As Bentley enters its 100th year, the luxury British carmaker’s Mulliner division is marking the occasion in a way of which founder Walter Owen Bentley would most surely have approved: by creating an extremely rare and exquisitely crafted car.
The Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner is inspired by W.O. Bentley’s own car, the Bentley 8 Litre. Launched in 1930, it was W.O. Bentley’s final creation – and it is widely considered to be his finest. His largest and most luxurious ‘town carriage’, it was guaranteed to be capable of at least 100 mph, whatever kind of body the customer chose.
W.O.’s car was the second 8 Litre off the production line and became his personal mode of transport. He was forced to sell his beloved car in 1931, and was reacquired by Bentley Motors in 2006. It has become a symbolic company car for each successive CEO of the company, preserving a tradition that goes back to the company’s founder.
With a production run limited to just 100 cars, the new limited edition Mulsanne provides an opportunity to own a priceless piece of Bentley’s story. A single car is available for purchase in Malaysia at RM1,800,000 (without taxes and duties), and will be on display at the Bentley Kuala Lumpur showroom until it is purchased. Before you bring out that chequebook, here are some things you should know about this unique collector’s item.
A piece of history
The Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner isn’t just inspired by W.O. Bentley’s own 8 Litre – it even contains a part of it. Twenty years ago, the crankshaft of W.O.’s car reached the end of its natural life and had to be replaced. The Mulliner engineers were amazed to discover that it used incredibly similar materials, engineering and production processes to the Bentley crankshafts made today.
To commemorate Bentley’s centenary last year, this defining piece of the company’s engineering heritage was carefully cut into 100 sections for display in the new Mulliner cars. Each finished piece is proudly displayed between the two rear seats, visible through a window in the veneered tray of the bespoke drinks’ cabinet. With no two sections the same, every car is truly unique.
The power and glamour of a golden era
W.O. built his car at a pivotal moment in history, as he and his fellow racing drivers were part of a generation whose youth had been overshadowed by WW1. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Bentley Boys and Girls, as his drivers came to be called, made up for lost time by living exuberant, hedonistic lives.
Cars and motor racing were fundamental to this thrill-seeking lifestyle, and Bentley flourished as a result. The Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner is infused with the spirit of this exhilarating era, with elements such as a metallic bonnet strip, heritage hides and a carefully curated selection of deep, rich colours. But it also delivers all the advantages of the 21st century Mulsanne, providing phenomenal power alongside the very last word in comfort. It’s a combination of which the Bentley Boys and Girls would most definitely have approved.
Highest attention to details
Originally, the Mulliner family were saddlers and later began making carriages for horse-drawn vehicles before moving into the exciting new world of automobiles towards the end of the 19th century. The details they have endowed the new car with are simply astounding, and need to be seen to be believed.
The veneer panelling surrounding crankshaft takes five days and four types of wood to craft, while aluminium creates the highlights, WO’s signature and geometric pattern. The car’s leather seats, beautifully stitched, is complemented by lambswool rugs, glass tumblers, privacy curtains to the rear doors and a rear-seat entertainment system.
WO’s signature badge is discreetly displayed on the lower bumper, while centenary badging adorns the self-levelling wheel centres and door treadplates. The car is completed in a stunning Onyx colour, a chrome bonnet strip and the Flying B mascot atop the chrome radiator.
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