66 Magazine Issue 3 Spring 2018 - Page 65

“A lot of requests are quite standard in their own way, so we have a Personal Commissioning Guide that details what can be achieved relatively simply,” says Lanzi. “Cocktail cabinets and secure storage units are common requests, as are exterior paint matches; either to the owner’s existing vehicle fleet or to a particular cherished item. Recently Mulliner matched the shade of a vehicle to the colour of its owner’s handbag, for example.” Perhaps that last request isn’t so strange. There’s plenty of leather inside every Bentley, after all. How much, exactly? Trimming the interior of a Continental GT takes approximately 10 bull hides. A Bentayga requires approximately 13. The Mulsanne? No less than 16. And I should point out that the hides I’m shown by way of an ‘average’ are about the same span as a New Zealand-spec ranch slider. How appropriate. Only bull hides are used (no stretch-marks, see?) and even then, only bulls from high altitudes are chosen due to the lesser risk of mosquito bites in the mountains of Scandinavia and Southern Germany. Barbed-wire fencing on the supplying properties is a no-no too, for obvious reasons. After the hides arrive from Mastrotto in Italy, where they are preserved and dyed, the leather is meticulously checked for defects Above left Polishing the woodwork to exacting standards is a revered skill in the Bentley factory. Above Noel Thompson holds his famous fork, making stitch perforations in a semi-completed steering wheel rim. Below centre This intricate pattern requires 712 stitches per diamond. Below right Expert industrial sewing is a massive part of the operation. Below left While traditions are valued, Bentley incorporates as much automation as many other manufacturers. 66 MagAzine SPRING 2018 63