Bentley’s billion ways to be different


Written byAdam Tonkin

To own a Bentley is a truly rich and rewarding experience only eclipsed by designing your own unique Mulliner styling specification. The Mulliner name can be traced back to the 16th Century although more recently is connected with that of Walter Owen Bentley.

Bentley commissioned Mulliner to design the body of the EXP1. Then in 1952 he drew upon the rich history and experience of Mulliner to commission the revolutionary 1952 R-Type Continental.

Since that time Mulliner has formed an integral function within Bentley, providing a tailored customisation service that accentuates the true essence of owning a commissioned Bentley. The marketing pitch of having your Bentley viewed in a museum in years to come is certainly not lost on this crowd.

When commissioning a Bentley, there are effectively two levels. The Mulliner for owners who truly want to design a one-off creation and Bentley’s bespoke creation, which offers 120 exterior colours for customers to choose from.

There are also 17 standard colours of leather for the interior trim, and 12 types of veneer and metal trims that include carbon fibre and aluminium.

David Fearnley, Lead Interior Designer for Bentley Mulliner, said “with this level of bespoke modification available to customers, the factory (Bentley Motors, Crewe UK) could build the Mulsanne until the end of the century and never build two the same.”

The experience of purchasing a brand new luxury car can be exciting, yet daunting. With the customer often thousands of miles away or on another continent the design brief must be meticulously expressed and visualised by a factory taking extra time for that attention to detail. This ‘tyranny of distance’ can make the brief more difficult when adding specific customer requests to a one-off project.

As a result the process can leave owners feeling detached from the decision making process, leaving dealership staff to convey detailed concepts and colours that are only realised once your creation arrives on the dealership floor.

Enter the Bentley Studio. A unique software package, which attempts to bridge the gap between the customer, the dealership and the factory, when designing a new Continental GT, Flying Spur of Mulsanne.

Recently launched in Shanghai, New York and the 2015 Australian Formula One Grand Prix, invited guests had the opportunity to experience the integrated ‘mood board’ which provides the framework of a customer’s personalised design based on a selection of images centered around Adrenaline, Serenity, Heritage and Future styles or a charismatic blend of all four.

Your ‘Mood Board’ footprint will help simplify the customisation process which includes exterior colours, to soft and hard interior trims.

The ‘Studio’ goes one step further to remove the guess work by providing customers with a real opportunity to engage with the 1.3 billion possible Bentley Mulliner combination that until now have been impossible.

The result provides the Mulliner designer at the factory with a detailed brief of your personality and creative flair which combines textures and a colour palette that is linked directly to you and your emotions.

Daniel Khoo, Director of Operations for Bentley Motors in Asia Pacific said, “For the moment, the time from order to delivery in Australia is around six months, although a more unique customized car can take longer.”

“Many of our customers fully understand that a hand-built, ultra-luxury car, with bespoke features, is as much a work of art as a car and this of course takes time, and experienced craftsmen and women, to complete.” continued Daniel Khoo.

‘Hidden Delights’ is another Mulliner initiative that adds a simple yet dynamic flair to an already luxurious interior by offering rich tones in different hides and textures that are hidden away until the compartments within the interior are opened.

The Mulliner styling specification is an indivdualised extension of an owner’s creativity and emotion. This is highlighted by Bentley’s true craftsmanship with the only restriction being the limit of a customer’s imagination.

The colour of your shoe, tie or lipstick can be matched perfectly with samples sent from the factory to the dealership for your final approval.

This level of sophisticated bespoke personalisation ensures that customers are able to stand apart, be unique and happy with every small conceivable detail as their vision turns into reality.

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