Remember the Continental GTZ from over a decade ago?
Bespoke coachbuilding projects are big business for automakers. Ferrari has enjoyed considerable success with its Special Projects division, while the likes of Lamborghini, McLaren and Rolls-Royce have created some memorable one-off models commissioned by some extremely wealthy customers in recent years. Take the swanky Roll-Royce Sweeptail unveiled at this year's Concorso d'Eleganza at Villa d'Este, for example. It sold for a staggering $12.2 million making it one of the most expensive new cars ever built.
Aside from the bespoke Mulsanne Limo revealed last year in Geneva and the Continental GTZ designed in collaboration with Zagato over a decade ago, Bentley hasn't built many one-off commissions - but that's about to change. Bentley recently appointed Director of Design Stefan Sielaffto to oversee its in-house coachbuilder Mulliner as chief-designer, who is looking to add more one-off creations to Bentley's portfolio. "The possibilities with Mulliner are essentially endless – there is nothing our skilled coachbuilders cannot achieve," said Sielaff. "I want to explore more one-off, bespoke vehicles where the only limitation is the imagination of the customer.
Design and personal commissioning will go hand-in-hand and when that is the case, extraordinary things happen." Case in point: the Mulsanne Grand Limousine stretched three feet more than the already gigantic Mulsanne to extend the total number of seats to six. Sielaffto has worked with Bentley since 2015, after moving from Volkswagen where he ran the design center in Potsdam. "Exquisite styling and the ability to bring our customers' visions to life has always made Bentley unique," said Bentley chairman Wolfgang Dürheimer. "Now, with Stefan Sielaff leading both teams, I am certain Mulliner will benefit strongly from his design leadership."