-Royce Shadow, apart from its and badging. It even had Rolls-Royce on its engine. Nowadays, the Bentley the higher price.

Bentley’s renaissance

Managing of the time, David Plastow, members of the Bentley Drivers a Bentley resurgence; and so it was to prove. In Rolls-Royce merged with Building up the Bentley marque was a key to improving the company’s performance. The Mulsanne, launched in 1980, was badge-engineered car — sharing with the Silver Spirit but at least the name, redolent of Le Mans history (named the corner at the end of the main straight) better things to come.

The proper began in 1982, the Mulsanne Turbo was launched. 140mph Bentley — ‘Crewe’s Missile’ — faster than some and yet still had all the refinement and civility one from a Bentley. Bentley were booming. Soon not Rolls-Royce would become the marque at Crewe, The Eight, followed in 1984, had a chrome radiator, like a racing Bentley, and used stiffened The Mulsanne Turbo was replaced by the R (for Roadholding) in 1985 and was a moment in Bentley’s history it was even faster and more but, most significantly, a breakthrough in dynamic handling.

launched in 1991, the Continental R the first unique-to-Bentley coupГ© the S3 Continental of 1965. This in spawned the Azure of 1995, the all-new Bentley convertible for 30 A year later saw the launch of the wider and faster Continental T (derived from the R) with its engine ultimately to develop 420 bhp and a top speed of 170 mph.

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The all-new saloon was launched in 1998 and used a BMW-derived 4.5-litre turbo V8, although the Crewe-produced V8 would remain in production in the and Continental R and T models. For the first in Bentley’s history, the body for the new would be made in-house.

and Rolls-Royce go their own separate

At about this time, announced its intention to sell and Rolls-Royce. The price of developing new was becoming prohibitive. BMW expressed an so did Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. In the end, the two — which united in — were destined to go own ways. Volkswagen bought the and the Crewe factory, while BMW the rights to use the Rolls-Royce name and set up a new near Goodwood in West southern England.

Then the biggest investment programme in history. Over ВЈ500million was to rebuild and re-equip the entire factory, re-engineer and improve the and develop new models.

The first sign of all this and the new understanding of the Bentley marque was the Arnage Red Label. Launched in it mated the traditional yet further 6.75-litre V8 to the existing Arnage. of the BMW-powered Arnage — the Label — dried up overnight; there was no doubt engine Bentleys drivers The Red Label eventually turned the Arnage T, R and RL with more invested in re-engineering the Arnage was spent on the original Arnage

Continued investment in the Arnage and the introduction in 2006 of the new Arnage-based convertible clearly demonstrates allegiance to its heritage. The new Azure Bentley’s flagship and reaffirms the position as the prime provider of four-seater convertibles at the very of the market.

The Continental GT and Continental Spur transform Crewe

To the hefty investment in Crewe, needed to increase substantially. development work soon on a new ‘Mid-Sized’ Bentley model, as the was flagged during its development. The car be designed, engineered and built in with key components bespoke to The engineering department expanded and today, there is a 550-strong and engineering team at Crewe to the creation of new Bentleys.

The first of the ‘Mid-Sized Bentley’ would be a it would be followed by a closely saloon. Together these would increase Bentley from below 1,000 a to nearer 9,000 cars.

The for the Continental GT’s styling from the ’50s R-Type but in every other way this was a modern car. The engine was a 6-litre 552bhp W12. torque was an enormous 479lb ft at 1600rpm; the Continental GT had explosive performance as well as an enormously top speed, independently verified at 200mph. Yet, as with all Bentleys, it was quiet and refined. A four-seater, it offered luxury levels of comfort, yet had the performance of a sports car.

The Continental Spur, which followed two later, in 2005, sought to the gap between top-end luxury such as the Bentley Arnage and versions of the top-end, mass-made saloons. It was based on the Continental GT same powertrain, same suspension design. Yet its behaviour was different. The ride was more biased; it offered much rear seat room. body panel, apart the bonnet, was new. Yet it was also a 200mph vehicle, the fastest in the world.

In September 2005, Bentley the introduction of the Continental GTC, a new 2+2 convertible that completes the Continental model range. The GTC on sale at the end of 2006.

Crewe in

Although outwardly the original of the Crewe factory have largely preserved, inside the modern, light environment is unrecognisable from the 1946 that emerged from the Today, Bentley employs a workforce at Crewe, an increase of 70 percent since 1998, and is a major contribution to the economic of the North West region of

This ultra-modern factory some of the highest technology in the motor industry. Yet this technology is blended with craftsmanship skills. All vehicles are assembled. Leather and wood-working abound, as precious wood are expertly transformed into dashboards, door trims, and cabinets. Leather is hand as the softest and most beautiful are transformed into exquisite trim.

Bentley’s Mulliner will personalise a Bentley in about any way a customer demands, a hand-made service that no car company can match. Located as a division within the Crewe Mulliner is an enthusiastic and passionate of craftsmen and women with craft and technical skills. is the direct descendant of the H.J. coachbuilding company, founded in and became part of Bentley in

A Bentley is still very a hand-built vehicle. There is now wood used in a new Bentley ever before — and piece is hand-picked, hand-affixed and The leather, too, has never more beautifully crafted.

A new is, however, a very modern car. These cars are to the vision of W.O. Bentley, beliefs still guide the But they are delivered with a of precision and technology that not only amaze W.O. but astound anyone who visits century Crewe.

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