It's the first Flying B mascot to be deployed electronically.
Like the elegant Spirit of Ecstasy on Rolls-Royce models, the Bentley 'Flying B' hood mascot is one of the automotive world's ultimate symbols of opulence, exclusivity, and luxury. Bentley is now introducing the sixth iteration of this mascot since it first appeared in the mid-1920s.
As expected, great care has been taken to update the Flying B ornament while not straying too far from the previous design. After all, a staggering 97% of Bentley Flying Spur customers wanted the shiny mascot adorning their cars, and this particular clientele would be most perturbed if it wasn't recognizable.
The changes to the mascot apply to the new Flying Spur, and many firsts have been introduced for the new Flying B design which was chosen from an in-house design shortlist.
The mascot is cast as a single piece of 316 grade stainless steel. With its austenitic crystalline structure, it not only looks good to the eye but is also strong and can withstand extremes of temperature while also resisting corrosion. Before pre-assembly, this mascot - just a small component in what is a 5,000-pound sedan - takes a lengthy 11 weeks to manufacture. To put that into perspective, Tesla's Giga Texas factory builds around 17,600 Model Y crossovers in the same amount of time it takes to manufacture a single Bentley Flying B mascot.
The Flying B is hand-polished to a mirror finish, or a black gloss finish if you desire. Made using the investment (lost wax) casting process, this form of casting typically takes a long time but results in components with a better surface finish, thinner walls, and tighter tolerances than what can be achieved with sandblasting.
The 11-week process is extraordinarily intricate for such a small part and includes encasing the wax emblem in multiple layers of a fine ceramic solution, heating molten 316 stainless steel to over 2,900 degrees Fahrenheit, and several more steps before it is sent for hand polishing.
The latest mascot that comes equipped to the Flying Spur Mulliner is the first one with electronic deployment, the first with clear acrylic wings, the first to have a cover plate that replaces it when it's hidden, and the first one to be illuminated internally.
Automakers seem to be obsessed with showy welcoming light sequences these days, and the new Flying B's crystal wings illuminate when approaching the vehicle. Customers who order the standard Flying Spur sedan can equip the new mascot as an option.
Interestingly, an older version of the Flying B was discontinued in the 1970s when new regulations prohibited solid hood ornaments. In 2006, the Flying B made its comeback with a more basic retractable mechanism for the Azure and Brooklands models.
Today's Flying B mascot for the Flying Spur represents a new standard of design and technical precision.