Bentley's centenary celebrations kicked into overdrive at this year's Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance, when 1 321 Bentleys of all eras came together for a new record.
Bentleys of all ages were on display, from the EXP2 - the oldest Bentley in the world and the second car built by W.O. Bentley - to the EXP 100 GT, the very latest Bentley concept car that looks forward to the future of luxury mobility in 2035.
Between these two extremes were hundreds of cars from all phases of the company’s history. The so-called Cricklewood era was well represented by a large number of original Grand Tourers from the '20s, joined by the Derby Bentleys of the '30s. The entire history of Bentley production in Crewe was also on display, from the Mark VI models of 1946 through to the full four-model range of Bentley today – Continental GT, Flying Spur, Bentayga and Mulsanne.
Bentley's from all eras gathered on the manicured lawns of Salon Privé.
“The sight of over a thousand Bentleys gathered in one place was truly extraordinary, and totally unparalleled in our history," said Adrian Hallmark, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley. "I’m grateful to the organisers of Salon Privé for making this year’s event such an outstanding celebration of Bentley, and this gathering to mark our centenary was the ultimate finale. My thanks go to the committee of the Bentley Drivers Club for their hard work and dedication in amassing these cars, and to their members and our customers for making the journey and sharing their cars with us.”
Ron Warmington, Director of the Bentley Drivers Club, added: “We were delighted to set a new record for a Bentley gathering with 1 321 examples of this iconic marque in the incomparable setting of Blenheim Palace. None of this would have been possible without the close teamwork of all at Salon Privé, Bentley Motors, our own BDC, and, of course, the support of His Grace, the Duke of Marlborough.”
The recently restored "missing link" 1939 Bentley Corniche was also in attendance.
Earlier in the day, Hallmark announced a new Continuation Series for Sir Tim Birkin’s iconic 1929 4½ litre Team Blower – with 12 new cars, matched to the original, to be created by Bentley’s coachbuilding division, Mulliner. Using a combination of traditional handcraftsmanship skills and the latest digital technology, the 12 Blowers will form the world’s first pre-war race car continuation series.
Those Mulliner craftsmanship skills were also on display through the recently restored 1939 Bentley Corniche. This one-of-one concept car, destroyed at the outbreak of the second world war while waiting to be shipped home, has been painstakingly rebuilt – initially by a team of dedicated enthusiasts, before being completed in-house by Mulliner. The finished car made its global debut at Salon Privé on Thursday morning, driven into the event by Robin Peel, the head of Bentleys heritage fleet – which the car now joins.
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