Bentley delivered the customer’s first car 100 years ago


Bentley might have celebrated its centenary in 2019, but this week marks the 100th anniversary of the purchase of the Bentley customer’s first car.

That car was a 3-liter Bentley, purchased by wealthy British racing enthusiast Noel van Raalte in 1921, according to a Bentley press release. Produced at Bentley’s original plant in Cricklewood, North London, the car received UK license plate KS 1661.

However, while von Raalte was the first customer to order a Bentley, he wasn’t the first to receive delivery, the automaker noted. Another customer, Ivor Llewellyn, received the first of three 3-liter Bentleys he had ordered before von Raalte, in August 1921. However, as the first production chassis, the KS 1661 is considered to be Bentley’s first customer car.

The first car delivered to Llewellyn was the third production Bentley chassis and it survives today as the oldest remaining Bentley production car. The fate of KS 1661 is unknown; racing in France was last heard of in 1931, according to Bentley.

Bentley 3-liter (from period review in The Autocar)

In addition to being Bentley’s first production model, the 3-liter also established the automaker’s motorsport legend. He won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1924 and 1927, ushering in the era of the “Bentley Boys” which included five Le Mans victories in eight years and remains central to the automaker’s identity.

Under founder WO Bentley, the automaker launched additional models with ever larger engines, culminating in 8 liters of 1930. WO eventually lost control of the company, which was bought by Rolls-Royce. Bentley remained under Rolls control for most of the 20th century, before being bought by Volkswagen in 1998.

Bentley claims to have built over 200,000 cars in its 102-year history, most of them at the Crewe plant the brand relocated to in 1946. This included everything from WO-designed pre-war cars to Continental R-Type aerodynamics. from 1952 and modern. Continental GT.

The next stage in Bentley’s evolution is electrification. The automaker plans to introduce its first electric vehicle in 2025 on the way to making his formation completely electric by 2030. That first electric vehicle is related to the Audi Artemis projectSo what will it be? generates a similar model for Porsche.


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