Think of the phrase 'handmade' and you may instantly be transported to a slightly dusty shed, conjuring up images of an old man working over a lathe with wood chippings surrounding his feet. But at Bentley the meaning of the word 'handmade' couldn't be more different.
JAN 05th 2017
Gallery: Inside Bentley's astonishing factory
Since splitting from Rolls-Royce when Bentley was purchased by Volkswagen (the RR name went to BMW) there has been significant investment in the famous British luxury carmaker's Crewe HQ. Out has gone the old, more industrial and rough-hewn facilities, replaced by state-of-the-art, ultra-clean premises. Still situated in the same history-filled buildings, but transformed into a masterpiece of clean efficiency.
But, despite the incredible new surrounds Bentley still prides itself on retaining the decades of knowledge and quality it gained through its astonishing history. Painstaking man-hours go into every facet of a Bentley, from the several hours one employee spends stitching the steering wheel for a Continental GT, to the men who's entire job it is to select and dismiss the leather hides used for the upholstery in a Bentayga.
Earlier this year, GRR was fortunate enough to head up to Crewe for a guided tour of the factory with Nigel Lofkin, who has been working at the factory for 35 years first as a Coach Trimmer, before eventually working his way up to becoming the man who hosts customers as they see their cars being made at the factory. We took photographer Tom Shaxson with us to capture the sights and sounds (if only we could bring you the smells) of the factory.
In the gallery above you'll see our adventure in full. From the full body-in-white beginnings of the Mulsanne, through the astonishing array of customisation available on the inside (you can even have the wood veneers replaced with stone!) to the assembly of the engines. Cool fact: the engine for the Mulsanne is assembled entirely by hand by one man!
Photography by Tom Shaxson.
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