By the 1930s, Bentley’s Derby-built ‘silent sports cars’ had become lower and sleeker. So in 1933, artist Charles Sykes, the designer of the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy, was commissioned to create a new mascot.
Sykes designed a single wing with a forward-leaning ‘B’ in the Art Deco style, with facets that allowed the ‘B’ to read correctly when viewed from either side. However, the single wing wasn’t popular, so the design was altered to feature a pair of wings.
An alternative rearward-leaning Flying B was also available for MR and MX series overdrive Bentleys, to signify their sporting character. Owners had to remember to twist these mascots sideways before opening the bonnet, or risk denting the bodywork.
The return of the Flying B
After the war, a smaller version of the dual-wing Flying B mascot appeared on Crewe-built Bentleys until the 1970s, when it was withdrawn due to pedestrian safety legislation that banned prominent solid ornaments.
In 2006, the Flying B made a triumphant return, thanks to a mechanism that made it fully retractable. It was offered on the Azure, Arnage and Brooklands, and is still available today on the Mulsanne.
Special editions of the Flying B mascot have been offered by Bentley's Mulliner division, for limited edition models, including a dark tint version and even including a gold Flying B.