If you really want to impress and make the heads turn then you better get a quality built car with class, style and comfort. Everyone knows that the ultimate luxury cars in that category are Rolls-Royce and Bentley but if you really had to choose one over the other, which would you choose? It’s a pretty tough decision and in the end it will probably come down to your own personal preference. You really need to sit down in one to make the decision because after all the only person you really need to impress is yourself, whether you want the optimum chauffeur’s car or will it be your everyday ride. We thought you might like to know a little more about the history and some facts about these two beauties to help you make the tough decision. Interestingly, these two brands have more in common than you might think.
“Since 1904 Rolls-Royce has created instantly recognisable motor cars that have made the marque an enduring icon all over the world” Founded by Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce. The company was manufacturing airplane motors and automobiles in the beginning. Their first car was the Silver Ghost and it broke world records when the car ran for 24,000 Km nonstop. These original cars ran as rally racers on dirt Alpine passes.
The famous hood ornament is named The Spirit of Ecstasy and was first used in 1911 becoming an iconic symbol for the luxury vehicle. The modern day Rolls Royce’s have the ornament retract into the grill automatically in the case of a crash or by a remote control which might come in handy if you opt to get it in illuminated crystal or 24 karat gold.
Some of the fancier options are crystal champagne flutes and every new phantom is equipped with Teflon coated umbrellas which are made available with the push of a button. The interior to this day is still hand stitched to perfection.
The Phantom has a 6.75 litre V12 engine that will amaze you, built for speed and comfort!
The original Rolls Royce Limited company was nationalised by the British government in 1971 when the company went bankrupt partially because they went out on a limb producing the RB211 Jet Engine which was mismanaged. As a result Rolls-Royce Limited was renamed Rolls-Royce Plc. The company incorporated Rolls Royce Motors in 1973 which is the division that focuses on cars. Rolls-Royce Plc is an aerospace/marine, power systems and defence company. They make some of the world’s best jet engines that are put in Gulfstreams, British Harriers and 777s to name a few. They also dabble in nuclear projects.
Rolls-Royce Motors was acquired by the British conglomerate Vickers Plc in 1980 but in 1998 Vickers sold Rolls-Royce Motors to Volkswagen Group for £430m who outbid BMW. Rolls-Royce Plc still had control over the logo and brand name. Volkswagen acquired the Crew Factory plus had the rights to use the Spirit of Ecstasy mascot and the shape of the famous sexy grill but still didn’t have the rights to use the Rolls Royce name. BMW which already supplied internal combustion engines and other components to Rolls-Royce and Bentley got the last laugh when they bought the rights to licence the Rolls-Royce name and use the logo from Rolls-Royce Plc for a measly £40m. However they couldn’t use the mascot or the grille design which was owned by Volkswagen.
After negotiations, BMW and Volkswagen Group arrived at a solution. From 1998 to 2002, BMW would continue to supply engines for the cars and would allow Volkswagen use of the Rolls-Royce name and logo. On 1 January 2003, only BMW would be able to name cars “Rolls-Royce”, and Volkswagen Group’s former Rolls-Royce/Bentley division would build only cars named “Bentley”. The last Rolls-Royce from the Crewe factory, the Corniche, ceased production in 2002, at which time the Crewe factory became Bentley Motors Limited, and Rolls-Royce production was relocated to a new entity in Goodwood, England known as Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
You see, Bentley and Rolls Royce have quite the history, but that’s not all….
Defining luxury since 1919 when the company was founded in Cricklewood, North London by Walter Owen Bentley or “W.O” as he was better known as. W.O. Bentley’s Mission statement is as true today as it was then “To build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class”
Walter Owen Bentley and his brother, Horace Millner Bentley, sold French DFP cars in Cricklewood, North London before WW1, but W.O always wanted to design and build his own cars. At the DFP factory, in 1913, he noticed an aluminium paperweight and thought that aluminium might be a suitable replacement for cast iron to fabricate lighter pistons. The first Bentley aluminium pistons were fitted to Sopwith Camel aero engines during World War I.
The first Bentley car was behind schedule and wasn’t completed until September 1921. Despite being underfunded the cars where acclaimed for their durability and became widely known after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1924. Bentley also won Le Mans in 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, and 2003.
In 1929 when the Wall Street Crash resulted in the great depression the demand for the luxurious Bentleys came to a near halt. In 1931 the company was not able to make two mortgage payments. A receiver was appointed and “British Central Equitable Trust” which was a front name for Rolls-Royce Limited won the sealed bid for £125,275. Not even W.O himself knew that Rolls-Royce had bought his company until the deal was done.
From 1931 to 1998 Rolls-Royce had ownership of Bentley. The forced receivership in 1971 that nationalized the company resulting in Rolls-Royce being split into two companies, Rolls-Royce Plc (aerospace) and Rolls-Royce Motors Limited which retained the Bentley name and was acquired by Vickers in 1980. As stated above Vickers Sold the company to Volkswagen which is how they now own the Bentley name. Volkswagen stated that they were more interested in the Bentley name as it was outselling the Rolls-Royce therefore not being able to use the Rolls-Royce logo or name wasn’t such a big blow to their ego.
Volkswagen has invested over 1 billion dollars in the Bentley name since 1998 and today on average 25 Continental’s and 4 Mulsanne’s are built per day. According to latest figures, Bentley has a market share of 25 per cent, and is the leading luxury car maker in the world. In other words: one in four cars sold above €150,000 is a Bentley.
So now you know the history of the two most iconic luxury motor car brands. So which will you choose? A Bentley or a Rolls-Royce? Volkswagen or BMW? How about both! Even better! Either way you will need to take very good care of your new car and make sure you get it shipped by a company that transports luxury vehicles with great responsibility.