Report: Bentley Could Restart Coachbuilding Operations

Bentley may restart a decades-old practice and reinvigorate its coachbuilding programs. Bentley sales and marketing chief Kevin Rose told Autocar the company could once again allow customers to pick a custom body to apply to a standard Bentley chassis and engine.

“If you go back to Bentley’s early days, we built chassis which customers then took and said, ‘I want this bodywork on top.” It was haute couture for cars and I love that idea,” Rose told Autocar.

The idea is reportedly for the Bentley Mulliner customization division to offer an even wider variety of options. The Bentley Muslanne 95 (pictured), created in a batch of just 95 to celebrate the company’s 95th anniversary, is an example of current customization efforts. While Bentley cars already come with exhaustive lists of options, a coachbuilding program could extend that idea even farther.

“We’re interested in the concept and what it might mean,” Rose told Autocar, noting such an idea is aimed at customers for whom, “cost wouldn’t be an issue.”

The idea actually harkens back to some of Bentley’s earliest road cars, which had their engine and chassis assembled by Bentley but bodywork crafted by company subsidiary Mulliner Park Ward. Several other high-end automakers offer similar services, including Aston Martin Q and McLaren Special Operations (MSO).

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