On 10th July 2019, Bentley reached its Centenary, an achievement most definitely worth celebrating. From the very first prototype created in a London mews to the phenomenally powerful and exquisitely crafted cars driven across the world today, Bentley has transformed the face of motoring.
Bentley was founded in 1919 by Walter Owen Bentley, or W.O. as he was known. W.O. Bentley’s mission statement is as true today as it was then “To build a good car, a fast car, the best in its class”. The first Bentley car, EXP 1, was completed in London in 1919 at Cricklewood that was the first home of Bentley.
Rolls-Royce bought the company for £125,275 in 1931. From then on production moved to Derby until 1940. Car production commenced at Crewe in 1946, the first Bentley to roll off the production line was the Mark V1.
In 1998 Bentley was acquired by the Volkswagen Group, immediately investing over £1billion to upgrade the factory.
Bentley employs over 4000 people at its Pyms Lane headquarters in Crewe, UK. As of the end of 2018, Bentley was operating in 58 different markets, with 203 retail partners 10,494 cars were delivered to customers in 2018.
The Home of Bentley
The Pyms Lane factory in Crewe has been the Home of Bentley since 1946.
The Bentley Motors factory is a fully integrated site – all aspects of car production from Design, Engineering, Manufacture, Quality, and Sales & Marketing take place in Crewe. The site covers an area of 521,111m2, with 166,930m2 indoors. Pyms Lane is also home to CW1 House, Bentley’s flagship showroom concept, and named after Bentley’s postal code.
W.O. Bentley founded Bentley Motors in order to “build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class”. That desire has remained at the heart of Bentley’s vision ever since.
On average, 26 Continentals and Flying Spurs, 5 Mulsannes and 31 Bentaygas are built a day.
It takes around 110 hours to build a Continental GT, around 130 to build a Flying Spur, 130 to build a Bentayga, and around 400 to build a Mulsanne from start to finish. 537 employees work on the Continental and Flying Spur production line, 83 employees work on the Mulsanne production line. Bentley is recognised as the centre of excellence for Wood, Leather, and W12 Engine manufacture within the Volkswagen Group. It takes 30 people 13 and a half hours to build one W12 engine. It takes 136 hours to complete the interior trim on a Mulsanne.
Around 15 bull hides go into every Mulsanne, around 14 in a Bentayga, 13 in a Flying Spur, 11 in a Continental, or 10 for the Convertible version. Every Mulsanne steering wheel takes one person 10 metres of thread, 5 hours and 620 stitches to complete. Every sheet of wood within a complete car comes from the exact same tree. This is to ensure the pattern and colour is the same throughout the car and remains consistent as it ages. Each bundle of veneer consists of 24 leaves.
Once a week an engine undergoes a full audit test – running the engine at speeds up to 6,000 revolutions per minute. Every car undergoes a 500-650 point checklist before final sign off, dependent on options. 20 cars per week undergo a full audit, which includes full function, road test (around 40 miles per test), and a full interior and exterior check. Every car is tested on a rolling road, which is equivalent to four miles.
The 10th of July 2019 marks Bentley’s 100th year and this extraordinary milestone – reached by only a special few companies – will be a cause for celebration of the company’s history, its global success today and its exciting future. From modest beginnings, Bentley has moved from strength to strength – in a relentless pursuit of both luxury and performance. Earning its place within the racing world, Bentley’s victories at Le Mans in the 1920s echoed around the world, and returned once again in the 21st century. W.O.’s vision continues to guide our beliefs, actions and ambitions.