The Bacalar spearheads a new era at Bentley, in which it hopes its bodywork division, Mulliner, will lead a charge of customization to deliver ever more exclusive cars to customers (if the idea of ’more exclusivity ” does not sound like a far paradox either).
Mulliner claims to be the world’s oldest bodybuilder, starting around 500 years ago when he was a saddle maker. Her connection to Bentley dates back to 1923, when she exhibited a three-liter two-seater Bentley at the Olympia Show in London. But the bond grew stronger from 1952, when Mulliner built the R-Type Continental, before bodybuilders officially became part of Bentley in 1959.
Now Mulliner has three arms within Bentley: Classic (to recreate icons such as the Blower), Collections (where customers can specify unique customization options) and Coachbuilt (where Mulliner will build entirely different versions of production vehicles). . The Bacalar is of the latter.
Mulliner sees himself as more than just an offshoot of Bentley. Instead, he believes he can spur the development of the business, almost like a skunkworks department where new ideas are forged and tested quickly. As Omar Sheikh, Project Manager at Mulliner, says: “The advantage of bodywork is that we can turn around a project in a relatively short period of time. We can bring new innovations and technologies and test them in a very short period of time. If they are successful, they can be considered incorporated into future Bentley cars. “
It’s a two-way street. “If there is a future technology that we know will be implemented in four or five years, we can offer it on a smaller scale, at a higher unit cost, perhaps because its volume is weak, ”Sheikh adds. “But we can first showcase these features on the body to prove them, test them and see what the answer is.”
Take the rice husk used in the painting of Bacalar. Sustainability is a hot topic right now and Bentley is not immune – “With the arrival of younger customers into the Bentley brand, more sustainability is a big theme for us” – so the rice husk otherwise wasted is an effective solution for all parties involved. It’s unlikely to reach mass production just yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be possible in the future. Its use on the Bacalar gives Bentley the “opportunity to study whether these features can be made more efficient, and then move down to our main production line.”
So what does the future hold for us? In short, no more Mulliner. Performance is something they’re looking for, but Mulliner hasn’t had the capacity to engage in it yet. “With certifications and emissions, power increases are very difficult and expensive,” Sheikh explains.
Restores are on the radar, but right now you can’t take your S1 to have it restored; the hobby fan is actually a new car, not a rebuild. But others within the Volkswagen Group are doing restorations – Porsche is one – so there’s no reason to suspect that won’t happen here. Sheikh certainly sticks to the principle.
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This notice was published: 2021-05-02 05:01:23