Holly’s Bespoke Bentley
If you could be any Bentley, which one would YOU be?
By Holly Reich
How to Feel Good About A Big Purchase
An invitation to commission my own Bentley arrived by email. The Visionary Experience, “an innovative blend of art and technology,” was being held in conjunction with May’s International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in Manhattan.
I promptly called Corey Proffitt, Communications Manager at Bentley Motors, and booked a consultation. I’d had my eye on a certain shade of blue ever since I took a Bentley motoring trip in the Baltics (Latvia and Estonia) a few years back.
Location, location, location: The Bentley Studio was situated in the Meatpacking District, a trendy area on the lower west side of Manhattan. The district mixes old world charm (cobblestone streets and vintage brick buildings,) with chic bistros, art galleries and boutiques and amazing skylines of the Hudson River.
Upon entering the gallery, I was given an RFID card (wireless chip that stores information).
The Mood Stations
Flat screen computers displaying a rotating gallery of pictures were placed around the space. “These are meant to inspire you,” Proffitt explained.
Placing my RFID card above my desired image, I picked 20 images. My range of inspirations included handcrafted shoes, Pre-Raphaelite art, historic castles and water scenes.
Next stop was the Visionary Experience, the area in which to view your choices and discover your primary personality trait. I relaxed in a comfortable chair in front of a wall-sized screen, installed my card into a table and watched as my jumble of 20 images played and eventually converged on the screen. My personality? Serenity! (The other moods were Adrenaline and Legacy/Future).
Proffitt said that he had guessed I’d be serenity. Hahaha!! I told him that my family would get a good laugh out of that.
“This is the tactile follow up,” explained Nigel Ratcliffe, Bentley’s Exterior Designer from Crewe, England. “There are 1.4 billion configurations for the Bentley.”
This is where I had my pick of woods, leathers, metals, chromes, rugs, hand stitching and such. There were drawers of wood chips, skeins of luscious leathers hanging from a rack and pods of paint colors.
My choices? I picked the Bentley GT convertible in Breeze, that lovely shade of Caribbean water that I have been envisioning since the Baltics. For the interior, I chose bright aluminum with fiddle back wood, Breeze-colored leather seats with dark purplish stitching (Porpoise) and a contrasting Porpoise on the dash.
My other bespoke options included: 20” five spoke wheels with red brake calipers, a removable case to hold keys and pens made from veneers to match the interior of my Bentley, lamb’s wool rugs, neck warmers (embedded in the front seat headrests, they blow warm air on your neck), drilled pedals, and the specially tuned ‘Naim’ audio system.
The price Tag
Proffitt quoted a ballpark figure of $270,000.
Of course, I was eager to know what had been the most extreme bespoke combination ordered to date. Proffitt noted that one person fashioned a Bentley with Citric (yellow) on the outside, and a combination of Breeze and Damson (plum) on the inside. Too “out there” for me… I’ll stick with Breeze.