Automotive

Lost 1939 Bentley Corniche recreated after 80 years for centenary celebrations

Lost 1939 Bentley Corniche rec...
Using only the original technical drawings, Mulliner (Bentley’s in-house bespoke and coachbuilding division), built his unique 1939 Corniche using original Corniche and MkV mechanical components and a completely re-made body, identical in every detail to the original
Using only the original technical drawings, Mulliner (Bentley’s in-house bespoke and coachbuilding division), built his unique 1939 Corniche using original Corniche and MkV mechanical components and a completely re-made body, identical in every detail to the original
View 9 Images
The 1939 Bentley Corniche - re-created from technical drawings 80 years after it was lost
1/9
The 1939 Bentley Corniche - re-created from technical drawings 80 years after it was lost
The project of re-creating an historic car naturally fell to Bentley's Mulliner division, which has been designing and building one-off cars for customers since the 1970s, including two State Limousines manufactured in 2002. As Mulliner’s first historic car project, the Corniche has demonstrated the full breadth of the division’s coachbuilding and restoration skills and capabilities
2/9
The project of re-creating an historic car naturally fell to Bentley's Mulliner division, which has been designing and building one-off cars for customers since the 1970s, including two State Limousines manufactured in 2002. As Mulliner’s first historic car project, the Corniche has demonstrated the full breadth of the division’s coachbuilding and restoration skills and capabilities
The original 1939 Corniche prototype was lost in France in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. It was extensively damaged in a traffic accident whilst undergoing road tests in France in August 1939. Sent for repairs, the chassis made it home to the Bentley plant in Derby, but the bodywork was destroyed in a bombing raid on Dieppe later in 1939 and was never seen again
3/9
The original 1939 Corniche prototype was lost in France in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. It was extensively damaged in a traffic accident whilst undergoing road tests in France in August 1939. Sent for repairs, the chassis made it home to the Bentley plant in Derby, but the bodywork was destroyed in a bombing raid on Dieppe later in 1939 and was never seen again
The original 1939 Corniche prototype was lost in France in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. It was extensively damaged in a traffic accident whilst undergoing road tests in France in August 1939. Sent for repairs, the chassis made it home to the Bentley plant in Derby, but the bodywork was destroyed in a bombing raid on Dieppe later in 1939 and was never seen again
4/9
The original 1939 Corniche prototype was lost in France in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. It was extensively damaged in a traffic accident whilst undergoing road tests in France in August 1939. Sent for repairs, the chassis made it home to the Bentley plant in Derby, but the bodywork was destroyed in a bombing raid on Dieppe later in 1939 and was never seen again
Using only the original technical drawings, Mulliner (Bentley’s in-house bespoke and coachbuilding division), built his unique 1939 Corniche using original Corniche and MkV mechanical components and a completely re-made body, identical in every detail to the original
5/9
Using only the original technical drawings, Mulliner (Bentley’s in-house bespoke and coachbuilding division), built his unique 1939 Corniche using original Corniche and MkV mechanical components and a completely re-made body, identical in every detail to the original
The Corniche's body was created from the outline drawings given to the project by the family of the car’s original designer, George Paulin
6/9
The Corniche's body was created from the outline drawings given to the project by the family of the car’s original designer, George Paulin
The Mulsanne body-in-white team, where panels are still hand-formed, helped with final detailed finessing of panels; the paint laboratory spent many hours producing color samples of the main body color of Imperial Maroon and the side flash of Heather Grey from the limited descriptions available; Head of Interior Design Darren Day and his team produced CAD designs for the seats and door trims derived from detailed historical research; and the Mulliner trim team worked from the designs to create a period-appropriate interior in typical Vanvooren style, using the correct Connolly Vaumol hide, West of England cloth and the carpet from a roll discovered stored away on site
7/9
The Mulsanne body-in-white team, where panels are still hand-formed, helped with final detailed finessing of panels; the paint laboratory spent many hours producing color samples of the main body color of Imperial Maroon and the side flash of Heather Grey from the limited descriptions available; Head of Interior Design Darren Day and his team produced CAD designs for the seats and door trims derived from detailed historical research; and the Mulliner trim team worked from the designs to create a period-appropriate interior in typical Vanvooren style, using the correct Connolly Vaumol hide, West of England cloth and the carpet from a roll discovered stored away on site
In the Mulliner workshop, Master Carpenter Gary Bedson devised a steam booth to allow him to bend sections of wood for the interior window surrounds, often spending over an hour wreathed in steam just to attain a few degrees more curvature. Other team members worked hard to recreate the front grille, using CAD to analyze airflow and design each individual slat, which were then hand-formed by skilled metalworkers over a period of three months
8/9
In the Mulliner workshop, Master Carpenter Gary Bedson devised a steam booth to allow him to bend sections of wood for the interior window surrounds, often spending over an hour wreathed in steam just to attain a few degrees more curvature. Other team members worked hard to recreate the front grille, using CAD to analyze airflow and design each individual slat, which were then hand-formed by skilled metalworkers over a period of three months
Every aspect of the project received Mulliner attention. From the special paint mixes – named Imperial Maroon and Heather Grey – to the unique interior trim, the accessories such as the tool tray and even the Mulliner tread plates on the door shuts were created from scratch
9/9
Every aspect of the project received Mulliner attention. From the special paint mixes – named Imperial Maroon and Heather Grey – to the unique interior trim, the accessories such as the tool tray and even the Mulliner tread plates on the door shuts were created from scratch

