With the approaching half-century of NORRAs first event, maybe they’ll head south of the border. Re-running the Mexican 1000 down to La Paz with Meyers in classic buggies now that would be a dream road trip. Sporting and reliable four-cylinder cars gave the marque a flying start, says entley’s Cricklewood era lasted | only 12 years, but that was long enough to establish a legend on which the modern company still | trades. Throughout the 1920s, a ' line of exclusive, sporting road cars and a string of high-profile competition garage door opener xc90 meant that the young firm soon earned its place alongside the likes of Vaux-hall, Sunbeam and Lagonda.
During that successful but occasionally turbulent period, the backbone of the Bentley range was the four-cylinder engine with which the firm launched its first model, the fabled 3 Litre. Take into account the later 4% variant, and this powerplant was fitted to 2342 out of the 3037 cars produced during the firm’s vintage years. Rugged enough to twice win at Le Mans, and characterised by the famous ‘bloody thump’ that you feel as well as hear, the big ‘four’ was the brainchild of company founder Walter garage door opener xc90 ‘WO’ was born in 1888 as the youngest of 10 children his father had already retired by the time he arrived. His family’s money came mostly from his mother’s side, and he was raised in the comfortable surroundings of St John’s Wood.
WO followed his brothers to Lambrook prep school in Ascot, then Clifton College in Bristol. A diligent but unremarkable student, he later abandoned a course in engineering theory at King’s College to take up an apprenticeship at the Great North Railway in Doncaster. In 1912, he and his brother Horace Milner or ‘HM’ bought into, and later took over, Lecoq and Fernie. The business imported Buchet, La Licorne and DFP cars, but concentrated on only the last of those when it was renamed Bentley and Bentley. WO adapted a 12/40hp for his own competition use, and hit upon the idea of using aluminium pistons in an engine that also gained twin plugs per cylinder operated by twin garage door opener xc90 ideas that he would revisit when he formed his own company.