Known affectionately as W O the company was started by a man named Walter Owen Bentley, some say he was a naturally born engineer. He originally devoted his time to working with trains, in fact, it was at the young age of 16 years that he first found himself working in Doncaster at the Railworks, this was in 1905.
For those of you unaware of the geography, Doncaster is situated in the north of England. At this time he made his way to work each day by means of a push bike, having found this rather slow and laborious he soon upgraded to a motorcycle and within a short time frame had begun racing this vehicle along with his brother.
Having a natural aptitude for such things the pair were rather successful as they won the very first event in which they took part. This was called the London to Edinburgh Trial. Walter (W O) also raced at other venues around the United Kingdom including such events as the Isle of Man TT and at a race track called Brooklands, which was situated near London.
Having developed a passion for the combustion engine used on his motorbike as opposed to the steam engine of the trains WO decided to start a car company, his original business idea (supported and financed by his family) involved importing a number of sports cars from France, these were known as DFP's.
After the first world war W O decided to build a high quality car himself and by the mid 1920's he had produced an 85 break horse power, 3 litre engine. This was capable of pushing his cars to speeds up to 80 miles per hour, with such engineering expertise, the boys from Bentley won races in Le Mans in '24, '27, '28, '29, and '30. Sadly, in '31 the company ran into money problems and the Golden Age of Bentley Motors was at an end. Rolls-Royce then took over Bentley in order to preserve the name and high quality reputation associated with it - so here is where the modern era of Bentley Motors began. Walter Owen (W O) passed away in 1971 but had spent many years as Patron of the Bentley Motors Drivers Club.