Bentley 100 years – Extraordinary Dinner at The Savoy

It was in August 1919 when W.O. (Walter Owen) Bentley founded Bentley Motors at its first site in Cricklewood, North London, with his aim being “to build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class”. A hundred years later to the day, and the brand is a global powerhouse, and H.R. Owen wanted to celebrate in style with an Extraordinary Dinner at The Savoy. But why this hotel? Well, there’s a good reason for that…

Perhaps Bentley’s most dramatic motorsport win came in 1927, when two of the Bentley Boys, Sydney Charles Houghton ‘Sammy’ Davis and Dr Dudley ‘Benjy’ Benjafield, were involved in the notorious White House Crash, resulting in their 3-Litre Bentley sustaining serious headlight damage. Davis and Benjafield came up with a radical solution; they strapped a torch to the windscreen of their vehicle and carried on racing. Not only did they make it to the finish line – they crossed it first!

Upon returning to London, a celebratory black-tie dinner organised by Autocar magazine was held at The Savoy Hotel. To celebrate the victory, the Bentley was to sit centre stage. The battle-scarred vehicle, named ‘Old Number 7’, had to be dismantled to fit through the hotel’s front doors, before being reassembled. Guests, including team members and W.O. Bentley himself, were seated in a horseshoe layout so that the winning car was made the centrepiece of the 11-course meal. Alongside their lavish meal, guests were treated to a Bentley cocktail, invented by the Head Barman of The Savoy, to commemorate their historic victory.

And so it was, that 100 years after the brand was founded, H.R. Owen was to host yet another Extraordinary Bentley Dinner at The Savoy. Customers and VIPs filed past some of Bentley’s most iconic models and into the hotel’s historic doors for a very special evening of gastronomy. H.R. Owen guests were treated to a specially curated menu, with each course representing a different era in Bentley Motors’ history. The famous Bentley cocktail, invented by The Savoy’s Head Barman all those years ago made a welcome return, too.

For one particularly lucky attendee, the extraordinary evening would become even more memorable. While sat next to a member of the Bentley Design Team, the generous designer sketched out a completely bespoke drawing of a Bentley on a Savoy napkin, and handed it to him as a perfect keepsake of a wonderful evening.

Thank you to all of our customers and colleagues from Bentley Motors for attending and sharing a special evening of celebration with us!