The story of Bentley begins with an engine. But not a car engine. The Sopwith Camel’s BR1 rotary-radial engine, considered the finest fighter aircraft engine of World War I, was designed by a young engineer called W.O. Bentley. Its success provided W.O. with the funds to found a car company in 1919. Within the decade, Bentley had become the dominant force in endurance racing, with five Le Mans victories and countless other victories to its name.
W.O. did not live to see the 12-cylinder 6-litre Continental engine, with its compact ‘W’ cylinder formation and twin-turbochargers, but he would certainly have been fascinated by it. With its maximum power of 575PS it is capable of astonishing performance, yet it is also impeccably refined.