Bentley introduces three new models for their Mulliner line
Bentley Mulliner has just released its new three-portfolio offering at this year’s Salon Privé, UK's most exclusive motor show and summer event. This year, Bentley debuted the new coachbuilt Bacalar and the new Continental GT Mulliner coupe, along with a sneak preview of the partly restored 1929 4½-Liter supercharged ‘Blower’ Team Car.
Mulliner is Bentley’s in-house bespoke and personal commissioning division, now operating on a trio of portfolios to deliver exceptional craftsmanship across the Bentley model range, and well beyond.
“Mulliner has a rich history and expertise spanning centuries of coachbuilding. These qualities of fine craftsmanship and visionary design are still evident in Mulliner’s latest products. Mulliner’s mission is to respond to the requirements of the most discerning Bentley customers, providing iconic and unforgettable bespoke Bentleys," Bentley’s Chairman and Chief Executive, Adrian Hallmark, comments.
"The three examples at Salon Privé demonstrate how traditional coachbuilding can be reflected through contemporary techniques, sustainable materials and shows Bentley's design capabilities like no other luxury car manufacturer today.”
Restoration of an Icon
For many car enthusiasts, the iconic ‘Blower’ Bentley is the racing Bentley of the pre-war years, forever tied with the image of its legendary driver, the dashing Bentley Boy, Sir Henry (Tim) Birkin.
The Bentley Mulliner Classic portfolio was introduced last year with the announcement at Salon Privé 2019 that Bentley’s 1929 Team Blower was to be reborn with a new build of 12 supercharged 4½-liter examples of the iconic car, each individually and painstakingly handcrafted by a team of specialists from Mulliner. By using generations of craftsmanship skills, combined with the very latest digital technology, the 1929 Team Blower has provided a master example for 12 continuations: one for each race that the original fleet of four Team Blowers competed in.
Team Car No.2 was carefully disassembled and stripped down to its individual components, with each part cataloged and meticulously scanned in 3D to create a complete digital model of the entire car. Using the original 1920s molds and tooling jigs, and an array of traditional hand tools alongside the latest manufacturing technology, 12 sets of replicas are now being created, before Bentley’s skilled heritage technicians start to assemble the new Blowers. Needless to say, all 12 replicas have already been sold.
“The scanning of every component has taken many months and has provided us with some really interesting discoveries. Team Car No.2 went through a restoration in the 1950’s where sadly, some parts had to be removed and replaced with new. When we were taking apart the front seats to understand the construction and its materials, we found a business card dated 1956 from the trimmer who had worked on the car. The card had been tucked inside a small purpose made secret pocket within one of the seat flutes - a true time capsule. This is something we would love to re-create with one of our business cards to continue that tradition," Glyn Davies, Special Projects Leader at Bentley’s Mulliner division comments.
"Further investigation also revealed that the chassis of the Bentley Blower was not symmetrical. “Without modern car building techniques, the engineers would have struggled to build a chassis which was perfectly symmetrical. We will be restoring Team Car No.2 to exactly how it would have been, but we will be building our 12 recreation cars to be perfectly symmetrical - there is no benefit or advantage to an asymmetrical chassis!”
The Bentley Mulliner Bacalar is the rarest two-door Bentley of the modern era, and is undoubtedly the ultimate expression of two-seat, open-air luxury. The car made its public debut at this year's Salon Privé.
This definitive Grand Tourer spearheads Bentley Mulliner's return to coachbuilding, Mulliner being the oldest coachbuilder in the world. There will only be 12 samples of this striking, limited edition mode, guaranteeing rarity and exclusivity, and offering supreme luxury, opulence, and breathtaking performance. Each model will be handcrafted in Bentley Mulliner’s workshop in Crewe, according to the individual customer’s personal tastes. The Bacalar is the first car to be created as part of Bentley Mulliner’s new Coachbuilt portfolio.
The Mulliner Bacalar sports a roofless Barchetta design with all-new and highly muscular coachwork, Combining a variety of options and materials, each Bacalar will be different from the other, the result of direct interaction between the Bentley Mulliner design team and the individual customer's unique specifications. "A masterpiece of craftsmanship, the Bacalar is a seamless fusion of materials with an intelligent curation of technology," sahres Bentley in their press release. "It draws on design DNA from the beautifully sculpted, award-winning EXP 100 GT which was recently crowned ‘Most Beautiful Concept Car of the Year’ at the prestigious French Festival Automobile International and ‘Concept Car of the Year’ by GQ magazine. All examples of the exquisite Bentley Mulliner Bacalar have already been allocated to customers from around the world."
Ultimate Luxury Grand Tourers
The third part of the portfolio is the Bentley Mulliner Collections, which will continue to offer customers the best of the absolute best of the core Bentley range, such as the new Continental GT Mulliner Coupe, as well as the opportunity for customers to personalize their new Bentley.
The Continental GT Mulliner Coupe includes a wide array of exclusive exterior design features. The car boasts new and unique 22” Mulliner wheels, equipped with an elegant bespoke design and a polished finish. Much like all Rolls Royce vehicles, the center badge of each wheel is self-levelling, keeping the iconic Bentley ‘B’ upright at all times.
The new ‘Double Diamond’ matrix grille at the front of the vehicle defines the new Mulliner's signature style, perfectly complemented by matching front fender vents continuing the same silver and black theme, along with chromed Mulliner branding. As soon as you approach either door, you will be greeted with the other Mulliner design features, namely Satin Silver mirror caps with Mulliner Welcome Lamps beneath, and illuminated outer door sills with Mulliner text.
The cabin of the Continental GT Mulliner, much like other Mulliner vehicles, is one defined by luxury, and showcases a level of choice and customization that only Mulliner can provide. A unique duo-tone color split is exclusive to the car, with a new combination of primary and secondary hide joined by a third color through a flowing design line.
The Mulliner Driving Specification is fitted as standard, bringing the exclusive “Diamond in Diamond” quilting to the seats, doors trims and rear quarter panels, now with both contrast and accent stitching running through the diamonds design.
The plush, leather seats themselves are finished with embroidered Mulliner logos, and the floor mats are edged with micro-piping to match the rest of the color theme of the interior and chrome Bentley ‘B’ retention caps are an example of the fine details that separate the Continental GT Mulliner.
The center console is fitted with a new diamond milled finish that uses precision machining to form a perfect pattern of facets, flanked either side by Grand Black walnut veneer with chrome overlays. A one of a kind Breitling clock sits in the center of the console, adding an air of elegance to the already luxurious interior.
Bentley Returns to Live Events
"Bentley has been widely recognized for its leading role in the UK automotive industry during the COVID-19 crisis. The introduction of 250 changes to the company’s headquarters and factory in Crewe meant that production could restart safely and effectively, and has since reached 100% capacity," shares Bentley in a statement. Bentley is carrying over the same meticulous and careful approach to all succeeding Bentley’s live events program, starting with Salon Privé.
Thorough and comprehensive measures being taken by the event organizers including temperature checks for all attendees before being admitted into the premises, and a five-times-daily schedule of fogging with hypochlorous acid; a non-toxic and proven COVID-19-destroying disinfectant.
Aside from that, the Bentley Mulliner stand requires all staff members and guests to don face masks at all times, along with a full track-and-trace system. The event has been choreographed in a way that visitors are automatically socially-distanced from staff, and not able to enter the cars on display, while a one-way system ensures that socially distancing between guests is easy to maintain. Hand sanitizer is readily available to everyone and the stand and its cars are being constantly cleaned by a dedicated team.
Photo/s from Bentley