One of the most famous owners of a Bentley never even existed. He is 007, James Bond, of Her Majesty's Secret Service. In the original novels by Ian Fleming, Bond owned several Bentleys (in the films he usually drove an Aston Martin). Bond's first Bentley shuffled off this mortal coil in "Moonraker," when it met its end as a result of a car chase with a truck.
Some non-fictional owners of Bentleys have also achieved a degree of fame. Rapper Jay-Z mentions Bentleys in several of his songs and drives around in them as well. Ludacris owns a platinum Bentley Continental GT -- he claims he got the hookup from his friend Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq has his own Bentley, reportedly with a custom Superman logo mounted on the front grill [source: Forbes].
Some other famous Bentley owners:
- Paris Hilton - celebrity arrested in her Bentley for driving with a suspended license
- Kobe Bryant - LA Lakers basketball star
- Fabolous - gangsta rapper and proud Bentley owner
- The Game - rapper and former Bentley owner who donated his car to an auction to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina
- Xzibit - rapper and owner of a Bentley Continental GT
In 2002, Bentley Motors presented the Queen of England with two Bentley limousines as a present for her Golden Jubilee, a celebration marking her 50th year as queen of England. These limousines are now the official state limousine. Bentley designed the cars to travel smoothly even at a walking pace -- necessary if you spend a lot of time in parades or processions. Reportedly, the cars have exceptional stereo systems.
Bentley automobiles are rare in the United States. They are also very expensive, ranging in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Their performance, luxury, scarcity and expense combine to make a very tempting package for the wealthy. There's a sense of prestige that comes with owning a Bentley -- you're part of an elite class of people if you can afford to roll in a Bentley.
In the next section, we'll look at some of the Bentley Driving Courses.