First up, the oldest remaining and first racing model – EXP 2 – will be displayed at Retromobile, Paris, to kick-start the world car show season at Salon des Expositions, Porte de Versailles this week.
Showcasing Bentley’s motoring evolution over the past 100 years, the British brand’s stand in Paris will offer visitors a unique opportunity to explore the heritage and the innovation of the company.
In the first few years of his company’s existence, W.O. Bentley made three prototypes: EXP 1 at New Street Mews off Baker Street; EXP 2 built later that year at Bentley’s new workshop in Cricklewood; and EXP 3 – better known as ‘The Cab’ and W.O.’s personal car.
A legacy of the Cricklewood era, EXP 2 is the oldest Bentley in existence. As the second Bentley to ever be made, its debut was at the 1919 Olympia Motor Show and is a landmark car in the brand’s 100-year history.
Drawing influence from W.O. Bentley’s pre-war competition experience – when he pioneered the use of aluminium pistons – EXP 2 is also the brand’s first car to win a race, powered by a 3.0-litre four-cylinder engine with a top speed of 80 mph.
Frank Clement, W.O.’s development engineer and racing driver, won the Junior Sprint Handicap at Brooklands on 16 May 1921 in EXP2 – the first recorded racing victory for Bentley. Clement not only took the brand’s maiden win at the famous banked circuit, but also saw off some famous names in the process.
Joining its illustrious forebear in Paris will be the new Continental GT Convertible – the pinnacle open-top Grand Tourer.
Although separated by 100 years of automotive evolution, the two models share a number of hallmark Bentley characteristics: both are genuine Grand Tourers; both offer sector-defining levels of performance; and both feature innovative technology at their core.
The year, Retromobile celebrates its 44th anniversary, with over 120,000 visitors expected to attend from all over the world.