If you’re like me, you’ve come to find that most Bentleys are, you know, just a bit too chintzy for your tastes. Sure, they’ll use either 18 or zero cows for the interior, but those are usually uneducated rural cows, without any real refinement. You demand something better, something deeper, richer, something that calls upon nearly half a millennia of coachbuilding experience to make something truly special.
And Bentley has done just that, with the new Bacalar, their new open-top touring car that they’ve already sold out of the dozen cars they’re going to build. So, you know, tough shit, poors.
The big news, I suppose, about this absurdly expensive (the cost is somewhere between the cost of a Kia Forte and a life-size statue of Ellen Barkin made of saffron, gold, rubies, and the collected paintings of Mark/ Rothko, puréed—about £1.5millon ($3 million) two-door is that it marks the “return to coachbuilding by Bentley Mulliner,” who is the world’s oldest coachbuilding firm, having started in 1559, though the coachbuilding part didn’t really take off until 1760, when they got the contract to build coaches for the Royal Mail.
Rolls-Royce bought this glorified mail-wagon maker (I’m kidding) in 1959, and in the more recent past the Mulliner name has just been essentially a trim level for Bentleys with custom interiors—now, though, it looks like they’re getting back into the full coachbuilding business.
Let’s talk a bit about the coachbuilt part of this thing. It’s based on the Continental GTC, which, at $US192,000 ($290,988) or so, is a hell of a lot cheaper than the Bacalar, so you know the body must be pretty special.
The fenders at both ends are carbon fibre, and it seems have creases and folds that would not be possible in stamped metal. The lighting is all unique to the Bacalar, with the taillights being especially dimensional and textured.
The front fascia and bumper treatment is interesting, with the amount of perforations in the lower bumper and air dam now so numerous and large that the effect isn’t so much grilles inset into a bumper, but rather some thin struts and strakes of body wrapping around some mesh intakes.
The strangest thing may be the interior, which is really only half an interior, since there’s no roof at all for this thing. That’s right, almost two million dollars worth of car, and you don’t get any kind of roof. Not even a freaking canvas folding top.
I guess maybe JC Whitney may make some fibreglass hardtops you could affix with a handful of metal screws?
Oh, if you’re a big fan of buttons, the interior has plenty of those, all black and close together, for you to enjoy:
This no-top bullshit is even more insane when you hear about the absurdly opulent interior materials Bentley is using in this thing: something called “Riverwood” that is 5,000 year-old wood, for example. And not just any 5,000 year-old wood. Get this:
Around 5,000 years ago, an ancient high forest once stood inside the Fenland Basin in England’s East Anglia region. Over time and due to a rise in sea level, these spectacular oak trees fell into the silt of the flooded forest where they have been preserved ever since in the peat.
This black ‘treasure’ lay undiscovered until 2012 when experts found a 13-metre long giant log from that forest. Milled and dried, the wood has an aesthetic naturally occurring open grain, knots and cracks that make it perfect material to infuse with metals such as recycled copper – adding stability to an otherwise ‘flawed’ piece of wood.
Or, special British wool, like you’d find on suits that cost more than replacement kidneys, and leathers and black titanium, and all that other crap.
All that, and no roof.
Ugh, these fucking no-limits cars: why are they all so stupid? This thing is a 650 horsepower, 12-cylinder, beast painted with rice-husk-ash pigment paint that nobody is ever really going to use, at all.
Like all these cars, it’s far too precious and expensive to really drive beyond some token trips to car shows, and as such I just can’t be bothered to really give a shit.
Congratulations, Bentley. Once again, you’ve proven that if you blend up a shitload of money and some ice cream, you get a lovely, incredibly expensive milkshake you can’t actually drink.
Thanks for the reminder. You 12 kings or whoever who bought these things, I hope you really enjoy storing the hell out of them in your garages.