The definition of luxury may have nothing to do with the streets but, paradoxically, it can be seen roaming through some of the least expected places, rims glimmering, wood and chrome finished steel bulk rolling silently through concrete labyrinth passage ways. It's an automobile that goes great with yachts and French Riviera vacations as well as New Zealand wool pin stripe suits and finely designed porcelain buttons embedded in solid gold.
Bentley has been a provider of quality stand-out privileged social and financial statement-vehicles since 1919. Founded by Walter Owen Bentley (1888-1971), Bentley Motors has grown into a world leading car-maker and also a symbol of Great Britain, as well as sole provider of wheels for the Queen through the 2002 released State Limousine.
The company's founder had primarily been known for designing and making reliable rotary engines that were fitted on aircraft during World War I, before successfully entering the auto-world. Before becoming notorious with the Bentley BR1 aero-engine during the war, Bentley had been in partnership with his brother H.M., selling French D.F.P. cars. It was during those times that he thought of establishing his own car-making business.
Soon after Bentley Motors was formed in January, 1919, the company was "allowing" Walter Owen to exhibit a chassis with an engine replica at the London Motor Show. The design was a success and the orders poured in. However, the company was unable to carry the deliveries out in time, with the first cars being ready for shipping only in September 1921, one year later than initially estimated.
Although, it had a lot of fans and enjoyed great value on the UK market, the company suffered a fate similar to that of Aston Martin, undergoing several ownership changes and financial trouble. Fortunately enough, its allies were constantly on the look-out and possessed vast riches that they used to keep Bentley on track.
Bentley was acquired by millionaire and 'Bentley Boy' enthusiast Wolf Barnato, who became the new owner of the company in 1925. Despite the steady cash flow that was used to stop Bentley Motors from sinking, the Great Depression wiped clean any desire for expensive automobiles, leaving Bentley poor and disoriented.