Mulliner Recreates Long-Lost 1939 Bentley Corniche From The Ground Up

Bentley’s Mulliner department has re-created the 1939 Corniche which was originally lost in a wartime bombing raid in France.

The original car was lost in 1939, at the outbreak of World War II. The Corniche was extensively damaged in a traffic accident whilst undergoing road tests. Although the chassis made it home at the Bentley plant in Derby, the bodywork was destroyed in a bombing raid on Dieppe.

The Bentley Corniche is considered the missing link between the company’s Embiricos 4¼ Litre and R Type Continental and was conceived as a high-performance version of the MkV saloon.

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The project was originally started in 2001 by volunteers of the WO Bentley Memorial Foundation and the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation but it was brought in-house in February 2018. Bentley boss Adrian Hallmark asked Mulliner to finish the project in 2019 in order to participate in the car maker’s centenary celebrations.

Body panels were hand-formed by Mulliner’s specialists, while the paint laboratory spent many hours producing color samples of the original Imperial Maroon and the side flash of Heather Grey from the limited descriptions available.

The interior design team produced CAD designs for the seats and door trims following an extensive historical research, while the trim team used the period-correct Connolly Vaumol hide, West of England cloth and the carpet from a roll discovered stored away on site.

Mulliner’s master carpenter devised a steam booth in order to be able to bend sections of wood for the interior window surrounds. The front grille was recreated using CAD for its design and it was then hand-formed by metalworkers over a period of three months.

The original 1939 Bentley Corniche was privately commissioned by Greek racer André Embiricos, who wanted a sporting Bentley based on the old 4¼ Litre chassis. The body was penned by Georges Paulin and built by French coachbuilder Pourtout.

The recreated Bentley Corniche will make its public debut at Salon Privé in September and then will join the company’s heritage fleet.

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