January 18, 1919 – Bentley is founded

Walter Owens Bentley and his brother Horace made a decent living selling French DFP cars in the North London community of Cricklewood prior to World War I, but W.O., as Walter was known, had bigger ideas. While touring the DFP factory he noticed an aluminum paperweight and had the idea of using aluminum to produce lighter cylinders. W.O. took the idea home and and began producing aluminum cylinders for aero engines during the Great War for Sopwith Camel. He would go on to found Bentley Motors Limited on this day in 1919, the first of the vehicles would be delivered in September of 1921 and featured an innovative 4-valve per cylinder engine designed by Clive Gallop. Bentley achieved initial success during hill climbs and races at Brooklands. During its first major competition a Bentley placed 13th in the 1922 Indianapolis 500 and took the first at the 1924 24 Hours of Le Mans, helping to achieve business saving financial backing from Captain Woolf Barnato by 1926.  1924 Bentley 3 liter – public domainRed label Speed 4-seater tourer, 1927 – By Tim Green – Flickr: Bentley at Gunwalloe, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20674501W.O Bentley with his former company car, a 1930 8-Litre.