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Car of the Month - September 2018
Bentley 3 Litre Prototype, 1919, #EXP2
Bentley Motors – 100th
1919 Bentley 3-Litre Prototype, chassis and drivetrain were completed to
Prototype #EXP2. Exhibited on Bentley’s stand (No. 126 in Main Hall) at
the November 1919 Olympia Show was a “rolling chassis”, i.e. chassis cum
engine – although a mocked-up prototype because certain components had
not been delivered in time.
In 2019 Bentley Motors will celebrate their 100th
Anniversary. There can’t be any doubt such a significant event should be
based on a correct date resulting from in-depth-research by the motor
car manufacturer? Perhaps that is not the case as regards Bentley
TOn the company’s website the link
shows a date that ignites to set a question mark.
would need very substantial arguments to oppose the the statement that
company’s formation was at an considerably earlier date. Bentley Motors
inform they’ll reach their Centenary on 10th July 2019 – and such info
is neither congruent with what is to be found in the literature nor with
what is listed in official documents!
As per common sense the foundation of a company is the date when
business efforts started or the date of registration, e.g. certification
of incorporation. Hence for Bentley Motors a date in January 1919 does
apply. Because from 20th January 1919 onward designers Walter Owen
Bentley, Frederick Tasker Burgess and Harold Frederick Varley at their
construction-bureau Conduit Street 16, London, did work on development
of that model, which became launched at Olympia Show in November 1919 –
the Bentley 3 Litre.
It is true though that 18th January 1919 might be entirely acceptable
either as Bentley Motors Limited "Date of Birth" as "...Bentley Motors
in its first creation was registered 18th January 1919, the day the
Certification of Incorporation was signed by the Registrar of Joint
Stock Companies... ... The company was registered by William Robert
Caesar, a solicitor working for Druces & Attlee of 10, Billeter Square,
EC3. ..." Listed as directors of Bentley Motors beside W.O. Bentley were
his brother H.M. Bentley and their brother-in-law A.H.M.J. Ward (who was
married to Edith, a sister of the Bentley brethren). In a prospectus
issued by the company on 10th December 1920 was stated: “BENTLEY MOTORS
LIMITED was registered on the 10th January 1919…” Except for what
perhaps has been a typo, i.e. 10th instead of 18th stated, Bentley
Motors themselves have given January 1919 as their Date of Birth.
chassis from the 1919 Olympia became completed to Protoype, #EXP2 and
was tested rigorously from 1920 onward. Initially clad with a rather
ugly 2-seater body by Ewart, an interim followed with the coachwork from
#EXP1 fitted before in March 1921 an open 2-Seater body (retaining the
Ewart-made wings) by J.H. Easter & Son was mounted.
These facts demand an investigation why Bentley Motors nowadays state
10th July 1919 as their Date of Birth? Do they doubt the validity of
official documents? Don’t they accept Bentley as a new motor car
manufacturer had been "in the public domain" from considerably earlier
dates onwards with illustrated reports in 'The Autocar' from 8th March
1919 and again with a more detailed one from 17th May 1919? One
KO-criteria against 10th July 1919 as Date of Birth e.g. is Patent No.
148,656 granted to Bentley Motors, Limited, on 13th May 1919; hence
Bentley Motors must have been in existence by then. Not even an argument
of "Production Start" from July 1919 onward would be acceptable because
orders had already been issued to outside contractors and thus
production of certain components had begun.
1919 Bentley 3-Litre Prototype, Chassis-No. #EXP2.
Why is a car dating from 1919 (as per its ‚identity-relevant’ 1919
chassis-frame) listed by Bentley Motors as one from 1921?