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Bentley marks 100 years with W.O. Edition by Mulliner

by Ben Hsu

Each car will feature a piece of the founder\'s original ride.

To celebrate 100 years as a company, Bentley is releasing a series of limited edition cars leading up to the anniversary date on July 10, 2019. The first of them the Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner, has been revealed.

As the name implies, the luxury sedan pays homage to the automaker's founder, Walter Owen Bentley. W.O.'s final design for the company that bore his name was a black, short-wheelbase 1930 Bentley 8 Litre with a coachbuilt body by H.J. Mulliner, which he used as his personal car.

The Mulsanne W.O. Edition by Mulliner will feature design cues from the 1930s, the centerpiece of which is an art-deco illuminated cocktail cabinet by Mulliner. Located between the two rear seats, the cabinet door opens to reveal marquetry of W.O.'s 1930 8 Litre and an embedded piece of the very crankshaft from the founder's car.

You see, W.O. had to sell his car in 1931, but in 2006 Bentley bought it back. It underwent what the company calls a "sympathetic restoration," and as part of it the crankshaft was removed. An accompanying video would have you believe the part was archived in vast warehouse like the one from Raiders of the Lost Ark. For the W.O. Edition, Bentley took the part a sliced it into 100 pieces — one for each W.O. Edition produced — and put it in the cabinet door along with a little plaque.

The rest of the interior is finished in a dark red the company calls Fireglow, with swaths of "Beluga hide" (hopefully not from the real whale), lambswool rugs, and walnut veneer. W.O. Bentley's signature can be found in the seat stitching, bumper badge, and dash. Meanwhile, self-leveling center caps of the wheels mark the company's 100 centenary.

The production version will be shown to the public for the first time at Monterey Car Week August 24.