Bentleys and Computer-Aided Design

Gary S. Vasilash

The first production Bentley ever sold went to a gentleman, Noel Van Raatle, in 1921. It was “Chassis Number 3.” The 3 Litre model had aluminum coachwork and brass brightwork. As you can see from this, which is Bentley EXP No. 2, the materials actually shine on the vehicle.

Bentley EXP No 2

That original production car sold at Pebble Beach last week for $962,500. And it has the original aluminum and brass bits.

But it got us to thinking not about the startling sums being paid at auction, but about how things were done early in the last century. Which led us to this, a drawing from the Bentley archives.

Bentley Design

Imagine how once upon a pre-computer-aided design (CAD) time, automotive designers actually worked as draftsmen, penciling out the plans for a car.

Certainly there are more than a few contemporary designers are happier for the CAD.