• Short Summary

    BRITISH MOTORING ENTHUSIASTS ARE CURRENTLY CELEBRATING THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS CAR MANUFACTURING FIRMS EVER ESTABLISHED IN THIS COUNTRY -- THE FIRM THAT PRODUCED THE BENTLEY, WHICH DOMINATED THE LE MANS 24-HOUR RACE DURING THE 1920'S.

  • Description

    BRITISH MOTORING ENTHUSIASTS ARE CURRENTLY CELEBRATING THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS CAR MANUFACTURING FIRMS EVER ESTABLISHED IN THIS COUNTRY -- THE FIRM THAT PRODUCED THE BENTLEY, WHICH DOMINATED THE LE MANS 24-HOUR RACE DURING THE 1920'S. THE CARS WON THE RACE FIVE TIMES AND THE FIRM WAS PRESENTED WITH A GOLD MEDAL BY THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT.

    WALTER OWEN BENTLEY AND HIS SMALL TEAM FIRST DEVELOPED THE REMARKABLE CAR THAT BORE HIS NAME AT LONDON WORKSHOPS IN OCTOBER, 1919. ALTOGETHER, 3,040 CARS WERE PRODUCED, AND IT IS A TRIBUTE TO THE SKILL OF THE MAKERS THAT 1,000 VINTAGE MODELS ARE STILL RUNNING -- THE MOST RECENT OF THEM DATING BACK 40 YEARS.

    SEVENTY OF THESE VINTAGE BENTLEYS RECENTLY RETURNED TO THE SCENE OF FORMER TRIUMPHS AT LE MANS FOR A REUNION RALLY. THE MAJORITY OF THE CARS ARE NOW LOVINGLY CARED FOR BY MEMBERS OF THE BENTLEY DRIVERS CLUB, WHICH NUMBERS SOME 2,000 ENTHUSIASTS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.

    AT THE HEIGHT OF ITS FAME, THE BENTLEY WAS CAPABLE OF A PHENOMENAL PERFORMANCE. FORTY YEARS AGO, ON THE FAMOUS BRITISH RACING CIRCUIT OF BROOKLANDS, A BENTLEY MAINTAINED AN AVERAGE SPEED OF 118 MILES PER HOUR (ABOUT 180 KMS/H) FOR 500 MILES (806 KMS).

    THE COST OF THE ORIGINAL MODELS WAS EQUALLY PHENOMENAL. BACK IN 1919, THE BENTLEY FETCHED TWICE THE PRICE OF A MODEST FAMILY HOME.

    MAINTAINING THE VINTAGE CARS CAN ALSO BE AN EXPENSIVE BUSINESS. BUT BENTLEY DRIVERS CLUB MEMBERS CAN CLAIM THAT THEY ARE COMPENSATED BY OWNING ONE OF THE MOST RELIABLE MACHINES EVER BUILT. TWO MEMBERS RECENTLY STATED THAT AFTER A THOROUGH MECHANICAL OVERHAUL, THEIR BENTLEYS SUCCEEDED IN MOTORING 100,000 MILES (160,900 KMS) WITHOUT ANY TROUBLE.

    W.O. BENTLEY, WHO WAS TRAINED AS A RAILWAY ENGINEER, CONCEIVED THE CAR FOR ITS FORMIDABLE ENDURANCE CAPABILITY. FOR THIS VERY REASON, ANOTHER FAMOUS MOTOR-MANUFACTURER, BUGATTI, STIGMATISED THE BENTLEY AS THE FASTEST MOTOR-LORRY IN EUROPE.

    NEVERTHELESS, THE BENTLEY PROVED ITS WORTH ON THE EUROPEAN RACING CIRCUITS. AT LE MANS, FOR EXAMPLE, THE CARS HAD TO COPE WITH THE TRACK SURFACE BREAKING UP DURING THE COURSE OF RACING.

    NOW LIVING QUIETLY IN RETIREMENT AT SURREY, W.O. BENTLEY, WHO RECENTLY CELEBRATED HIS 81ST BIRTHDAY, SCOTCHED SUGGESTIONS THAT THE CAR'S RACING SUCCESSES UNDERMINED HIS FIRM'S FINANCIAL STABILITY, LEADING TO THE ABSORPTION OF THE FIRM BY ROLLS-ROYCE IN THE EARLY 1930'S.

    LOOKING BACK ON THE CAR'S FORMER RACING TRIUMPHS, MR. BENTLEY RECALLED THAT COSTS HAD BEEN KEPT RELATIVELY LOW BY THE FACT THAT THE DRIVERS HAD THEN BEEN AMATEURS AND THE FIRM BY SUBSIDISED BY COMPONENT MANUFACTURERS.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAARYDUNKCKU6UBAN0LS3L1ODQ1
    Media URN:
    VLVAARYDUNKCKU6UBAN0LS3L1ODQ1
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    31/10/1969
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:02:53:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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