Check out the first ever Bentley sold, a 100 years ago
Bentley Motors is celebrating 100 years of the sale of its first-ever customer car to racing enthusiast Noel van Raalte in 1921. The three-litre model registered as KS 1661 was purchased for £1,150, and featured lightweight aluminium coachwork and brass brightwork.
The three-litre model that was introduced by the company's founder WO Bentley, went on to become quite popular with Bentley selling over 200,000 units of the motor car in its 102-year history. Of these, 97 per cent units were built at the Crewe production line since the company moved in 1946.
While van Raalte was Bentley's first customer, he was somehow not the first one to take the delivery. Bentley delivered its first customer unit in August 1921 to Ivor Llewellyn, who had ordered three of the three-litre models. The unit delivered to him was Bentley's third production chassis, and it still exists today as the oldest surviving production Bentley in the world.
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After the three-litre established a goodwill for Bentley, the carmaker went on to develop the 6 ½, 4 ½, 8 and then the 4-litre units – some of the most iconic vintage cars by the company from the pre-war period.
Following the war period, Bentley went on to produce other popular models including R-Type Continental, which debuted in 1952. It became the fastest four-seater car in the world, with a capability to hit a top speed of just under 120 mph. This was followed by Bentley T-Series in the 1960s. Then came the Mulsanne and the Turbo R.
Thereafter, in 1998, Volkswagen Group acquired the company with a major investment plan. The new leadership gave models such as Continental GT, all-new Mulsanne and Bentayga. New Flying Spur was introduced in 2019, followed by the open-air Bacalar in 2020. Now, the company is looking at a green future with plans to have only battery-powered vehicles in its entire range by 2030.