Behind the Badge: Bentley

The story of Bentley begins high in the sky in the early 1900s. The now world-renowned British maker of luxurious cars started out designing and manufacturing rotary engines that were used on airplanes during World War 1.

Bentley rose to fame in the aviation industry with the Bentley BR1 aero-engine. Shortly thereafter, the company branched out into the automotive industry and Bentley Motors was born in 1919.

The exterior of the factory in Cricklewood, with a 3 litre chassis about to depart, probably for a road test - early 20's
Bentley factory in Cricklewood, outside London in early 1920’s

The showroom in Central London - mid 20's
Bentley showroom in Central London in 1920

Founder Walter Owen Bentley, known to everyone as W.O., was known in the automobile industry. Prior to finding success with plane engines, he worked with his brother selling cars before launching the brand bearing his name.

WO with his car at 80 dinner
W.O. Bentley with his car

The Bentley logo has 2 versions – a “Winged B” and the flat “B” logo with wings on either side.


The letter B simply stands for Bentley while the wings on either side symbolize speed, as if to say the car can fly.

What’s interesting is the badge colors and the number of feathers in the wings on either side of the “B” varies depending on the type of car.

Vintage cars typically have 13 feathers on the left and 14 on the right.

Crewe cars have 10 feathers on each side.

Derby cars have 10 feathers on the left and 11 on the right, which is the most commonly used logo today.

Bentley GTC V8

The red Bentley logo is used to identify V8 models while the 12-cylinder models are adorned with the black Bentley badge.

Bentley Continental GT launch, Norway, June 2015 Photo: James Lipman /

The Bentley logo is made up of three main colors: white, black, and silver.

The white symbolizes charm and purity, black stands for elegance and superiority of the luxury cars, and silver is the overall sheer sophistication of the brand and the detail that goes into a Bentley.

Check out the full Bentley line-up at Park Place Bentley Dallas.