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Car of the Month

More on Bentley in these books:

Bentley - On the road 

Bentley - 50 Years of the Marque


Car of the Month - September 2018
Bentley 3 Litre Prototype, 1919, #EXP2
Bentley Motors – 100th Anniversary

Bentley 3 Liter Prototyp
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 Motors?

TOn the company’s website the link shows a date that ignites to set a question mark. Bentley WebsiteIt 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.  

Bentley 3 Liter Prototyp
The 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.

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Bentley 3 Liter

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. 

Bentley Patent

Bentley 3 Liter
1919 Bentley 3-Litre Prototype, Chassis-No. #EXP2.
Another enigma: Why is a car dating from 1919 (as per its ‚identity-relevant’ 1919 chassis-frame) listed by Bentley Motors as one from 1921?

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