No one does over the top luxury like Bentley. From the gorgeous Continental to the elegant Flying Spur Bentley has always been a key element of Club Sportiva's automotive selection. Browse our excellent selection of luxury and exotic cars today and you can be behind the wheel of a Bentley tomorrow.
The Bentley brothers, Walter and Horace, started Bentley Motors Ltd. way back in 1919. Not content with selling other people's cars, they started tinkering with a goal of building their own motorcar. By 1921, they delivered their first car which sported an innovative four valves per cylinder engine and naturally they took it racing. Hill climbs and races at a place called Brooklands demonstrated the reliability of the new Bentley cars and by 1922 they were entering the Indianapolis 500 where they placed 13th overall.
The rest of the 1920s saw an influx of cash from a fellow named Captain Woolf Barnato. Bentley, like many small British manufacturers of the time was low on cash and Barnato became the primary shareholder and chairman of the company. Through his influx of cash, Bentley started to thrive. They were winning at the track to, with an amazing four straight victories at LeMans. The braggadocious Barnato even raced a train from Cannes to London in a 6½-litre Bentley Speed Six. And won. Bentleys even became famous as a go-to vehicle in the James Bond novels, although it was Aston Martin to eventually took over the crown in the films.
All of this came at a cost and Barnato's money eventually started to run out. 1929 also saw the Wall Street Crash and beginning of the Great Depression, which led to a bad time in Bentley's history. A entity called the British Central Equitable Trust stepped in to purchase Bentley. It turns out that this was not a bid to save it, but a bid to kill it. The bid came from a front company owned by Brit rival Rolls Royce. They intended to keep the company from competing with their new Phantom II. Bentley remained a subsidiary of Rolls Royce who retained the trademark well into modern times. These two automotive brands would be intertwined for decades to come following this surreptitious buyout.
By 1933, Bentley production began under their new master, but their cars were mostly badge-engineered versions of Rolls products. As World War II began, like most axis and allied car automakers, production turned to military equipment. To this day, Rolls Royce is known for producing massive airplane engines, a trend that started around this era. After the war, the only thing produced with a Bentley badge were rolling chassis that customers could have finished by local coachbuilders.
The 1950s saw the introduction of the Continental, a fastback coupe. The chassis was built in Crew, but still primarily finished by coachbuilders, like by H. J. Mulliner & Co. Through the remainder of the 50s and into the 1960s, Bentley plugged along. However, by 1970 sales had plummeted and issues with parent Rolls Royce made matters worse. The airplane supplier diversified and sold off their motor car business, taking Bentley with them.
Purchased by Vickers plc in 1980, Bentley began to rebound. The new 1980 Mulsanne was an attempt to regain that high performance luxury image that Bentley benefited from decades earlier. Alongside the Continental and the new Brooklands saloon, Bentley delivered their most robust lineup ever!
By 1997, Vickers was ready to sell and Rolls Royce Motors was moved yet again; this time over to Volkswagen. VW outbid rival BMW to take ownership of the company, which included Bentley. Unfortunately, Bentley did not receive the rights to use the Rolls Royce name, which remained back at the parent aero company. Smartly, BMW managed to purchase the naming rights, and created Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited. Eventually VW divested their Rolls Royce holdings fully to BMW, where they remain today, to focus on Bentley.
The modern Volkswagen era at Bentley has been quite a ride. After a massive upgrade to the Crewe factory, VW has delivered the next generation of modern, luxurious Bentleys. Today the showroom still features the Continental coupe and convertible, the Mulsanne and Flying Spur saloons, and the brand new Bentayga ultra-luxury SUV. The future looks very bright for Bentley indeed.
Rent a Bentley today to discover why this historic British manufacturer is producing some of the most luxurious cars on the market. Club Sportiva's inventory changes rapidly, register for free to get updates on new vehicles as they arrive. With Clubhouses throughout California, including locations in Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Monterey, and Menlo Park@AutoVino, we have just what you are looking for for your next exotic driving experience, corporate event, or weekend getaway.
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