Anyone who has ever gotten behind the wheel a Bentley knows that the name comes with undeniable cachet.
The black quilted leather, carbon fiber and the shiny chrome aren’t the only signals that you’re in the presence of motoring magnificence. Everywhere you drive, people remind you by stopping and staring at your ride with a mixture of envy and admiration. However, it’s that torque, that beautiful, powerful torque that tends to have a transformative effect on first-time Bentley drivers. Floor the gas pedal, and you’re probably hitting 60 mph in just under four seconds with a top speed of over 200 mph. It’s enough to put you in the back of your seat.
The point is, you feel different when you drive a Bentley. It inspires confidence and maybe even a sort of fearlessness. And that my friends, is why the British luxury automaker has been around for so long — 100 years long, in fact.
This year, Bentley is celebrating its Centenary with a range of special events, brand collaborations and new product releases. In fact, they just announced their long-awaited zero-emissions concept car, Bentley EXP 100 GT, on the company’s official 100th birthday — today. In what the brand is calling “a physical embodiment of the future Bentley brand,” the Bentley EXP 100 GT represents the perfect blend of technology and craftsmanship. The zero emissions car has up to a predicted 700km range, and is fully autonomous, although it can be driven when one wishes to enjoy the thrill of driving.
From extraordinary drives, to fabulous festivals, sophisticated parties and illustrious motor shows, Bentley drivers, enthusiasts and those who are simply curious to know more about the Bentley story have already been enjoying Centenary celebrations around the world. In America, you still have your chance to take part in the special festivities at Monterey Car Week, August 15-18, 2019. If you can’t make it to Monterey Car Week? Don’t fret. You can always try to snag your own limited edition copy of the brand’s new book, brought to life in a collaboration with luxury book publisher, Opus.
We take a closer look.
A Rich Heritage
Over nine chapters and 800 pages, the book takes readers on a journey from the splendid Le Mans victories of the 1920s to iconic models of the past, through the renaissance of a new generation of Grand Tourers and the craftsmanship and rarity values of limited edition models. It also brings into focus the future of the Bentley brand as it spearheads the drive into the next 100 years of development and innovation. The extraordinary cars, people and achievements that have built the Bentley brand over its first 100 remarkable years will also be the key to future success.
As the official publishers of all three editions of the Bentley Centenary Book, Opus has been given exclusive access to the designers, engineers and visionaries shaping the future of the UK’s leading luxury car company.
Beginning with an introduction by fashion icon Ralph Lauren, in nine compelling chapters the story of Bentley Motors features a foreword from a friend of the brand who is an expert in that field. Subjects include core Bentley values such as Performance, Design, Rarity and Craftsmanship, as well as Innovation and Extraordinary Customers.
The final chapter, The Future, is from our chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark, who is taking Bentley into its next exhilarating century.
“Part of what defines luxury is responding to people’s needs for achievement, self-expression and reward, in whatever field they operate,” he says. “Bentley’s customers of the future will value elements such as tradition, heritage and craftsmanship and innovation. But above all, I believe they will continue to enjoy the thrill of driving.”
At almost a meter-wide when opened and weighing approximately 30 kilos, the Bentley Centenary Opus is much more than a coffee table book. Indeed it is the biggest book ever produced on the story of an automotive brand.
Then There Were Three
Available in three distinct versions – the Mulliner, the Centenary and the 100 Carat limited editions – these will be confined to an exclusive print run of 100 copies worldwide for Mulliner, 500 copies worldwide for Centenary, and just seven for 100 Carat – to reflect the rarity, collectible value and long-term investment that the book embodies.
Created, printed and hand-bound by master binders in England, the book utilises leather hides from the same sources as those used in Bentley models, while the Bentley Wings badge that adorns the front cover is an official hand-crafted badge, the same as those used on every Centenary model. Owners will be able to choose their own Bentley hide colour for the front cover of their edition.
Between the covers the content features never-seen-before imagery, rare historical content and photography exclusive to the Bentley Opus, with special gatefold pages measuring two metres across.
Highlights of the Mulliner edition include iconic giant 20in x 24in Polaroid Portraits to showcase 10 landmark Bentleys – the first time the world’s largest polaroid camera has been used to photograph automobiles – and a collection of 56 Bentley model watercolours commissioned exclusively for the Bentley Opus project and individually painted on silk paper.
A piece of Bentley racing history completes the edition with a section of competition Michelin rubber crafted from the ‘front left’ raced-used tyre taken from the 24-hour Le Mans-winning Speed 8 of 2003. This historic element will be inlaid into the inside cover of the Mulliner clamshell presentation case.
One very special feature is the ‘tailor-made’ bespoke option. Owners can have their own photographs included on special bespoke pages within their Bentley Opus edition. Being part of the Centenary story – unique in publishing – means that owners can ensure their own cars and treasured memories are included in the story. The Mulliner edition owners can also request their own cherished Bentley models cars to be photographed by Opus for inclusion on their own editions. Another unique personalisation option offers owners the choice of having their names gilded in gold or silver onto the cover of their edition if they wish.
The third version of the book, the exquisite 100 Carat edition, offers the ultimate in embellishment and decoration, adorned with 100 carats of diamonds and limited to an exclusive issue of seven – one for each continent. The iconic Wings badge is set in a choice of white gold or platinum to enhance the stunning diamond border.
Mulliner Edition – 100 copies: £12,500 per copy
Centenary Edition – 500 copies: £3,000 per copy
100 Carat Edition – 7 copies: £200,000 per copy