Bentley has been helping to define high-end motoring for very close to a hundred years. Their new, limited Mulsanne W.O. is just around the corner to usher in the centenary.
Founder Walter Owen Bentley established the car company in 1919, and in short order was giving Brits with deep pockets a luxury car choice beyond Rolls-Royce.
Between the two—if you’re lucky enough to be in the position to choose—Bentley has always been considered the slightly less stodgy, edgier, more youthful selection when a high-end British conveyance is being considered. Associated with the racing-minded ‘Bentley Boys’, the brand embodied the brash joie de vivre of adventure until 1931, when the depression rendered it insolvent and a triumphant Rolls-Royce took ownership.
Still, the image stuck fast. If a Rolls is in its natural element in Chelsea, a Bentley is dreamily imagined in the context of a weekend trip through the Lake District. It is just that sort of image of the young aristocrat—grown up a little, perhaps—that Bentley has manipulated so very well since finally leaving the Rolls nest in the 1990’s to strike out on its own once again. And the Mulsanne W.O. manages to balance that historical relevance and youthful optimism very well.
Details helping to sell the 100 examples earmarked for production—one for every year of Bentley’s existence—include a piece of the crankshaft from Walter’s Owen’s own 8-Litre model displayed in the cocktail case. With marquetry accents, of course.
W.O.’s 8-Litre design is also evoked in the Fireglow red upholstery and walnut accents. Lambswool foot mats, a set of crystal tumblers, Bentley Centenary plaques, and an onyx finish complete the look. Customers may customize according to taste, however.
Look for the W.O. Mulsanne at Pebble Beach in August.