As long as Bentley has operated out of its current home in Crewe, there's been a Bentley Continental.
It's arguably the best-known name in the brand's line-up, and actually takes inspiration from a specification of its then-owner Rolls-Royce's vehicles – as a more sporting option intended to cross the continent apace as a grand tourer.
The first Bentley Continental was conceived of in a similar way, comprising a performance package for the swish R-Type – a sibling of the Silver Dawn – and the ethos carried through its successor S series vehicles based on the Silver Shadow.
After a hiatus brought about by the new unibody T Series, the Continental name returned in a similar fashion with a car based on the Rolls-Royce Corniche before budding off into its own model line in the mid 1990s – just before a highly complex ownership situation of the two brands and two prospective new owners got into full swing.
Bentley's eventual new owner, Volkswagen, released the new Continental GT as its first entirely new product in 2003, realising a vision that Rolls-Royce itself had a decade earlier of a more “affordable” Bentley which it had previewed at the Geneva Motor Show as Concept Java.
While that meant a move away from purely hand-built cars and towards a more mass-production style, the Conti was still assembled by the team at Crewe and still to Bentley's high standards of luxury and exclusivity – taking 110 hours to build each car. There's no mistaking it for a Passat!
The result has been Bentley's most successful vehicle in its history, with around 100,000 models built over the past two decades – and even despite the introduction of the inevitable SUV in 2015, Bentley still makes just as many Continentals as Bentaygas each day, at an average of 33.