The grand tourer represents a return to the brand’s roots of hand-built tradition
Bentley Mulliner just returned to its hand-built-car roots with the US$1.8 million (S$2.58 million) Bacalar. The Bacalar marks a return to the company’s coachbuilding tradition, a practice largely lost since the ’50s, which will see all its bespoke capabilities poured into the making the 12 limited-edition vehicles. Originally set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show – cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic – six examples were built to showcase the wide range of customisation options and high level of craftsmanship.
To understand how coach building fits into Bentley Mulliner’s current model, it’s broken its vehicles into three categories: “Classic” reinterprets vintage models in a more contemporary mould; “Collection” tweaks existing designs to suit customer tastes and; the pinnacle, “Coachbuilt” signifies vehicles built to bespoke specifications in extremely limited quantities.
“We didn’t jump into doing Coachbuilt,” Bentley’s design director Stefan Sielaff told Forbes. “We could feel our customers wanted something that is more special and exclusive.” And exclusive is exactly what the Bacalar is. Special new technology was used to fabricate every one-off design, like rigid, safe carbon-fibre panelling unlike that found on any other Bentley, something which would have been impossible otherwise.
Each element is carefully selected from a handful of trusted purveyors that can meet the company’s strict standards. For example, the luxurious two-seater cockpit featuring the automaker’s iconic diamond-stitched pattern in its leather upholstery also has a dashboard made from 5,000-year-old hardwood sourced from bogs in the UK. The wood has a naturally dark finish and is treated to preserve the unique look. Even the seat inserts are made from fine wool created by a British textile mill especially for the project. But the final look will be up to the customer.
There’s a high chance that you’ll have to forgo seeing the vehicle in person, but the team has created a digital 360-degree tour so everyone can get a sense of the unique driving experience.