Developed the Bentley airplane engine, used by the Allied Forces in World War I
Designed and built the 3-liter Bentley automobile, which became the foundation for Bentley Motors, a premier producer of fine automobiles
Created a state-of-the-art V-12 performance engine in 1936
W.O. Bentley traded in the proverbial “silver spoon” for a drafting pencil and a set of wrenches to become a leader in the production of racing and luxury vehicles. An heir to a mining and banking fortune, Bentley could have lived a life of ease, but chose a hands-on career because of his early love for engines. He studied theoretical design at England’s King’s College, but discovered that a practical approach was more to his liking. A command of the principles of physics and chemistry, combined with a love for speed, eventually led Bentley into building and racing automobiles. After serving a railroad apprenticeship and working as maintenance engineer for a London motor taxi company, Bentley partnered with his brother, Horace, and devoted his energies to developing engines and vehicles that set the standard — and often the record — for high performance at any speed.