fbpx

‘The Impossible Collection Of Bentley’ Brings To Life A Century Of History

A new book by Assouline celebrates the hundred most significant cars of the storied British automaker.

A one-off special-bodied model intended to investigate the possibility of a "low-drag" Bentley, this car was built for Greek shipping magnate André Embiricos and clothed in a lightweight, aerodynamic, aluminum body designed by Paulin in France and constructed by the coachbuilding company Pourtout. (Bentley)
View Gallery
10 Photos
‘The Impossible Collection Of Bentley’ Brings To Life A Century Of History

A new book by Assouline celebrates the hundred most significant cars of the storied British automaker.

13 © Aline Coquelle

Gelasio Gaetani d'Aragona Lovatelli, author of 'Be Extraordinary, The Spirit of Bentley,' traveling the English countryside. (Aline Coquelle)

‘The Impossible Collection Of Bentley’ Brings To Life A Century Of History

A new book by Assouline celebrates the hundred most significant cars of the storied British automaker.

12 © Bentley Motors

Eyebrows headed north when Bentley announced it was to make its first SUV, but really there was no reason to doubt the concept, let alone the car it led to. For in its speed, the luxury it provides and its enormous versatility lie the very hallmarks of W.O.'s vision for the cars that bore his name. Would he have approved of the Bentayga? More than that, he would have loved it. (Bentley Motors)

‘The Impossible Collection Of Bentley’ Brings To Life A Century Of History

A new book by Assouline celebrates the hundred most significant cars of the storied British automaker.

11 © Aline Coquelle

Before World War II, all luxury cars had bespoke, coach-built bodies; today, almost none do. The Mulsanne Grand Limousine is an exception to that rule, featuring a one thousand-millimeter wheelbase extension and four seats in the passenger compartment facing each other in pairs, in the style of a private jet. (Aline Coquelle)

‘The Impossible Collection Of Bentley’ Brings To Life A Century Of History

A new book by Assouline celebrates the hundred most significant cars of the storied British automaker.

9 © Bentley

The Speed 8 earned Bentley its sixth victory at Le Mans, seventy-three years after the fifth. (Bentley)

‘The Impossible Collection Of Bentley’ Brings To Life A Century Of History

A new book by Assouline celebrates the hundred most significant cars of the storied British automaker.

8 © Bentley Motors

The Bentley State Limousine (two were built so one could be used while the other was being serviced) had two roles: the first was to act as the official State Limousine for Queen Elizabeth II, and the second was to show the world that Bentley had such breadth, it could design one car that could win Le Mans, and another that was fit for a queen; the fact that Bentley supplanted Rolls-Royce in the important, stately role was just a happy side effect. (Bentley Motors)

‘The Impossible Collection Of Bentley’ Brings To Life A Century Of History

A new book by Assouline celebrates the hundred most significant cars of the storied British automaker.

7 © Bentley

The only true sports car made by Bentley at Crewe until the 1980s, just 208 of the famed R-Type Continentals were ever produced; and complete with landmark lightweight aluminum bodywork, all but 15 of them were built by H.J. Mulliner. (Bentley)

‘The Impossible Collection Of Bentley’ Brings To Life A Century Of History

A new book by Assouline celebrates the hundred most significant cars of the storied British automaker.

5 © Bentley

The 8-Litre was the last Bentley designed by W.O. Bentley in its entirety, and the one most would regard as his masterpiece. (Bentley)

‘The Impossible Collection Of Bentley’ Brings To Life A Century Of History

A new book by Assouline celebrates the hundred most significant cars of the storied British automaker.

4 © Alan_Alamy Stock Photo

The 3-Litre, the first production car, and the car that turned Bentley from a start-up company with some promising engineering prototypes into a fully-fledged car manufacturer. (Alan/Alamy Stock Photo)

‘The Impossible Collection Of Bentley’ Brings To Life A Century Of History

A new book by Assouline celebrates the hundred most significant cars of the storied British automaker.

2 © W.O. Bentley Memorial Foundation

Frank Clement's Tourist Trophy car, fitted with a streamlined body, was Bentley's first single-seater automobile, late 1922. (W.O. Bentley Memorial Foundation)

‘The Impossible Collection Of Bentley’ Brings To Life A Century Of History

A new book by Assouline celebrates the hundred most significant cars of the storied British automaker.

1 © Bentley

The Bentley Boys at the 1927 Le Mans 24 Hours. (Bentley)

In October 1919, in a small workshop on a London side street, an EXP 1 engine roared to life for the first time. This was the beginning, though no one present at the time could know it—not Walter Owen Bentley, not his small team of engineers and not even the nurse who stormed over from the neighboring care home to scold the men for causing such a racket—of what would go on to become the definitive British luxury car brand known the world over as Bentley.

The hand-stitched, leather-bound, limited-edition version of ‘The Impossible Collection of Bentley.’

From 1919’s EXP 1 and the Le Mans 3-Litre, the first Bentley to win the famed Le Mans race, to 2003’s Continental GT and the EXP 100 GT, a concept car celebrating the brand’s 100th anniversary, Bentley’s storied and sometimes troublesome century-long history is chronicled in The Impossible Collection Of Bentley: The 100 At 100 (Assouline). One hundred of the brand’s most significant cars are rediscovered within the coffee table book’s pages, and the story that accompanies them is one of resilience, one that proves W.O. Bentley’s singular vision—“to build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class”—is one that transcends individual people, company ownership and, in fact, time itself.

Back in that legendary London workshop, when the nurse came over to complain about the noise, her reason for concern was that she had a man dying in her care. The response given by the group of men, the forefathers of the Bentley brand, certainly still rings true for anyone proud to get behind the wheel of a car with wings on its nose: “As sounds to die to go, few could be sweeter than this.”  

***

This story originally appeared in the Spring 2020 edition of Horsepower magazine, a publication produced by Saratoga Living Arts in partnership with the Saratoga Automobile Museum.

Natalie Moore
Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is the managing editor at saratoga living.

No Comments Yet

Comments are closed

ABOUT US

Welcome to saratoga living, the premier lifestyle media company in Saratoga Springs and the heart of New York’s Capital Region.

saratoga living magazine publishes six times a year. saratogaliving.com relaunched on February 8, 2018. Like our page on Facebook, and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. The magazine is printed in Burlington, VT, USA.

The Voux magazine theme

THE CITY. THE CULTURE. THE LIFE.

FOLLOW US ON

 

For saratoga living‘s Submission Guidelines,
click here.

CONTACT US

All editorial queries should be directed to:
editorial@saratogaliving.com; or sent to 422 Broadway, Suite 203, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.

saratoga living assumes no responsibility for unsolicited submissions.

For advertising inquiries, contact: advertising@saratogaliving.com.

For magazine subscriptions and to purchase back issues, contact:
subscribe@saratogaliving.com.

For all other inquiries, call us at 518-584-7500.