The four-tonne armored vehicles, continuously maintained by Bentley, are powered by the company’s perennial 6.75-liter V8 producing 400 horsepower. The cars bear no relation in either appearance or physical proportion to any other Bentley product, and has been designed with continual reference to and input from both The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh and of course, the Head Chauffeur.
Bentley Mulliner Coachbuilding division provides a wide variety of bespoke services ranging from exotic veneers inlaid with personalised marquetry to the latest digital entertainment and electronic business office facilities.
Although the Bentley State Limousine is derived from the latest Series II Bentley Arnage. This model is designed for a minimum lifespan of 25 years and 125,000 miles and is The Queen’s principal transport at state and ceremonial occasions.
The Bentley ‘flyingB’ mascot is exhanged for a St. George and Dragon mascot when the Queen is being driven in the car.
Walter Owen Bentley was born the youngest of nine children in September 1888, and into a comfortably-off late Victorian family. With almost as many servants as family, the Bentley’s lived in a rambling Villa in Avenue Road, St John’s Wood, North London.
The ‘Bun’, as he was nick-named, was interested in cricket and passionate about railways.
As a boy, he had no doubt what he intended to do with his life and in 1905 at the age of 16 left school to pursue a premium apprenticeship in Doncaster at the locomotive works of the Great Northern Railway.
For the next three and a half years of ‘sweat and dirt’ (as he described them), WO as he became universally known, learnt his engineering skills.
By 1909 he was ready to experience his burning childhood ambition to get onto the footplate of a steam locomotive. Eventually he was firing express locomotives out of Kings Cross station, London.
In 1906, WO acquired his first motor-cycle, a 3hp Quadrant. By 1907 the ‘lure of speed’ as he later described it, expressed itself when he entered the 400-mile London to Edinburgh Trial, staged by the Motor Cycling Club. After dealing en route with various problems endemic to early motor cycles, he reached Edinburgh just before his scheduled deadline, and so qualified for a Gold Medal in his first sporting trial.
WO became proficient at both trials, road and track racing. He could be found practising on the empty roads in the early hours of the morning, before police speed traps were operating. He later acquired a Rex motorcycle and subsequently an Indian, both of which he entered in the motorcycle T.T. races. The Indian was also raced at Brooklands before he acquired his first car.
During WWI, Lieutenant WO Bentley RNVR served his country through an introduction to Commander Wilfred Briggs, WO was given a commission in the Royal Navy. Appreciating Bentley’s considerable engineering skills, he was sent to both Rolls-Royce at Derby and later to the Sunbeam works, where he demonstrated the aluminium alloy piston and recommended its adoption for aero engines. The ‘new’ engines were a great success.
In 1919, WO Bentley together with a group including Frank Burgess (formerly of Humber) and Harry Varley (formerly of Vauxhall), set about designing a high quality sporting tourer, for production under the name Bentley. Colonel Clive Gallop, who had been flying planes on the Western Front, which had been powered by WO’s aero engines, joined the team, specifically designing the four valve-per-cylinder camshaft arrangement for the first engine. With his brother, Horace Bentley, WO established the first ‘Bentley Motors’, that same year.
On 21 September 1922, the first production Bentley left the factory . The 3 litre in its short chassis guise, was capable of 90mph – a remarkable achievement for a standard production car at that time, especially as this performance was combined with unusually high reliability. The team racing versions would reach top speeds in excess of 100mph.
During the 1920’s Bentley went from strength to strength. Racing triumphs proved reliability, speed and incredible performance. These were the years of the Bentley Boys. Extraordinary adventures followed by extravagant victorious celebrations.
1929 saw the Bentley team’s best ever result at Le Mans, with Bentleys placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th. The three consecutive wins by the Bentley Motors manager Bernato, are a record which stands to this day. In total Five Le Mans victories were achieved in the 1920’s (and a successful return in 2003 secured the sixth historical win).
Bentley have produced many beautiful cars. The 1950 Continental, in our view, is one of the best.
Bentley continues to go from strength to strength and produces beautiful, powerful grand tourers today.
Below is an interesting video produced by Bentley-Mulliner featuring the Arnage limousine and detailing the company’s bespoke services.
