Bentley: 3-Litre (1919)
Walter Owen (WO) Bentley and his brother Horace sold cars before WW1, but in 1919 they set up Bentley Motors to make and sell sporting carriages for the well heeled. The company’s first car was ready for delivery in 1921; by 1930 Bentley had won the Le Mans 24 Hours five times. Bentley’s first model was the 3-Litre, 1622 of which were produced between 1921 and 1929, each with a 2996cc four-cylinder engine with four valves per cylinder.
Bentley was acquired by Rolls-Royce in 1931 and spent the next few decades building models based on Rolls-Royces, albeit often ones with a sportier disposition. In 1998 Bentley was split from Rolls and both Bentley and its Crewe factory was acquired by Volkswagen. The company has since undergone a renaissance of successful new models starting with the Continental GT of 2003. It produced 10,566 cars in 2017.
Citroën: Type A (1919)
Throughout WW1 André Citroën’s factory was churning out armaments and although he didn’t make his first car until 1919, as early as 1916 he’d decided to go into vehicle manufacture. In March 1919, just four months after WW1 ended, Citroën showed his Type A, with a 1327cc four-cylinder engine that gave a top speed of 40mph. By the time production ended in 1921, more than 24,000 Type As had been built.
The company went broke in 1934 and was acquired by its largest creditor, Michelin; André Citroën died in 1935. The company was bought by Peugeot in 1976 to form PSA Group,
Jaguar (Swallow Sidecars, 1922)
Jaguar didn’t start out as Jaguar – it began life in 1922 as Swallow Sidecars, or SS, to make bodies for an array of small cars such as Austin, Singer and Wolseley. Trying to sell cars after the events of the Second World War with the name SS was never going to be successful, which is why the name ‘Jaguar’ was adopted. This was first used as a model name in 1935. boya qq
William Morris (later Lord Nuffield) founded Morris Motors in 1913; a decade later Morris Garages (MG) was born. There’s much debate as to what MG’s first car was, but it seems to be the Morris Garages Chummy, a sporting two-seater based on the Morris Cowley. Those first cars featured Morris and MG badges and the first adverts for MG were placed in 1923 although the trademark wasn’t registered until the following year.
Based in Coventry, Triumph entered the bicycle market in 1885; motorcycles followed in 1902 then in 1923 the company built its first car. This was the result of a take over of the Dawson Car Company with Triumph’s first model being the 1.4-litre 10/20. Built until 1926, around 2500 of these two-seater steel-bodied tourers were made although there was also an aluminium-panelled sports model offered too.
After making a name for itself after WW2 with sporty four-door models, Triumph became part of the great British disaster zone that was British Leyland in 1968; the last Triumph-badged car was built in 1984. The Triumph Cars name itself is today owned by BMW, though not used.