Bentley Will Sell You a Rock-Lined Interior
Because every duke wants to upholster his Conti GT like a cave.
Let’s get this joke out of the way: Yes, Bentleys are very heavy and yes, they will now be made of stone. Or, at least, trimmed in the stuff. This coming year, buyers (procurers?) of Bentley’s Continental GT and Continental Flying Spur will be able to spec their cars with slate and quartzite veneers hand-selected from quarries in India. The stone from the quarries is around 200 million years old, roughly as aged as the average Bentley customer’s family fortune.
For all hilarity of a stone interior—not since the likes of Fred Flintstone!—the veneers themselves, at just .1 millimeter thick, will add negligible weight to the 5,000-lb Bentleys. It’s basically the width of a human hair. That leaves the finishes feather-light and translucent, all the better to show off the grains and mica specks of the rock.
Mulliner, Bentley’s bespoke program under which the igneous interior will be rolled out, has a proud tradition of manipulating the world’s trees and hides into some of the most luxurious and exclusive cabins in the world. It’s via Mulliner that a customer may request a different stitching pattern, or wood from a popular that grew in the backyard of his childhood home. For a price, we’re almost certain Mulliner would upholster a Bentley in human hide—just don’t ask about the sourcing. With stone, the merry band of craftspeople is extending its skill to another material, and the results look as posh and perfect as ever.
In an episode of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, a vexed nurse dating a wealthy CEO reacts to a pair of gilded sneakers she sees on his desk. To quote: Oh, gold shoes. My nephew just joined the Marines to try to pay for college, but that’s fun. That first sentiment—what will the super rich think up next in order to entertain each other—is valid. One class is between a rock and a hard place, another between a .1 mm quartz veneer and a layer of tufted leather. On the other hand, the work that Bentley and Mulliner does is so beautiful that is hews closer to art than excess.
Until the Sanders Administration clips the wings of the .1%, gutting the market for such semiprecious fripperies, we’ll be dreaming slate-ornamented dreams.