Bentley Motors is named after its founder's surname, Walter Owen Bentley (commonly known as W.O. Bentley, 1888– 1971).
Since Bentley's inception in 1919, founder Walter Owen Bentley has already cemented his vision for the brand: "To build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class.”
The Vision of W.O. Bentley (Founder)
What does the Bentley logo mean?
The Bentley logo holds several meanings that reflect the brand's history and values. Here are the key interpretations associated with the Bentley logo:
Founder's Initial: The bolded letter "B" in the logo represents the initial of the brand's founder, Walter Owen Bentley. It serves as a tribute to his vision, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit that laid the foundation for the Bentley brand.
Wings: The flying wings in the logo are a tribute to founder W.O. Bentley's involvement in aviation during World War I. They symbolize speed, power, and the relentless pursuit of innovation, reflecting Bentley's dedication to pushing the boundaries of automotive performance.
Overall, the flying wings in the Bentley logo represent speed and power, which align with Bentley's commitment to delivering exceptional performance and driving experiences. The wings convey the dynamic nature of Bentley cars and suggest their ability to move quickly and deliver an exhilarating driving experience. Additionally, the wings embody the founder's relentless passion for motion and innovation, as W.O. Bentley was known for his dedication to pushing the boundaries of automotive engineering.
The main reason why flying wings are used in the company's logo is due to founder W.O. Bentley's past in WWI.
When the First World War erupted, W.O. Bentley set aside his aspirations of establishing a car company and dedicated himself to serving his country. W.O. Bentley ingeniously crafted an engine for fighter aircraft using his aluminium pistons, surpassing the performance and reliability of previous models that were prone to combat-related issues like overheating and seizing up. His revolutionary creation, the Bentley Rotary engine BR.1, propelled the Sopwith Camel to become the most successful British fighter aircraft of the war.
In recognition of his invaluable service to the war effort, W.O. Bentley was honored with the MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in the prestigious 1919 New Year's Honours list. Additionally, he received £8,000 from the Commission of Awards to Inventors, providing him with the necessary capital to fulfill his lifelong dream of establishing his own car company. Thus, on the 10th of July 1919, Bentley Motors came into existence.
Taking this into consideration, F. Gordon Crosby, a renowned motoring artist and Bentley's friend, decided to introduce wings as a reference to W.O. Bentley's characteristic aircraft history.
Overall, the choice to incorporate wings in the logo holds several symbolic meanings that align with Bentley's heritage, values, and aspirations.
Before the creation of the first Bentley mascot, the Bentley Wings, in a two-dimensional form, served as the brand's emblem. When W.O. Bentley founded the Bentley company in 1919, he wanted a logo that symbolized his pursuit of high-performance automobiles.
To design the logo, W.O. Bentley enlisted the help of his friend F. Gordon Crosby, a renowned motoring artist of that era. Crosby was well-known for his ability to bring motor races and journeys to life through his illustrations in publications like The Autocar.
Crosby created the original Winged B logo, which featured the letter "B" of Bentley enclosed within a pair of wings. This design aimed to capture the sense of exhilaration and speed associated with Bentley's performance-focused vehicles. It may also have been a nod to W.O. Bentley's previous experience as an engine designer for fighter planes during World War I.
To ensure the logo's uniqueness and guard against imitation, Crosby made each wing of the Winged B have a different number of feathers, making it distinct and easily recognizable. This feature allowed Bentley to stay ahead of potential fraudulent imitations of their logo.
The Winged B logo laid the foundation for Bentley's branding and eventually evolved into the iconic Flying B mascot that became synonymous with the brand's luxury automobiles.
The Winged B has four colors: black, red, green, and blue.
Black is the most common, representing power and sport.
Before 1924, all Bentley vehicles had only red markings, after which Bentley gradually used green, blue, and black to distinguish different models.
The green Bentley logo and blue logo have not been made since 2000.
The blue Bentley logo is extremely rare and has only been seen on the most expensive model, the Bentley Azure!
To celebrate 100 years of Bentley, a version of the Winged B was created exclusively for cars built during the Centenary year. The Bentley ‘B’ and the oval around it were outlined in a special metallic finish named Centenary Gold, and the dates 1919 and 2019 added either side of the ‘B’ – a fitting tribute to Crosby in a year that also marked a century since his original design.
In the 1970s, there were changes in legislation regarding pedestrian safety, particularly related to the use of solid ornaments on vehicles. As a result, prominent solid ornaments, including the small flying B mascot, were banned. The legislation aimed to reduce injuries to pedestrians in case of accidents by prohibiting the use of potentially hazardous external features.
In 2006, the Flying B made a triumphant return, thanks to a mechanism that made it fully retractable.
The Flying B is usually found only on top Bentley models (such as Mulsanne, Azure, Arnage, and Brooklands) and is easily reminiscent of the Rolls-Royce’s Spirit of Ecstasy. The difference is that the “Spirit of Ecstasy” sculpture adorns all Rolls-Royce cars.
The Flying B has three colors: gold, silver, and dark versions.
Special editions of the Flying B mascot have been offered by Bentley's Mulliner division, for limited edition models, including a dark tint version and even including a gold Flying B.
The Gold version of the car is generally assembled in a customized one; this color represents the most expensive decoration level, which is very rare! If you're not that rich, a silver one might be better for you.
At the same time, a darker version of the mascot emphasizes the sportiness and vitality of the vehicle.
In 2019, Bentley’s Centenary year, the new Flying Spur took the definitive four-door grand tourer in a new direction – accompanied by a new iteration of the Flying B. The minimalist, contemporary shape of the new design represents an owl gliding over a calm lake in pursuit of prey, the mascot’s widening base tracing out the wake created on the water.
In 2002, Bentley introduced a definitive new corporate identity, which included the winged 'B' that is still in use today. This logo aimed to embody modern Bentley values while still respecting the brand's origins. It represents a harmonious blend of contemporary design elements and a connection to the brand's rich history, allowing Bentley to maintain its legacy while projecting a modern image.
It's impressive that the logo has endured for nearly two decades and is still in use today, a testament to its design's strength and ability to represent the Bentley brand.
As other car brands simplify and modernize their logos, Bentley has announced plans to do the same. In April 2023, Bentley released a new simplified logo, "Gen B," for commercial promotion. The simplification of the logo likely aims to make it more visually appealing and contemporary and reflects Bentley's intention to modernize its brand image.
According to Bentley's explanation on their YouTube channel: We are Generation Bentley. We are Gen B.
The new logo, "Gen B," aligns with Bentley's vision of Generation Bentley and conveys a sense of inclusivity, progressiveness, and a desire to redefine luxury. By embracing the values and mindset of Gen B, the logo represents Bentley's commitment to evolving with the times and appealing to a diverse and forward-thinking audience.