New Bentley Models
CREWE, ENGLAND. THE BEAUTIFUL BRICKWORK OF VICTORIAN FACTORIES. AN INTRICATE NETWORK OF CANALS AND RAILWAY LINES SUGGESTING THE CONGESTED TRAFFIC OF BYGONE ERAS.
The industrial revolution. The Second World War. Leafy suburbs give way to open countryside. And suddenly you’re there. Welcome to Pyms Lane, home of Bentley Motors, proud guardians of the Flying “B”.
You’re struck, first of all, by the quiet. Then the scent of freshly cut leather mingling with hardwoods freshly sawn. So imperceptibly slow is its forward momentum you have to be told that this is the assembly line. Shapes emerge like sculptures partly formed. You make out the gracious lines of a new Arnage, the exciting thrust of a Continental body. Here and there in the cathedral-like spaces small clusters of green-clad engineers pour over the gleaming contours of a new Azure or a Continental GTC.
You witness the moment a new Bentley is born as a distinguishing red metal plate bearing the signature of the engine assembly team leader is attached to a hand-built engine. In Bentley Mulliner, next door to the main facility, engineers and craftspeople are fitting with infinite care bespoke interior appointments to the interior of an Arnage RL limousine.
Then the history. The historic 3-litre ‘Exp.No. 2, the second Bentley built; the magnificent 4 - litre ‘Blower’ that raced at Le Mans in 1930; the iconic R Type Continental and S1 Continental Flying Spur, the Le Mans Trophies past and present. - The legend comes alive.
- It takes 150 hours to hand-build a Continental GT and 400 hours to build an Arnage
- Every single component of a Bentley is filed on computer in minute detail and can be tracked back through each stage of its development
- Veneers are both book and mirror matched to create perfect symmetry either side of a Bentley's centreline
- Every piece of glass in a Bentley is given its final polish with finely powdered pumice normally used to polish optical lenses
- Lacquer-spraying robots in the Paint Shop are programmed to simulate a human sprayer on his best day
- Steering wheels are doubled stitched by hand using two needles simultaneously; the process is far too complicated for a machine. It takes 15 hours work to create one steering wheel
- A full set of leather for a Bentley is selected and cut at the same time, so that there is as little variation in texture as possible
- The trimming of each Continental GT uses 135 metres of thread, the equivalent of 28 Continental GT back to back, 1.3 football pitches or the height of the “London Eye”