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Icon Born in a London Stable

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Thursday, 31 March 2011

Icon Born in a London Stable

This plaque commemorates the fact that the first  Bentley car was built  here in a garage converted from a mews stable at Number 48 Chagford Street, Marylebone, London. 

It is a private plaque, businesses are not generally recognised under the "official" English Heritage scheme .

Bentley has become a byword for luxury, “extraordinary speed, exquisitely handcrafted and beautifully engineered” cars, but these are unlikely surroundings.

Before World War I W.O. Bentley was a successful competitive motorcyclist. During the war he made aircraft engines for the newly formed RAF. In 1919, with the war over ”W.O.” turned his attention to the dream of building a car that would satisfy his own “extraordinarily high expectations as a driver, as an engineer, as a competitor and as a gentleman”. He wanted  “A fast car, a good car, the best in its class.”

In October 1919 at his service shop in Chagford Street, he fired up the very first Bentley engine, the enormous, by the standards of the day, Bentley  3-litre.

He now just needed to build a car around it. In those days car makers just produced the chassis and engine, it was up to the customer to employ a coach maker to finish the vehicle. Rich purchasers also bought the very best coachwork.

A reviewer wrote “For the man who wants a true sporting type of light-bodied car for use on a Continental tour, the three-litre Bentley is undoubtedly the car par excellence.”.

After five Le Mans victories, the car became an icon of the motor industry and it all started here in Chagford Street.

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2 Comments:

At 19 April 2011 at 12:19 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice plaque. I've added it to our database at http://openplaques.org/plaques/6766

- http://twitter.com/#/openplaques

 
At 19 April 2011 at 12:26 , Blogger Peter Berthoud said...

That's great thanks. You have a phenomenal collection!

 

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