All the latest Bentley’s can be seen here
Aston Martin Lagonda Limited is a British manufacturer of luxury sports cars, based in Gaydon, Warwickshire. The company name is derived from the name of one of the company’s founders, Lionel Martin, and from the Aston Hill speed hillclimb near Aston Clinton in Buckinghamshire, southern England. From its inception the company has survived through frequent turbulent times, managing to continue making iconic cars of great beauty and enduring desireability.
In August 1985 the company is granted the Royal Warrant of Appointment to His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, for motor manufacture and repair. The Prince owns at least two Aston Martin cars, one DB5 and V8 Vantage.
As a young boy he also drove a DB5 scaled model Aston Martin specially made at the factory with JB007 number plates (which is kept at Sandringham). Incidentally, all of the Princes cars have been converted to run on bio fuel (reportedly produced from waste from wine production).
Aston Martin was founded in 1913 by Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford. They had allready joined forces founding a business in Callow street London called Bamford & Martin in 1912 to sell cars manufactured by Singer.
Lionel Martin raced specials at Aston Hill and they both thought they could make better so they decided to make their own. The first car to carry the legendary Aston Martin name was created by fitting a four-cylinder Coventry-Simplex engine to the chassis of a 1908 Isotta-Fraschini.
Due to the outbreak of WWI everything was halted. Lionel Martin joined the Admiralty and Bamford the Royal Army Service Corps. All of their machinery at that time was sold to the Sopwith Aviation Company and the factory vacated.
After the war the company was refounded at Abingdon Road, Kensington London and a new car was designed to carry the Aston-Martin name. Production began in earnest and by 1922, the Bamford & Martin company had produced cars to compete in the French Grand Prix. Their cars set world speed and endurance records at Brooklands in England – Aston Martin was making a name for itself.
Over 50 cars were subsequently built for sale to racing enthusiasts. Unfortunately, despite successes on the track and the setting of world speed records, the company went bankrupt in 1924. The company was bought by Lady Charnwood, who put her son John Benson on the board. The company failed again in 1925 and the factory closed in 1926, with Lionel Martin leaving.
Later that year, Bill Renwick, Augustus (Bert) Bertelli and a number of rich investors, again including Lady Charnwood, took control of the company and renamed it Aston Martin Motors, which became successful in national and international motor racing including at Le Mans and the Mille Miglia.
At the outbreak of World War II all production again was halted and during the war years only aircraft components were made to support the war effort.
The making of the brand
In 1947, David Brown Limited bought the company under the leadership of managing director Sir David Brown—its “post-war saviour”. David Brown also acquired Lagonda that year, and both companies shared resources and workshops.The company remains named today as ’Aston Martin Lagonda’. In 1955, David Brown bought the Tickford coachbuilding company and its site at Tickford Street in Newport Pagnell, and that was the beginning of the legendary series of cars bearing the initials “DB”- right up to today.
Agent 007 – James bond
Author Ian Fleming gave James Bond a DB III in his seventh novel, Goldfinger.
A long association between 007 and the marque began on screen with the silver DB5 that appears in Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965). This was James Bond’s ‘company car’ and in GoldenEye (1995) and Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) appeared to have become his own private car.
In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) a metallic-green DBS appears at the beginning and end of the movie. After an interlude with Lotus, Aston Martins were again used: a charcoal-grey V8 Volante and Vantage in The Living Daylights (1987). After switching to BMW for several films, the Vanquish appeared in Die Another Day (2002). In Casino Royale (2006), James Bond drives both the classic DB5 which becomes his personal vehicle after winning a poker game, and the new DBS which is revealed to be his new company car in Quantum of Solace (2008).
In December 2009 Aston Martin released the first official images of the ‘Cygnet’ – a new luxury commuter concept car , a radical depature from the powerful and sleek sports cars for which it is known.
AML says the the Cygnet concept “represents a creative, environmentally conscious solution, being small, yet with presence – and highly fuel efficient, now combined with the prestige of Aston Martin’s luxury brand ownership“.
This of course is a logical progression in todays challenging times. AML says work on the concept is ongoing and will continue into 2010 when it is hoped that it will become a production reality.
Aston Martin Lagonda will no doubt continue to produce alongside its sleek and beautiful sports cars all of which can be seen here