101 Cars, Part 92… The Late Blower Bentley
When you think of FAST, chances are that Bentley isn’t the first car that comes to mind. Luxury, elegance… expensive. But, they don’t really have the name for FAST.
But their history tells a different story. In fact, they first made their name with “sporting cars”… right after building engines for the Sopwith Camel… Snoopy flew a Sopwith Camel against the Red Baron. In 1919, W O Bentley turned his attentions to building fast cars. The first cars were delivered in 1921. From 1927-1930, Bentley won four consecutive 24 hours of Le Mans events. The chief rival was Bugatti. Ettore Bugatti referred to the Bentleys as the World’s Fastest Lorries (trucks). The were fast, but they were also very durable and reliable, unlike the Bugattis… which were fast, but not as robust.
Rolls-Royce bought the company in 1931. At that point, Bentley evolved into a lower priced Rolls-Royce… until the Bentley Mulsanne Turbo R. While it was certainly based upon a Rolls-Royce (the Silver Spirit), its performance put the car bringing up 0-60 in under 6 seconds. Not bad for two tons with the aerodynamics of a barn.