Review

Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner

by staff writer JP

Inside each of the 100 limited edition Mulsannes, a slice of the original crankshaft taken from W.O. Bentley’s personal 8 Litre car is displayed

Bentley Motors has released a very special limited edition Mulsanne. The W.O. Edition pays homage to the founding father of the company, Walter Owen Bentley, MBE. The last model he designed for Bentley Motors back in 1930 and incorporating a genuine piece of Bentley history in every car. As Bentley approaches its centenary in 2019, Mulliner designers reflected on the last 99 years of an extraordinary British automotive story to imagine the new Mulsanne W.O. Edition. In doing so, they have created a truly unique collector’s item.

The Mulsanne W.O. Edition can be specified on any of the Mulsanne range, based on customer preference. Key features include a colour split interior cut from Heritage Hide reflecting the patina of vintage cars, elegant Beluga black wheels, and a stunning cocktail cabinet or bottle cooler featuring a slice of W.O.’s own 8 Litre crankshaft set into the armrest.

The interior displays a range of exquisite features inspired by luxury living in the 1930s – key to which is the Mulliner illuminated cocktail cabinet. A marquetry scene on the handcrafted unit – depicting the geometric front matrix grille and headlight of the 8 Litre. Inside is a display window, which a piece of the crankshaft from W.O. Bentley’s own 8 Litre car is showcased. Just below the machined metal display case is an inscription detailing the significance of the Bentley artefact.

An interior colour split made from luxurious Fireglow Heritage and Fireglow hide is complemented further by Beluga hide detailing and blind stitching. Dark Stain Burr Walnut veneer extends to the minor gauge panel, steering wheel rim and other areas. The Mulsanne is finished with lambswool rugs, glass tumblers, privacy curtains to the rear doors, and a rear seat entertainment system.

The Mulsanne W.O. Edition further enhances its formidable road presence if specified in the black Onyx paintwork. A chrome bonnet strip and graceful Flying B Mascot sit atop the radiator shell and grille. A discreet W.O. Bentley signature badge is displayed on the lower bumper, while centenary badging adorns the self-levelling wheel centres and door tread plates.

The Bentley 8 Litre – the last car designed By W.O.

The 8 Litre was described as W.O. Bentley’s finest grand tourer. Launched in 1930, it was also the last car he personally designed for Bentley Motors. It was the largest and most luxurious Bentley of its time, featuring the most powerful engine of any car available in Britain – a 7,983cc straight six that offered remarkable performance. Originally registered GK 706, W.O.’s was the second 8 Litre off the production line and became his personal transport. He commissioned H.J. Mulliner to build a saloon body on the 12-foot, short-wheelbase chassis. W.O. was then forced to sell his beloved car in 1931.

"I have always wanted to produce a dead silent 100mph car, and now I think we have done it"
W.O. Bentley, Founder of Bentley Motors Limited

It was bought back by Bentley Motors in 2006, when the car then underwent a sympathetic restoration, including replacing the original crankshaft, slices of which are now being symbolically installed in the new Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner. W.O.’s 8 Litre has since become a symbolic company car for each successive Bentley CEO, preserving a tradition that dates back to the company founder. It is now a focal point in the Bentley Motors Lineage Exhibition, situated at company headquarters in Crewe, England.

In 1919, Bentley created a company with a simple objective: to build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class. This guiding principle has driven Bentley ever since, pushing the brand forward and making it the leader in automotive luxury around the world today. 2018 marks the start of Bentley’s 100th year and the countdown to the brand’s centenary in 2019. This extraordinary milestone – reached by only a special few companies – will be a cause for celebration of the company’s history and its global success today.