Dec 5, 2011
In 1951, a Shell advert proclaimed that one went “very fast very gently in a Bentley”.
In that same year, Bentley’s own advertising proclaimed that theirs was “The Silent Sports Car”.
And even when growing up in the decade that taste largely forgot – the 1980s – Bentley remained the choice of the discreet.
Indeed, all the way up until 2003 a Bentley was a luxuriously appointed ride under the radar.
Then Volkswagen came along and buggered it all up.
No longer was a Bentley solely the choice of uppers with names like Bunty, Binky or Babe.
New money was Bentley’s target. And new money Bentley made.
With peak sales figures coming close to 10,000 for the GT and its sedan sister the Flying Spur, came a time when the Continental Bentleys were vying with the black Mercedes S-Class for Central London ubiquity.
But, with costs shared with the Volkswagen Phaeton, the cash rolled in and I doubt anyone in Crewe (or Wolfsburg) really gave a damn.
I did. Bentley used to be special.
Now it’s common as muck.
I thought salvation might arrive in Crewe’s reposte to the marvellous Rolls Ghost.
What arrived was neither reposte nor salvation.
The Grand Bentley – as the pre-launch press material billed it – arrived as a beautifully-built, pig-faced bruiser called the Mulsanne, a car so vulgar as to confirm Rolls Royce’s new role as the luxury car for the discerning (if not discreet).
I honestly thought the state of Bentley’s brand communications – physical or otherwise – couldn’t get worse.
And then this video came along:
Once for the discreet.
Now for the douchebag.
So long, Silent Sports Car.
Rest in peace, my very fast, very gently Bentley.