Back in the day, when racing was a sport for the super wealthy, Bentley was among the elite few catering to the sport. Last night was their big comeback in racing — introducing a modified version of the Paris Hilton coup at Smashbox Studios in Hollywood as a precursor to the upcoming LA Auto Show which starts Friday.
A little history here … from 1910 – 1930 Bentley was among the top names in racing. In the 1950s, Bentley came under the same ownership as Rolls Royce. They were merged into one factory and eventually the only thing that was different was the grill. Both lost their identity and began the dark era for both brands. Eventually, the only difference between the two cars was the grill. In the early 2000s a bidding war between the large German family that owned BMW and Ferdinand Piëch of Wolkswagon. The conclusion was that VW brought Bentley and BMW bought Rolls Royce and once again the brands began to reclaim their own distinct personalities … Rolls with the new Phantam and Bentley with the GT “Paris Hilton” coup. And then the Drophead and the Mulsanne… and now this.
Going one step further, Bentley now has a the modified coup available (much like how Ferrari creates their challenge cars).
We chatted with Bentley board members Kevin Rose and Wolfgang Glabus who is the director of Communications in from Crewe, England where Bentley is based. They told us the US has made a comeback over China who had topped us last year as their biggest market. Both were en route back downtown to ready for this weekend’s LA Auto Show (Nov 30 – Dec 2).
Also spotted: Jay Leno, Bentley Motors Board Member Rolf French, Brian Gush (Head of Motorsports at Bentley Motors), Angus MacKenzie (Editor-at-Large at Motor Trend Magazine), world land speed record holder Andy Green, 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and host of “World’s Fastest Car Show” Justin Bell (he is a LA local even though he’s British), Christophe Georges (Head of US for Bentley) and Mikel Elliott the owner of Quixote and and who bought out Smashbox Studios from the Factors.
When: Tuesday, Nov. 27
Where: Smashbox Studios
What: Launch of the new Bentley GT3 and the brand’s return to racing
We might also note no expense was spared at the bar… the options were Macallan, Vueve Cliquot and Penfolds wines, specifically the Grange which retails at $400-$500 a bottle.
Most every good car brand will do one of these parties before the main affair; we popped by Range Rover who hosted a blow out on the Paramount lot and Jim Henson studios where Mercedes was launching their collaboration Smart Car with Jeremy Scott. Tomorrow the festivities continue …