Lost In Translation

Crewe over-eggs the pudding.

(c) Autocar

Whilst the maker upon the end of this particular skewer cannot be held responsible for the quietening of the world, they’ve hardly brought anything positive to the table of late either. Values, like fashion and opinions, can change rapidly, and not always for the better. In a world obsessed by communication, attempting to shout louder than the rest is nothing unusual – though even with the volume up high, who’s listening?

Bentley, those Crewe based artisans who recently made me so covetous with their Flying Spur V.2 have failed me – convincingly too. Their new for 2020 Spur has been aided and abetted by Falsehood & Frippery PLC. Dimensions and garishness have grown. The verdant green eyes I poured onto the old Spur have now turned to a scarlet shade. My fists clench. And that’s merely on seeing the rear haunch.

Oh dear Lord, no! The new Spur. (c) Bentley motors.com

And then there’s the Mulsanne. Once the favourite of the landed gentry, the sporting gentleman, even the Northern carpet industry captain, this motor carried that air of sophistication that only such bolides made by Bentley and Rolls-Royce could carry off with aplomb. A favourite of my younger self, if only for the Top-Trumps card game connections; those engine sizes and power outputs could top almost anything in the 1970s and ‘80s.

Once again, the latest version has become an ostentatious and over-egged pudding. Chocolate cake alone can be quite indulgent; why the need to pour over a golden tinsel with an added deep, luxurious, velveteen sauce? Unnecessary – possibly nauseous. The sheer size of the machine could rival a canal barge, and although the car should handle far better than any water based craft, where does one drive this leviathan?

Should I get the chance to try one on my commute, the ‘Sanne may just need articulations in the chassis. I could have the corrugated section painted in a contrasting hue. Naturally, Bentley make a long wheelbase version too; to wit, a kitchen or shower room to fit in this extra space? Given enough money, it could be done. Though the frying smells would be the devil to eradicate from that leather and drainage would belittle your status to just above a caravan’s chemical loo. Still, the chauffeur/cook could sort that.

Sign around the corner reads “Only ONE Mulsanne at a time over bridge – by order”. (c) Bentley motors.com

But my main ire lies with this most recent manifestation called the Bacalar. Bentley’s most exclusive two-door is but a Continental GT that has been well and truly Mulliner-ed. Not content with twisting the dial beyond eleven, Mulliner can now offer three levels of over adornment: Classic, Collections and Coachbuilt, the latter evincing their fame.

A roofless Grand Tourer, handy for our world’s ever more inclement weather patterns, the Blaccar takes the Coachbuilt route, offering infinite possibilities. But when you’re purchasing one example of a mere dozen ever to be produced, one would demand the very best, whatever that may be, shouldn’t one? Did I mention the price tag? One and half million pounds.

Therefore, should the normal, everyday offerings of leather and knurled metal not be to your palette of taste one could probably ask for your arse to be seated upon woven bat wing. And for the privilege of driving around in something so arcane, dissuade the ne’er do wells who might wish to thieve from it by installing a shark tank in the glovebox.

Oh, and we’ll definitely have the rotating gauges surrounded by organic asteroid from the Pastiche Galaxy. One real world extra on offer is the river-wood from naturally fallen, five thousand year old trees from the Fenlands of East Anglia. Comes up a treat after a bit of elbow grease, apparently. Oh, and a bronze flying “B” badge. Not that you’ll ever see one of these Balacar’s on the road to the shops or sea-front. Firstly, all twelve have been sold and will no doubt end up in a luxurious lock up along with a handwritten entry upon the investment sheet.

Colour has always been a difficult choice for any purchaser and Bentley offer around three dozen hues for Mr or Mrs Normal. The Balaclava can be matched to anything Agent Oligarch should bring along. This one in Baby Sick, sorry, Flame Yellow is purely for show though one wonders if a discount was had for being shop soiled? If this car could be vandalised any more than it already is, will examples of Lady Penelope pink or I want mine as dark as my mistresses eyes lurk under a dust sheet, awaiting its only outing, back to Crewe for a service? I distinctly hope not.

In no way are my complaints hurled at those wonderful craftspeople residing in and around Cheshire for they have undoubtedly life skills that require as much nourishment as a typical Bentley hide. Watch any footage of Bentley production and the levels of detail are mightily impressive. But why have Bentley turned to the Dark Side, chasing and subsequently obtaining the kings ransom asked for such vile creations? When they sell but 12,000 cars per year in a market shifting 80 million plus, is Bentley Volkswagen’s loss leader?

The EXP 100. (c) Car Magazine

Stefan Sielaf’s fish out of water, the EXP100 I mention at the end for it was hideous. Look what sartorial extravagance and diet of fish food garners – a bloated and bedazzled basking shark. I guess someone thought it the bee’s knees and would’ve snapped it up but this, along with the Contin-, sorry, Bacalar really should have been kept quiet. A car to be whispered about amongst those with far more money than sense.

Listen up, Bentley: Out here in the real world, no-ones really listening.

Author: Andrew Miles

Beyond hope there lie dreams; after those, custard creams?

12 thoughts on “Lost In Translation”

  1. thank you Andrew, what a fine barrage of righteous invective,
    totally earned by those self-deluding chumps at Bentley.

  2. Good morning Andrew. You are absolutely right about the Bacalar. It is a hideous mess and those dark, moody photos don’t reveal just how awful it really is. It’s so disjointed too: everything aft of the A-pillar is bland and generic, whereas the front end is wildly overdone, like some really bad back street customiser was let loose on it.

    Here’s a couple of more revealing photos:

  3. And they want about £1.5m for the pleasure of buying one. That front section really is a riot of panels, curves and feature-lines working in perfect disharmony.

    1. I thought it looked pretty bad in the press photos, but my god does it look like a badly proportioned Max Power showcar when properly illuminated.
      I hope the nav comes with a built in danger to manifold warning, because this thing looks ready for some car park street racing!

  4. It is a well-known fact that the obscenely rich have no sense of taste whatsoever. Bentley clearly knows its market; it would be difficult to create anything more tasteless than this abomination.

  5. Always interesting to read your articles Andrew, thanks.
    About the yellow car, it looks to me like it has the “face” of a kit-car.
    And by that I don’t mean the classic replica ones, but those that look like…well nothing else you’ve ever seen or ever will.
    Are they ungly?
    If you ask me, the answer is a straight big YES. But then…I really can’t tell.
    I imagine their “makers” like them, or better still love them, or else why would they bother so much in making them. Is it just a lack of skills? Maybe, but I doubt it.
    I came to the conclusion that there is a hidden beauty in these man made machines that seem to be made fit for living in the lower depth of the oceans, along with the other strange creatures.
    And one of them is this yellow car.

  6. Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for your article. I was about to post a picture of the EXP100 the other day when we talked about grilles. For better or for worse I think it’s one of the only car where the grille blends in the headlights seamlessly because the same pattern is used throughout. That surely makes for an interesting front-end !

  7. I thought that rear shot of the yellow car was of a VW Arteon at first glance. The front end, in yellow, brings to mind the forward control Land Rovers from Judge Dredd.

    That Hyundai looks a bit like it could be a Porshe concept for the Panamera, perhaps from long before they made the Panamera. I don’t dislike it, but it does have strong hints of Porsche to me. Or maybe I have been in the sun for too long.

  8. We are told that the Hyundai Prophecy has a battery electric powertrain.

    A damn shame. It’s crying out for an air-cooled V8 slung out behind the rear axle…

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