Bentley Wants More One-Off Models In The Future
Prepare yourselves for a lot more of Mullinerby Kirby Garlitos, on
Just when it started to feel like we’d never run out of limited edition and one-off Bentley models, no less than the company’s own design chief Stefan Sielaff has come out saying that we should prepare ourselves for such a future. Apparently, “exploring more one-off, bespoke vehicles” is one of Sielaff’s primary goals now that he’s been named the man in charge of Bentley’s Mulliner division. In his own words, Sielaff said that he wants to “explore” more of these models, where the “only limitation is the imagination of the customer.”
Those who love them some limited-edition and one-off Bentleys should be thrilled about this declaration, in part because of how Mulliner has legitimately positioned itself as one of the best personalization divisions of any automaker in the business today. Recent releases like its collaboration with Bamford show what Mulliner is capable of, even though it has rarely ventured into the world of complete stand-alone one-off models the way brands like Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, and most notably, Lamborghini have in the past. But there’s still time to change that narrative and it appears that time has come for Bentley. We’ve seen what Mulliner can do by stamping its identity on existing Bentley models. Now we’re about to see what it’s made of when it’s given a blank slate and the opportunity to create something entirely unique from it.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
Exciting days are ahead for Bentley and Mulliner
We all know what Bentley and Mulliner are capable of when they decide to build a limited edition model. The proof is in the pudding, with beauties like the Bamford X Bentley Mulliner Mulsanne Speed, the Mulliner GQ Korea Flying Spur, and even the Mulliner Bentayga.
Note: photo of the Bentley Mulliner Bentayga
What we haven’t seen from these guys, though, is a complete one-off creation in the vein of what some of its rivals have done. Rolls-Royce, for example, just presented the Sweptail coupe at Villa d’Este a few months ago. Ferrari has even dipped its toes into this line of work, giving us a beauty like the 400 GTB Roadster-based J50. And let’s not forget about Bentley’s own sister company, Lamborghini. The Italian automaker has made a habit of developing super limited or one-off models with creations like the Veneno, the Sesto Elemento, the Centenario, and the completely one-of-a-kind Aventador J Speedster. For its part, the last model of this ilk Bentley created was the Continental GTZ, a collaborative creation with Zagato that was launched almost 10 years ago.
The time is ripe for Bentley to start building its own unique one-off models and with Sielaff making the decisions and Mulliner ready for the challenge, I expect these models to come sooner than later, maybe even one to arrive before the year ends.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at some of the finest special edition works that Bentley has created in recent years with the help of its noted personalization division.
Bamford X Bentley Mulliner Mulsanne Speed
Arguably the most exquisite of Bentley and Mulliner’s recent works is this evolutionary masterpiece. While it is technically a one-off already, the Bamford Mulsanne Speed retains most of the Mulsanne’s design characteristics so it’s not quite on the same aesthetic level as the Lamborghini Aventador J or the Ferrari J50, two cars that completely look different from the models that they were based on.
This Mulsanne though has some pretty unique features of its own, most notably the processes by which Mulliner achieved the shade of black that replicated the Swiss watchmaker’s own design language. That process was called Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD), which basically allowed Mulliner to darken sections of the Mulsanne that had stainless steel finishes in standard form. The resulting shade even had a name of its own – Darkware – that worked in tandem with the just-as-exclusive Beluga Black exterior paint finish that Mulliner specifically chose for this one-off creation.
Step inside the cabin and the interior work done on the Mulsanne was just as extensive, featured in full bloom by the use of Aqua Blue trim to complement the darkened look of the cabin. Mulliner also used generous amounts of premium leather, Alcantara, and carbon fiber on the cabin, the last of which even coming in the form of a watch holder located in the back seat compartment of the luxury limousine.
As far as one-off creations go, the Bamford X Bentley Mulliner Mulsanne Speed is the closest thing the British automaker has to a complete stand-alone, super exclusive unit.
Note: photo of the Bamford X Bentley Mulliner Mulsanne Speed.
Bentley Mulsanne Sinjari Edition
If we’re going to talk about Mulliner’s other limited edition creations, the Mulsanne Sinjari Edition deserves to be mentioned. It was introduced in September 2016 in limited quantities, all of which were earmarked for the Middle Eastern market. The SE’s name is a giveaway on the region it was heading because the model itself is inspired by the Sinjari falcon, one of the most majestic birds in the whole world that’s prominently found in the Middle East.
The car itself lived up to its billing, thanks in large part to it getting dressed up in an exclusive, two-tone Anthracite over Onyx paint finish. The SE Mulsanne also featured plenty of gold trim, an homage to the striking black and gold feathers of the Sinjari falcon. Look closer at the exterior of the car and you’ll notice a thin gold coachline running down the shoulder lines of the car. While you’re at it, it’s hard to miss the Mulsanne’s “Flying B” hood ornament, which received 24-karat gold plating, the first of its kind in Bentley’s long and illustrious history somewhat over-the-top special edition models.
Note: photo of the Bentley Mulsanne Sinjari Edition
Bentley Continental GT Speed Breitling Jet Team Series Limited Edition
Introduced all the way back in 2015, the Bentley Continental GT Speed Breitling Jet Team Series Limited Edition is as much a work of Mulliner as it is a special edition model that paid tribute to the Breitling Jet Team, the world’s largest professional civilian jet flight aerobatics team. It was a fitting tribute, too, since the limited edition Continental GT Speed was dressed up in the colors of the jet team – a Hallmark and Onyx two-tone paint finish that looked natural on the Continental GT Speed. The yellow pantone on the lower edges of the front splitter and side skirts also matched that of the jets used by the Breitling Jet Team.
Step inside and Mulliner’s imprint can be seen in full view. The whole cabin is dressed in a similar black-and-yellow theme. The leather seats are diamond-patterned and even the twin-cockpit instrument panel gets the same Breitling yellow treatment. In keeping with the theme of the car, the gauge faces are themed aeronautically and the carbon fiber dash fascia hosts an artwork depicting the Breitling jet team. Only seven units of the model were produced to represent the seven jets used by the team and to no one’s surprise, all seven units sold out about as fast as it takes these jets to go from 0 to 300 mph.
Note: photo of the Bentley Continental GT Speed Breitling Jet Team Series Limited Edition
Bentley Bentayga Fly Fishing by Mulliner
Another one of Mulliner’s one-off creations is this fly fishing-dedicated take on the Bentley Bentayga. The level of personalization attached to this SUV is most evident in the trunk where Mulliner put in a trunk-full of equipment specified for a fun day on the river. There are four rods available, each stored in special tubes trimmed in saddle-colored leather with Linen cross-stitching. There’s a pair of landing nets in matching leather bags stored in a carpet-trimmed hard pocket built into the side of the trunk.
There’s also a master tackle station, a refreshment case, and waterproof wader-stowage trunk, all trimmed in saddle leather. Move beyond the all the equipment and there’s also a separate food storage compartment. Need a place to stow your boots? No problem on that front either because there’s a hand-crafted, saddle leather-wrapped wood trunk. And just to be sure that no dirt and grime sticks to the Bentayga’s interior, Mulliner also added Waterproof boot-floor and rear-sill-protection covers.
You wanted personalization at the next level, right?
Note: photo of the Bentley Bentayga Fly Fishing by Mulliner
Read our full review on the Bentley Mulliner Bentayga.
Read our full review on the Bamford X Bentley Mulliner Mulsanne Speed.
Read our full review on the Bentley Mulsanne Sinjari Edition
Read our full review on the Bentley Continental GT Speed Breitling Jet Team Series Limited Edition
Read our full review on the Bentley Bentayga Fly Fishing by Mulliner