Sometimes forgotten in the 100-year legacy of Bentley is the English manufacturer’s legacy at LeMans, the famous French racetrack and its 24-hour race.
Joseph Bentley, the company earlier in-house designer was against the idea of participating in the event. He believed it was too severe to race a car at top speeds for 24 hours.
But after attending the race, Bentley changed his mind and the manufacturer changed its perspective. Bentley won five of the first eight 24 Hours of LeMans events beginning in 1924 — and the legacy of the luxury vehicle had begun.
Andrew Noakes, the author of the new book 100 Years of Bentley, writes about Bentley’s legacy at LeMans and many other topics in his volume that celebrates the manufacturer’s centenary.
Noakes is our guest from England in Episode #106 of The Weekly Driver Podcast. Co-hosts Bruce Aldrich and James Raia discuss with Noakes the celebration of of the iconic carbuilder — from its earliest models to its modern-day vehicles.
Featuring more than 200 images, including some never seen in prints, 100 Years of Bentley include the history of W.O. Bentley’s early days as a railway engineer along with his first attempts at modifying French DFP cars, to the company’s early racing exploits.
Despite its prominence, Bentley has endured financial difficulties One result was its acquisition by Rolls-Royce in 1933. The respective brands’ vehicles were exceedingly similar, particularly during the 1970s.
The companies separated in 1998 after a contentious legal negotiation. Rolls-Royce is now owned by BMW; Bentley is part of Volkswagen AG.
Bentley’s reliance on others for its continuing heritage doesn’t diminish its long tenure of individualism.
It’s all in the book and it’s all part of our interview with Noakes. Please join us.
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