The Bentley Girls
Their spirit lives on
Alongside the Bentley Boys, a group of women known as the Bentley Girls have helped put Bentley on the map for the past century by racing the British brand's cars in extraordinary fashions and encouraging the manufacturer to push the limits of what is possible in automotive engineering.
Keep reading as Grange shines the spotlight on three of the standout women in the Bentley Girls' team. The Bentley Girls showcase an elite group which have helped to take Bentley's cars to ever greater heights over the past 100 extraordinary years of Bentley. Get to know The Bentley Girls past and present here at Grange.
Mary Petre Bruce
Mary Petre Bruce hit the headlines in the motoring world in 1927, when she came sixth overall in the Monte Carlo Rally - winning the Coupe des Dames in the process. Bruce would return to compete in the same race the following year, improving upon her previous result to come second overall.
Towards the end of the 1920s, Bruce set her sights on breaking the Class C 24 hour record. After a failed attempt in 1929 aboard an AC, Bruce gave it another shot in a Bentley 4 ½-Litre. It proved to be a winning move, as Bruce covered 2,164 miles in 24 hours at an average speed of close to 90mph to break the record.
The Hon. Dorothy Paget developed an interest in motor racing after she took part in a series of driving lessons conducted by one of the Bentley Boys, Sir Tim Birkin, during a visit to Brooklands in the 1920s.
Paget's passion for motoring would continue to grow and she would eventually play a key role in the creation of the Bentley 4 ½-Litre Supercharged car - one of the most iconic vehicles ever built by the British brand and also referred to as the Blower Bentley.
Diana Barnato Walker
The daughter of three-time Le Mans winner Woolf 'Babe' Barnato, Diana Barnato Walker, certainly inherited the flair and courageous spirit that her father was renowned for. Her keen eye for motoring could be seen from the moment she began driving a silver-grey Bentley 4 ½-Litre Park Ward saloon that was a gift from her father to celebrate her 21st birthday.
It was with flying where Walker marked her greatest achievements though, including when she flew an English Electric Lightning T14 fighter in 1963 at 1,262mph - twice the speed of sound and close to Mach 2!