1940 - 1949
For Bentley purists, these were the dark years. War brought an abrupt end to the Continental project. Innovation gave way to rationalisation.
And the new Bentleys were obliged to share an ever-increasing number of production and design attributes with their blue-blooded brothers at Rolls-Royce.
Objectively, of course, most of these were exceptional in their own right. But Bentley lovers have never been renowned for objectivity, and to their eyes it appeared as if the unique qualities of the Bentley brand were being diluted with each succeeding model.
But all was by no means lost. The move to Crewe in 1946 meant access to the community of highly skilled engineers and mechanics who had migrated to this busy industrial hub during the war. New ideas and new technologies found their way into the post-war Bentleys, albeit under the fine scrutiny of Rolls-Royce management.
The Bentley Mark VI, with a modified 4 1/4 litre engine and a shortened version of the Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith chassis, became the first motor car to be built entirely at Bentley’s Crewe works – and the first to be offered with a pressed steel body-shell as standard. Coach-built cars were still available, but the stately Mark VI – one of the best sellers in Bentley history - signalled a sea-change in vehicle production.