Bentley Motors is all set to celebrate its incredible 100-year journey in the world of motoring in 2019. In a fitting homage to its founder, WO Bentley, Bentley Motors is launching the Mulsanne W.O. Edition, a new and very special limited edition series of its Mulsanne range. While customer deliveries are scheduled to begin only next year, this exclusive car will make its debut in public at the Monterey Car Week in California this August. With plenty of features added by Bentley’s resident personalization expert, Mulliner, the Mulsanne W.O. Edition will be limited to a mere 100 units, giving it a definite spot in the most sought-after collectors’ items. What makes this car truly historic is because of what’s inside it – an original piece of the crankshaft from W.O. Bentley’s personal 8 Litre car – the last model he designed for Bentley, 88 years ago.
Based on preference, the Mulsanne W.O Edition can be customised on any of the three models from Bentley’s Mulsanne range namely the standard Mulsanne, Mulsanne Speed and Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase. Some of the car’s most decisive features include sophisticated Beluga black wheels, split-colour interiors cut from heritage hide emulating the glaze of vintage cars, and a gorgeous cocktail cabinet featuring a part of the founder’s personal 8 Litre crankshaft embedded into the armrest.
The Mulsanne W.O Edition is mainly inspired by the 8 Litre that was W.O Bentley’s final masterpiece. Since it was launched just before the Wall Street crash of 1929, the company only managed to manufacture 100 units of this extraordinary car. Widely considered to be W.O Bentley’s pièce de résistance, he once said of it, “I have always wanted to produce a dead silent 100 mph car, and now I think that we have done it.” The power and torque of the straight-six engine was so strong that the company eventually declared that the 8 Litre would be efficient enough of 100mph, irrespective of the type of body the owner selected.
The second 8 Litre off the production line, originally registered GK 706, became W.O Bentley’s personal vehicle. HJ Mulliner was appointed to create a saloon body on the 12-foot, short-wheelbase chassis. Unfortunately, he was forced to sell his treasured car during the Great Depression of 1931. However, after 75 years in 2006, Bentley Motors bought the car, restored it, and replaced the original crankshaft, the pieces of which are evocatively showcased in each of the 100 new Mulsanne W.O. editions.
The founder’s personal 8 Litre is proudly exhibited at the Bentley factory in Crewe, England. Every time a new CEO joins Bentley Motors, he is handed the key to the car on the first day of work.
Mulliner’s exquisite craftsmanship is equally evident in the car’s exterior. Though Bentley has clearly stated that if you’re buying the Mulsanne W.O, you can select the colour of your choice from its extensive palette, the showpiece car however, is finished in a luxurious black onyx.
To highlight its special edition status, the Mulsanne W.O has added an exclusive badging on the bumper and another centenary badging on the door sill tread plates and the self-levelling wheel centers. The chrome bonnet and a Flying B mascot elegantly adorn the optional chrome radiator shell and grille.
Moving on to the car’s interior, Mulliner’s expert touches are unmistakable here. Inspired by the opulent lifestyle of the 1930s, the interior of the Muslanne W.O Edition is deeply influenced by the 8 Litre, one of the most iconic cars from the golden era of England’s motorcar history. The cynosure of the cabin is the illuminated cocktail cabinet. The wooden inlay on the handcrafted cabinet depicts a geometric front matrix grille and headlight of the original 8 Litre revealing a display window inside which sits a slice of the crankshaft from W.O Bentley’s beloved 8 Litre, with an inscription describing its significance.
Apart from its contemporary feel, there is a border with diamond shapes, lending a hint of Art Deco to the interior. The minor gauge panel, steering wheel rim and other areas have been done in Dark Stain Burr Walnut veneer. Blind-stitching and Beluga hide detailing enrich the interior colour split made from luxurious Fireglow Heritage and Fireglow Hide. A rear-seat entertainment system, privacy curtains, crystal tumblers and plush lambswool rugs add to its extravagance.
100 years ago, when W.O Bentley started Bentley Motors, his objective was simple. It was, “To build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class”. This principle has been ‘driving’ the brand ever since. The Mulsanne W.O Edition is testimony to Bentley’s cutting-edge innovation and consistent craftsmanship. A true heritage car indeed!