W.O. Bentley and his brother H.M. were the British concessionaires for DFP, a sporting French make before World War I. After the Great War, “WO” started his own company to build a car for buyers who loved driving. Excellent quality materials, workmanship and performance reflected its high price. By the mid-1920’s, the Bentley was regarded as the archetypal British sports car, with no less than five victories at Le Mans. Numerous orders for the rather heavy coachwork on the Three Litre chassis prompted Bentley to expand into more powerful versions – the 1925 6½ Litre and 1927 4½ Litre. Bentley’s chronic lack of capital threatened to bankrupt the company by the mid-1920’s. Woolf Barnato, one of the more enthusiastic Bentley supporters and three-time winner at Le Mans, came to the rescue. However, when the depression hit the company was unable to pay its debts and was sold to Rolls-Royce in 1931. Rolls-Royce transformed the Bentley into a civilized, quality car of high performance, justifying its motto of “The Silent Sports Car”. In 1998 Vickers, the owners of Rolls-Royce, sold Bentley to Volkswagen.
model: 1750 Spider Veloce
A work of art, the Cord 810 was a sensation from its first unveiling in 1935. Erret Lobban Cord, head of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg (ACD) Corporation, got the best designers to create a car for the future. Designed by Gordon Buehrig, the car looked unique. Instead of a traditional grille and high bonnet, it had a low-slung engine cover, with horizontal slats to admit cooling air. It had no running-boards, no visible door hinges. The petrol filler lived under a little hatch on the rear flank and headlamps were concealed. The Cord family crest was the only means of identification. It also had front wheel drive and a preselector gearbox. It was however expensive - almost double the price of a Cadillac - and attracted too few customers. When the first Cord 810’s became available, the financial situation at ACD was dire. By 1937 it was all over, the manufacturer of the most exciting cars to come out of the 1930’s, was no more.
The higher cruising speed of the MGA roadster revealed the shortcomings of the traditional sports car top, consequently a coupe version was added to the range in 1955. On account of its lower drag, it was faster than the roadster. Autosport achieved a top speed of 102 miles per hour (164 km/h) with the coupe.