Two iconic car manufacturers – one that adds the “gold” in gold-standard automotive luxury and one inspired by everyday family life -are marking milestones. Bentley Motors and Citroën are celebrating 100 years in 2019, both commemorating their legacy and popularity with retrospective movies, fabulous events and, of course, limited edition models.
The Origins of Bentley
In July 1919, Walter Owen Bentley (who preferred to be called W.O.) starts a car company that bears his name. His goal? “To build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class.” From the first Bentley that rolls off the assembly line in New Street Mews, London, W.O.’s company has pursued a blend of performance and craftsmanship that is unrivaled in the luxury car market. After the original “Bentley Boys” win five times at Le Mans in the 1920’s, Bentley cements a reputation of power and elegance that continues to this day. Located in Crewe, UK and owned by Volkswagen AG since 1998, Bentley Motors defines British luxury performance vehicles.
100 Extraordinary Years
Historic Bentleys are worth millions and the special 100th anniversary edition of the all-new Continental GT Number 9 by Bentley’s Mulliner bespoke division will likely be all that. Production is limited to just 100, hand-built at the Crewe facility and priced at almost $300,000 a Bentley. The 616 hp Continental GT can do 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds with a top speed of 207 mph and is said to “pay homage” to Sir Henry Ralph Stanley ‘Tim’ Birkin, who races a No. 9 Bentley “Blower” at the 1930 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Fans of Bentley Motors can also pick up commemorative clothing and accessories from the “100 Extraordinary Years” collection, exquisite gold-plated tealight holders, napkin ring sets featuring the distinctive Bentley knurling pattern, a centenary espresso set with cups and saucers that have hand-painted gold colored rims, heritage luggage, handbags, leather jackets, business accessories such as the Graf von Faber-Castell for Bentley pens – or the Breitling Premier Bentley Centenary Limited Edition chronograph (that means wrist watch) in 18k red gold or stainless steel. Luxe swag.
The Origins of Citroën
Paris-born André Citroën is accepted into École Polytechnique at the age of 20 and starts his military service in 1900 as an artillery sub-lieutenant in Le Mans. During a trip to Poland, he buys a patent for herringbone gears that would play a role in his automotive legacy. In 1908, while working with Automobile Mors, he reorganizes their manufacturing process using American mass production techniques and increases output nearly 10 times, from 125 to 1,200 cars a year. In 1914 during the first World War, his artillery factory on the Quai de Javel in Paris produces up to 55,000 shells per day. After the war, Mr. Citroën converts his gear factory into an automobile manufacturing company with the goal of producing popular, mass-produced cars. The 10hp Type A first appears in 1919 and features innovations such as an all-steel body, floating engine, unibody chassis and Traction Avant (front-wheel drive). The French automobile manufacturer has been part of Groupe PSA since 1976.
100 Years of Life Stories From Fans Worldwide
The Citroën brand has become a cornerstone of popular culture, and the company is celebrating this popularity by sharing the stories of their fans. “These families have written their story, from one generation to the next, while driving, travelling, collecting or working in a Citroën,” company executives say in a statement. “In their own way, they have also written Citroën’s story.” Citroën Generations is a video series that captures seven of these stories, illustrates Citroën’s impact on society and brings its tagline “Inspired by You” to life.
In addition, Citroën has created a downloadable Retromobile Catalog for enthusiasts and collectors that features 30 iconic models representating 100 years of Citroën (this is pretty cool). From events such as the Collectors Reunion historic gathering in La Ferte Vidame/Eure-et-Loir (July 19-21, 2019), to an interactive museum, the Citroën Conservatory, exclusive souvenirs sporting the Citroën double chevron and more – this birthday party champions cars for the common man that combine unique design and benchmark comfort.
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