Combing The Hair Underwater Again, Are We?

Among the numerous small obsessions nurtured, nay, incubated at DTW is a concern for brightwork. Here’s another example of the art:

2016 BMW 425d DLO garnish

The car is a BMW 425d, complete with the rather supernumerary, superfluous and unnecessary label in the rearmost sideglass. Isn’t that the kind of thing you’d expect of a lesser marque in the 1980s? (Prizes for finding the kind of thing I have in mind). We’ve reflected on brightwork here (very good) and here (interesting) here (shocking, frankly) and here (a bit technical but ultimately rewarding) but not here (more people need to read that one). At this point, readers might be wonder when we are going to get to the point.

That point-getting is now: the BMW’s tasteful satin brightwork is one (1) piece of material all the way from the base of the A-pillar to the lower curl of the Hofmeister kink. Now consider that Bentley didn’t manage to do that on a car costing at least three times as much. They used two cuts just to navigate the C-pillar.


Yes, really.

Bentley used the same solution on the 2003 Continental GT as is found on cars costing a quarter of the BMW (assuming you specced the BMW with electric windows, a radio, rubber mats and interior courtesy lights). Another thing is to realise how impressive that feat is. It must be a pretty awkward item to handle during production and during assembly.

Is there a robot to put this piece on, using a jig and some little rubber cups? Is the item packed very carefully? I bet it is. Imagine all that effort and care nullified by the Grand Sport label in the rear quarter light.

[The photo shows a 2002 Bentley Continental R by Mulliner and not the successor car which is much less satisfying to behold. Is it really 15 years since the mighty Mulliner was on sale and new?]


Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

9 thoughts on “Combing The Hair Underwater Again, Are We?”

  1. BMW are quite good at this. The current 7 series, for all its flaws and shortcomings, also boasts significantly ‘more expensive’ looking brightwork than the Continental GT. The trouble is that there’s just too much of the stuff on the Seven.

  2. There are window stickers, and then there are window stickers. One of these days I need to write a piece about the Polarizer.

  3. Whether one uses a one-piece trim rather depends on the door design itself and how it’s integrated into the roof, I’d say. Some designs require brightwork at the door tops themselves because the doors are taller. Acura TLX comes to mind.

    In the case of the 428iX, in which I spent 20 minutes boinging around on the back seat due to an underdamped suspension allowing huge suspension movements over small bumps, while my backside was tortured by the half-inch thick foam over park-bench wooden seats, I couldn’t have cared less about the applique. Hardest rear seats ever, un BMW-like suspension. They need to fix the obvious flaws, then worry about the trim. Just saying.

    Just looked after a 2006 BMW 325Xi for two weeks while a brother and his SO spent two weeks in the UK. Her car. Lovely six cylinder smooth engine, great suspension. The contrast to today’s lease special BMWs couldn’t be more obvious and invidious. I don’t drive trim, I drive cars.

    1. My point is that things like trim are signals of quality (and potentially, lies). Evidently the car doesn’t provide dynamic proof of the trim’s suggestions.
      Also, BMW and others can do better work in this area than Bentley did. It’s more a critique of Bentley than much praise for Bee Em Vee. So, turning it around, would you *expect* a Bentley to have the same sort of finish as a mass-market car?

  4. “Isn’t that the kind of thing you’d expect of a lesser marque in the 1980s?”

    Renault Alpine V6 GTA ?

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