W. O. Bentley

Automotive Engineer
Born Sep 16, 1888

Walter Owen Bentley, MBE engineer; designer of aero engines, designer and racer of motor cars, founder of Bentley Motors Limited in Cricklewood near London. He was known as "W.O. " without any need to add the word Bentley.

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about W. O. Bentley.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of W. O. Bentley.


1888 Birth Born on September 16, 1888.


1902 13 Years Old Bentley was born in Hampstead, London the youngest of nine children of retired businessman Alfred Bentley and Emily née Waterhouse. He was educated at Clifton College, a Public School in Clifton, Bristol, England from 1902 until 1905 which he left at the age of 16 to start work as an apprentice railway engineer with the Great Northern Railway at Doncaster in Yorkshire. "The sight of one of Patrick Stirling's eight-foot singles could move me profoundly." … Read More


1910 21 Years Old He completed his apprenticeship in the summer of 1910 and decided that for him the railways did not hold enough scope for a satisfying career. … Read More
1912 23 Years Old In 1912 he joined his brother, H M (Horace Millner) Bentley, in a company called "Bentley and Bentley" selling French DFP cars. … Read More


1919 - 1920 2 More Events
1923 34 Years Old A rather sceptical Bentley had been persuaded to attend the very first, 1923, Le Mans race. … Read More
1925 36 Years Old However the 1925 Le Mans race was a complete failure for W O and his team and Bentley Motors Limited was in deep financial trouble. … Read More
1928 39 Years Old W O designed another generation of cars, the six-cylinder -litre Speed-Six introduced 1928, but in 1929 against his wishes, Barnato allowed to be built before development was complete the Tim Birkin developed supercharged "Blower" version of his 1927 4½ Litre car. … Read More


By July 1931 Barnato had decided he would provide no more support for the company and made himself scarce. … Read More
1932 43 Years Old As obliged to do by the court he joined Rolls-Royce under a contract extending from 1 May 1932 to the end of April 1935. … Read More
1933 44 Years Old While he worked on testing the prototype he was only permitted to comment on the design of what would become the new Derby -litre announced in October 1933. … Read More
1934 45 Years Old He married Margaret Roberts Hutton née Murray in 1934 and she survived him. … Read More
1936 47 Years Old Unable to persuade Harry Grylls to join his engineering staff at Staines W O did obtain Stewart Tresilian's services from February 1936. … Read More


1949 60 Years Old W O remained as an engineer at Aston Martin-Lagonda for a time, then he moved to Armstrong Siddeley, where he designed another twin-overhead-cam 3-litre engine before retiring.However it is reported that W O 's team's, it included Donald Bastow, responsibilities for the Sapphire project which also extended to the chassis, ceased in 1949 and as it eventuated they provided not a lot more than the detailed inspiration for the production version of the Sapphire announced in October 1952.
1971 82 Years Old 1 More Event
Following his lengthy obituary printed in The TImes 16 August 1971 the same newspaper printed two more contributions. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.