When you picture your dream car, images of roaring engines and sleek designs come to mind. Chances are, you may be picturing a vehicle that came from British origins. Brands like Rolls-Royce and Bentley prove that car makers across the pond know a lot more than fish ‘n’ chips. Curious as to how these two supercar brands match up?
Here’s everything you need to know about these two luxury brands, whether you’re looking to purchase a Rolls-Royce or Bentley, or simply preparing to rent one for your next getaway.
Today, a certain refined image of excellence comes to mind at the mention of the name “Rolls-Royce,” but the luxury brand had to start from somewhere. It was 1904 in when Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce teamed up to create the iconic brand. Rolls was the owner of several successful car dealerships, and Royce was an established automobile designer and engineer.
The company made their official debut in 1906, with the release of the Silver Ghost. The car caught the attention of the masses by breaking a world record – traveling nearly 14,500 consecutive miles. The emergence of the Click Silver Ghost paved the way for one of the brand’s most popular models to this day – the Ghost series.
Rolls-Royce vehicles were originally purchased by the ultra-wealthy, but as WWI began to affect the European economy, fewer people were able to splurge on items like luxury cars. The brand’s founders shifted their attention to aviation efforts, which were used by the Allies during the war. Rolls-Royce continued creating luxury cars, and by the 1930s, the Phantom model had gained critical acclaim.
Eventually, Rolls-Royce vehicles became so popular that the royal family began using them. Princess Elizabeth drove the exclusive Phantom IV during the 1950s, of which there were just 18 produced. This spark of popularity exhibited by the royal family caused other notable figures and celebrities to purchase Rolls-Royces.
Nowadays, Rolls-Royce vehicles are still manufactured across the pond, in Goodwood, England. Rolls-Royce vehicles are still considered extremely exclusive, but the brand has expanded into making more models, and is currently working on an SUV. Models like the Rolls-Royce Dawn and the Rolls-Royce Wraith continue to captivate the masses.
Walter Bentley founded a luxury vehicle company that bore his name in 1919. Walter was the youngest of nine siblings, and like his company, he emerged from humble beginnings. He began investigating the mechanics of motion from an early age, riding and dismantling bicycles to better understand how they worked. Later on in his youth, he began working for a railway company, where he could watch trains in motion and glean information from these larger machines.
Walter then moved on to racing motorcycles, during which time his engineering skills were nurtured ever further. Having thoroughly immersed himself into studying movement and the engineering principles behind it, he transitioned into importing vehicles from out of the country with one of his brothers in 1912. Bentley was inspired to make cars out of a more lightweight material after working in the industry, and eventually created a new formula that was made mostly from aluminum.
Finally, in 1919, Bentley was born. Walter’s mission was to create reliable, fast cars that would stand above the vehicles currently in their class. One of the original Bentley models, with a 3-litre 85hp engine, won several racing awards, setting Bentley Motors apart from the pack.
Walter continued producing cars that wowed the masses up until his final creation, the 8-litre. The car was anticipated to break speeds up to 100mph, making it an anomaly for the time period. The engine was super powerful and was promoted as being completely silent. Sadly, only 100 models of the car were ever made, as the market crashed shortly before the vehicle’s launch, making it an unattainable purchase for many.
Today, Bentley is known for models like the Continental, Bentayga, and more. Although Walter’s company was eventually purchased by Rolls-Royce in 1931 and later Volkswagen in 1998, the brand remains a silent nod to Walter’s commitment to speed and elegance.
With so many luxury cars available, it can be difficult to choose which one’s right for you. Now, you can temporarily take a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley for a drive through the City of Angels whenever you please. Check out the extensive list of available British luxury cars available right here on Falcon Car Rental. We have a comprehensive inventory of vehicles to choose from, and even offer first-class concierge services to help with the booking process.