Bentley’s latest and all-new Flying Spur is to wear the iconic ‘Flying B’ mascot – the first time ever on the British marques modern-day four-door Grand Tourer edition.
The legendary iconic ‘Flying B’ mascot has long been regarded as the personification of automotive excellence and opulence. The newly designed hood-mounted mascot will be electronically-deployed, rising from beneath a modern Bentley badge, underlining the peerless quality of the third generation of the Flying Spur.
Looking to the future of luxury mobility, the famous mascot also adorns the EXP 100 GT, where the smart, illuminated Flying B comes to life as one approaches the car, light playing across the grille, through the mascot and along the bonnet central spine of the car and into the cabin itself.
Almost 90 Years
The upright, Flying B was first employed almost 90 years ago on a 1930 model 8 Litre. The mascot wasn’t a standard fit in those days but available to customers as an option, for the princely sum of five guineas.
The original mascot complemented the flat, winged B badge commissioned by company founder W.O. Bentley himself when Bentley Motors was launched in 1919, exactly 100 years ago.
In Bentley’s Centenary year, the mascot has been restyled for the next century and is an evolution of previous designs. On the new Flying Spur, it is electronically-controlled and illuminated, linked to the welcome lighting sequence and keyless entry system as the driver approaches the car.
Flying B – A Symbol Of Excellence
The original Flying B, the latest incarnation of which is making its debut on a Flying Spur for the first time in modern memory, was designed by Charles Sykes, who created a ‘B’ with wings that looked the same from both sides of the car. It eventually became standard fitment on most models, although many Bentleys also featured unique mascots created by their owners.
The upright, Flying B first appeared in the early 1930s on an 8 Litre model but only as an option, for an additional five guineas. Emblems were not popular and at one stage, Bentley even considered scrapping their now-iconic mascot for good.
In 1935, a competition was held inviting readers of The Autocar magazine to suggest their own designs for a replacement. The prize was a not insubstantial £50 but none of the ideas submitted proved suitable. Many did not even allow for the hood of a Bentley to be opened!
Two consolation prizes of £25 each were awarded to a pair of readers and, thankfully, the upright Flying B badge that now adorns many of the world’s finest motor cars survived.
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Flat Winged B – A Badge of Distinction
Remarkably, very early Bentley motor cars had no mascot on the hood at all. The flat, winged Bentley badge was designed for company founder W.O. Bentley just after the First World War by English artist, F. Gordon Crosby.
Although the badge appears symmetrical, the two wings feature a different number of feathers on each side. This simple difference was intended to fool those who tried to copy the marque’s logo.
Crosby worked for The Autocar magazine most of his life. A self-taught illustrator, he had a unique style that was captured best in his remarkable watercolours of road and track racing. A flamboyant character, he was probably Britain’s foremost motoring artist of the era.
The flat winged badge has appeared in several colours over the last 100 years, originally red, then green, blue and black. Today the flat winged B remains a renowned hallmark of excellence.
100 Years Of Extraordinary
July 10, 2019, marked Bentley’s 100th year – an extraordinary milestone achieved by only a few companies. A year-long series of special activities have been taking place, with celebrations at major events around the world. They have showcased Bentley’s motoring evolution over the last 100 years, highlighting its global success today and the exciting future of innovation ahead.