Bentley Motors Limited, more famously known as Bentley, has a history in car making that spans nearly 100 years. The company was launched in London by Walter Owen "W.O." Bentley in 1919. W.O. had a desire to design and build his own distinctive cars, and in the course of doing so Bentley made a huge mark on the auto world. After many prestigious racing wins and the debut of innovative models, Bentley cemented its place as a fine luxury automaker and an iconic car brand.
Bentley cars have made appearances in media, film, and television -- most notably in the original James Bond novels and films and the 1960s show The Avengers -- which significantly increased the brand's popularity with the public. The Bentley company has changed hands several times throughout its history, and through everything its name has remained synonymous with sophistication, unmatched performance, and impeccable style. Here are the top 10 Bentley models of all time.
1. Bentley Speed Six
Bentley's Speed Six was an innovative sports car for its time and was introduced in 1928. In 1929 and 1930, the Speed Six won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, thanks to its high performance engine. The car began as the Bentley 6 1/2 Litre, and introducing a single port block, better camshaft, and two SU carburetors resulted in the creation of the Speed Six. It's not often that you can get your hands on a Bentley Speed Six, and its value can top $550,000 at auction.
2. Bentley T-Series
The Bentley T-Series debuted on October 5, 1965 at the Paris Motor Show and it was a stunner. This car is essentially the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow sans the chassis and with a tweaked design. However, because the T-Series had a grille that was lighter and more understated, it became the preferred car for those who didn't want to be too flashy. Most models were four door saloons, and a limited number of two door versions were released during the years the T-Series was being manufactured. In 1977, upgrades were made to the T-Series and this version of the car was known as the T2. The Bentley T-Series was produced from 1965 to 1980, and you can typically find one at auction for between $13,000 and $35,000.
3. Bentley 8 Litre
At the time that it debuted in 1930, the 8 Litre's design was based on Bentley's largest rolling chassis. It also stands out as being the last model designed by W.O. Bentley before his company was sold to Rolls-Royce. The Bentley 8 Litre was supposed to be the ultimate luxury vehicle for people who were flush with cash, but there was a big problem: the car went onto the market one year into the infamous Great Depression. Few were able to buy one, no matter how many great features the 8 Litre had or how advanced its construction was. It was the best grand tourer that Bentley had made up until that point, but it was also much too expensive for the times. Bentley Motors changed hands to Rolls-Royce due to financially collapsing less than nine months after the car was made available for sale. Today, a Bentley 8 Litre can sell for over $2 million at auction.
4. Bentley Mark VI
After recouping from the effects of World War II, Bentley introduced its first post-war luxury car, the Mark VI. Fans of the original James Bond novels will remember the Mark VI as being the car that Bond buys near the end of Moonraker. The full sized luxury car was produced from 1946 to 1952 and it had an all-steel body, a great look, and suicide doors. 5,208 of the Mark VI were produced, and buying one today will cost you at least $37,000.
5. The Bentley Mulsanne
Some have called this car ostentatious, and perhaps it is. However, the Bentley Mulsanne is also what luxury cars are all about. It was first produced from 1980 until 1992, and it was designed to be the ultimate combination of style, performance, and comfort. The Mulsanne became the base for most of its predecessors until 1998. In 2010, Bentley revamped the Mulsanne and it's still in production today.
The modern era Mulsanne was the first model that was designed independently by Bentley Motors since the 8 Litre nearly 80 years before it. Those who are able to splurge and buy one can choose from 114 exterior paint colors, 24 interior leathers, 21 carpet colors, 9 wood veneers, and the rear can be arranged for 2 or 3 passenger seating. The price for the most current Mulsanne starts at $303,700.
6. Bentley Brooklands
When Bentley went to replace the Mulsanne's first run in 1992, they introduced the Brooklands. The car gets its name from Surrey's Brooklands race track, which is where Bentley Motors won several significant races in the early 1900s. The first inception of the Brooklands had an angular profile, waterfall grille, wraparound parking lights, and a descending bootlid. The Brooklands was replaced by the Azure, and its first production ceased in 1998.
From 2008 to 2011, an updated version of the Brooklands was released and it was essentially a Bentley Azure with a fixed head design. Still, it was a gorgeous car and just 550 were produced. The second generation Brooklands can reach 0 to 100 mph in just 11.7 seconds. The price to buy one starts at $90,000.
7. Bentley Arnage
The Bentley Arnage was produced from 1998 to 2009, and there were Red Label and Green Label versions. Each had minor changes, but what stayed consistent was its classy look and all around luxury. 153 special edition Le Mans Arnages were produced that featured quad exhaust pipes, red brake calipers, sports bumpers, and 5 spoke sport wheels. The Final Series of the Arnage has a 6.75 liter V8 engine that produces 500 hp. Buying a used Bentley Arnage will cost you at least $80,000.
8. Bentley Azure
The first generation of the spacious Bentley Azure launched in 1995, followed by the second in 2006. The first Azure was built on the Bentley Continental platform, while the last has the Arnage platform and a 6.8 liter V8 engine that produces 500 hp. The Azure T, which was produced from 2009 to 2010, featured improved performance, changes to the car's styling, and an exterior inspired by the Bentley Mark VI. The cost for it tops $350,000.
9. Bentley Continental GT
Bentley's Continental GT is a luxury coupe with sleek styling that literally transformed the Bentley brand. It was the first model that Bentley released under management by Volkswagen, and the Continental GT's widespread popularity elevated Bentley into a major international player in the car industry. This 2 door car is beautiful inside and out, and it features a 6.0 liter W12 twin turbo engine. The price for the latest Continental GT starts at $198,500.
10. Bentley Continental Flying Spur
The Continental Flying Spur is a variant of the Continental GT that looks so different it deserves its own spot. It features four door styling and is a full size luxury car. Bentley started producing the Continental Flying Spur in 2005, and several versions of the car have been created including the Continental Flying Spur Speed, Linley limited edition, Qatar edition, and Series 51. All Bentley models embody luxury, but some of the options for the Continental Flying Spur are downright decadent, which is exactly what makes the car so drool-worthy. The cost to own a Continental Flying Spur starts at $201,000.
Written by Garrett Parker
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