The new Heritage Garage was part of the original Crewe factory site that has been repurposed to house some of the most historically significant Bentley models in the company’s 103-year history. Complementing the Bentley Lineage exhibition in CW1 House, the Heritage Garage provides a place to showcase the Bentley Heritage Collection that currently has 42 cars.
22 cars from the Collection will be housed in the Heritage Garage. Currently, it houses cars as old as 1919 though eventually they will be focusing more on the cars in the Collection which were built in Crewe – everything from 1946 onwards.
With the opening of the new facility, for the first time ever, all the members of the Bentley Heritage Collection are now housed in the Bentley campus. For the past 18 months, the Collection has gone though a huge development and expansion program that now spans the entire history of the company.
All visitors to Crewe, whether they’re VIPs, media guests, or customers, will now have access to view an unbroken chain of Bentley production models. All these models are kept in perfect working order and all are in road-legal condition. By next summer, the Collection will be divided into three different areas. Significant Cricklewood models (1919 to 1931) and Derby-era Bentleys (1931 to 1939) will be housed in a display in CW1 House that will soon be developed. The Heritage Garage will house Crewe-built models. It should also be noted that eight motorsport cars in the Collection like the Speed 8s from Le Mans, Ice Speed Record, Pikes Peak cars, and GT3 racers, will be part of a separate display.
A New Showcase
The original 1930s brick-built factory was originally known as the ‘project forum’ and it was the place where models like the 2003 Continental GT were planned and developed. At the heart of the factory is a light and airy setting which is also visible to everyone who might walk through the factory. The Garage can also be used as an event space for internal briefings and external presentations; and it makes quite the impact as a beautiful line-up of vintage Bentleys are kept in the place.
Mike Sayer, Head of Bentley’s Heritage Collection shared, “Having now rebuilt the Collection to fully chart our history, we have an ongoing commitment to add to it with each significant new model we launch. For example, the Collection now includes the 2019 Bentayga Hybrid, which was both the first-ever plug-in hybrid Bentley and an important step in our ‘Beyond100’ strategy towards electrification. As we continue to evolve, we want our guests and colleagues from all areas of the company to be able to share the rich history of Bentley Motors. The Heritage Garage brings that history to vivid life, and means we can actively reference our past while setting the course for our future.”
Heritage Collection Examples
Each of the 42 cars in the Collection played an important role in Bentley’s history.
The most iconic pre-war Bentleys are housed in the Cricklewood section of the Heritage Collection. It starts with the second car that W.O. Bentley built, the EXP2. It is also the oldest Bentley in existence. Next are the two Blowers, one of them is part of the Team Car #2 and is the most valuable Bentley in existence. There are also the 1929 Speed Six, and a car that was W.O.’s personal car for two years is the 1930 8-Liter.
The Mark VI was the first car to be produced in the Crewe factory and it was also an instant sales success. The example housed in the Heritage Collection is the AGO 2. It has a two-tone green over black finish and it connects the 1938 4¼-liter Embiricos and the iconic 1952 Type R Continental.
In 1959, the aluminum alloy V8 engine that was designed by Jack Phillips made its debut, and it is another important narrative link. In its naturally aspirated form, it was the heart of the Heritage Collection’s elegant 1963 S3 Bentley Standard Saloon 176 FGH, and even the 1984 convertible Bentley Continental, the A455 YGJ which was the Chairman’s own company car.
When the 6.75-liter V8 engine was turbocharged, it had a dramatic effect on the sales numbers and even the global fame of Bentley. Cars in the Heritage Collection that had this engine include the 1991 Turbo R and the 2001 Arnage Red Label, which is the first model produced under the ownership of the Volkswagen Group. Sporting a Fireglow red finish, this Heritage Collection example signifies one of the most important turning points in Bentley’s history.
Until 2020, the 6.75-liter V8 engine continued to produce the effortless torque expected of a Bentley machine. In its final version as the powertrain of the Mulsanne, the V8 produced 512PS and 1020Nm of torque, delivering a top speed of 184 mph with an acceleration from 0 to 62 mph in just 5.1 seconds. Heritage Collection’s Mulsanne was the second example that came out of the production line, and it bears chassis 000002. It has an Imperial Blue finish and an interior that is trimmed in Shortbread.
Launched in 2003, the Continental GT sparked a revolution for Bentley and Crewe. It turned the company from a car manufacturer of less than 1,000 highly coachbuilt examples a year to produce more than ten times the figure in a year. Heritage Collection’s example has a chassis VIN 20001. It was the very first Continental GT from the Crewe production lines; a right-hand drive model finished in Cypress Green.
It wasn’t long before Bentley became known for their compact and very powerful 6.0-liter W12 engine, much like it was for the 6.75-liter V8. Models in the Heritage Collection that were powered by the W12 include three generations of Flying Spur and the two generations of the high-performance Continental Supersports coupé. Even the 2016 ‘first of line’ Bentayga, chassis 00001, considered to be one of the most significant models that was launched in the 103-year history of Bentley, was also powered by the versatile W12 engine.
On the other hand, in 2014, they launched the advanced Bentley 4.0-liter V8 which is part of the Heritage Collection through the Continental GT V8S. It is the first all-new Bentley V8 released since the mid-1950s, an updated version of the 4.0-liter V8 is now offered across every Bentley model line.