Automotive

Published on May 25th, 2021 | by Subhash Nair

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Bentley Has Been Producing Cars In Crewe For 75 Years

Bentley has been at Crewe since before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Bentley has been around for over 100 years now and many of those years were spent headquartered in Crewe, England. The company moved into the site in 1938, transforming a potato field into a manufacturing facility for Merlin aeroplane engines – the ones that went into WW2 era planes like the Hawker Hurricane. Bentley began producing cars after the war in 1946. Today marks 75 years since the first Bentley was produced in Crewe.

The first automobile to be produced there was the Mark VI. It was also the first Bentley vehicle to feature a pressed-steel body shell as standard. Coachbuilt vehicles were still offered, but the Mark VI signalled a new era of mass production for Bentley that has not relented since.

Outside their Crewe factory a Bentley MK V, the last car produced by the company before moving to this new facility, is still on display. The facilities at Crewe will be continuously improved upon for Bentley’s next phase of production when they electrify their entire lineup.

For more on this story, check out the press release below.

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PRESS RELEASE

Bentley Motors today marks 75 years of car production from the luxury marque’s iconic factory in Crewe, England. The revered Mk V, the very last car to be built in Derby before the dawn of the Crewe era in May 1946, today stood proudly on display along Pyms Lane as the current generation Bentley models rolled off the production line at record levels.  

During this 75 year period, 197,086 luxury cars – 97 per cent of Bentley’s entire production – have been handcrafted, an extraordinary milestone when considered that just 38,933 were built before modern day models such as the Continental GT and Bentayga were introduced from the turn of the century.  

Remarkably, records show that 84 per cent of all cars built in Crewe for the UK market are still on the road today, with that number growing at unmatched levels.  Bentley is currently building 85 cars per day; one month’s output, two decades ago.    

Although Bentley’s history dates back to 1919, Crewe became part of the luxury marque’s story in 1938; the Pyms Lane site transforming from potato fields to a significant manufacturing base for the Merlin aeroplane engines, a key pillar of the war efforts. Selected due to its strong transport links and ready supply of skilled labour, at peak in 1943, the Crewe factory employed over 10,000 colleagues.

With car production having ceased in the war years, the former home of the company in Derby was committed to building new-era jet engines in 1946, meaning a new location was required. Colleagues had to be retrained in techniques necessary for car manufacture, such as painting, anti-corrosion preparation, body mounting and woodwork.    

What followed prior to the modern era were many iconic models of their time produced in Crewe, including the R-Type Continental, Turbo R, Arnage and Azure.  

Arguably the biggest change to Pyms Lane, Crewe, took place in 1998, following the acquisition of Bentley by the Volkswagen Group. The Group immediately invested significantly to modernise the factory and transformed the company into the one that exists today, creating a platform for an illustrious period in the history of Bentley Motors.  

Pyms Lane has remained the focal point for Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe since the company arrived in 1938. What stands today are industry-leading facilities that are fully carbon neutral, the first luxury car brand to achieve such a feat. 

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