Bentley Factory Tour: Crewe, England
Written by Kimatni D. Rawlins
It’s a typical day at the factory in Crewe where illustrious automobiles are manicured, engineered and styled with an artistic sensibility and hand-built temperament. Please, make yourself comfortable with the word “bespoke,” a form of intelligent individualization programming for the manifestation of anything from form-fitting suits to eye-opening car manufacturing processes. Visually internalize it, and Bentley will physically materialize it.
The tour begins with a historical recap of the British automaker’s well-distinguished history in a small, museum-themed atrium that houses a select group of culturally relevant vehicles representing Bentley’s brand heritage. Customers and media will witness the Brooklands race-day winning 1919-20 EXP2; the 120 mph 1952 R-Type Continental (the fastest 4-seat coupe in its day); or the current day Mulsanne flagship which requires 170 hours by artisans just to craft the bespoke interior. Next we move through the wood shop for a proper understanding of the timely journey and process taken from aging trees to beautiful veneers. For example, log hunters travel 500 miles a day looking for the finest walnut, maple and oak. It takes a total of four weeks simply to carve the bark into the veneer sheets that comprise the sumptuous Bentley cabin. Bull hides are then cut, outlined, stitched and treated with intense detail. Steering wheels are hand-stitched with the equivalent care a mother gives to her newborn.
Ostensibly, the resulting outcome is a chapter or two from the school of automotive artistry and poetry.