Bentley has recreated an important car design from its past that was lost during the bombing of France during the outbreak of WW2. The 1939 Bentley Corniche is the missing link in the history of Bentley's most important models, connecting the fabled Embiricos 4¼ Litre and post-war R Type Continental.

The Corniche was conceived to be a high performance version of the then new MkV saloon due to be launched in October 1939, inspired by a sporting Bentley commissioned by Greek racer André Embiricos based on the old 4¼ Litre chassis. The Embiricos Bentley was styled by talented designer Georges Paulin at French coachbuilder Carrosserie Pourtout.

The project of re-creating an historic car naturally fell to Bentley's Mulliner division, which has been designing and building one-off cars for customers since the 1970s, including two State Limousines manufactured in 2002. As Mulliner’s first historic car project, the Corniche has demonstrated the full breadth of the division’s coachbuilding and restoration skills and capabilities
The project of re-creating an historic car naturally fell to Bentley's Mulliner division, which has been designing and building one-off cars for customers since the 1970s, including two State Limousines manufactured in 2002. As Mulliner’s first historic car project, the Corniche has demonstrated the full breadth of the division’s coachbuilding and restoration skills and capabilities

The Corniche was given a lightweight chassis, built from thinner-than-standard gauge steel, fitted with a tuned version of the MkV engine matched to an overdrive gearbox created to suit. The Corniche was built as a collaboration between Bentley and third parties such as Georges Paulin, the French car designer who designed the bodywork, and Carrosserie Vanvooren in Paris who made the bodywork.

The Corniche was completed in May 1939 and tests at the banked high-speed Brooklands race circuit saw it achieve well over 100 mph (160 km/h), far faster than the standard MkV.

The original 1939 Corniche prototype was lost in France in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. It was extensively damaged in a traffic accident whilst undergoing road tests in France in August 1939. Sent for repairs, the chassis made it home to the Bentley plant in Derby, but the bodywork was destroyed in a bombing raid on Dieppe later in 1939 and was never seen again
The original 1939 Corniche prototype was lost in France in 1939 at the outbreak of World War II. It was extensively damaged in a traffic accident whilst undergoing road tests in France in August 1939. Sent for repairs, the chassis made it home to the Bentley plant in Derby, but the bodywork was destroyed in a bombing raid on Dieppe later in 1939 and was never seen again

The Corniche was then sent to France for road testing, but in July 1939 it was damaged by a bus and returned to Vanvooren for repairs and body improvements. When completed, on August 8, it was collected by a Bentley test driver, who headed straight for the Bentley depot at Chateauroux where the testing was based. It was as he neared the HQ that a car pulled in front of the Corniche, causing the Bentley test driver to swerve and hit a tree. The car rolled onto its side, causing extensive damage.

The Corniche was due to be displayed at the Earls Court and Paris motor shows later that year, so there was no time to lose. The body was removed from the chassis, and the chassis returned to Crewe, while the body went to a local repair shop in France.

The Corniche body was eventually completed in France, and transported to Dieppe to be shipped home. However, an administration error at the docks caused a delay, and while the Corniche body was stored waiting to be shipped it was destroyed when Dieppe was heavily bombed.

The 1939 Bentley Corniche - re-created from technical drawings 80 years after it was lost
The 1939 Bentley Corniche - re-created from technical drawings 80 years after it was lost

The 1939 Bentley Corniche was re-created by coachbuilders Mulliner, and will be first shown at Salon Privé in September, joining Bentley's heritage fleet for display at events and exhibitions around the world to celebrate the company's centenary. In addition to the extraordinarily beautiful 1939 Corniche, Bentley's Heritage fleet includes WO Bentley's 8 Litre and the Birkin Team Blower Bentley.

Bentley's 100th anniversary was actually last month on July 10, 2019, and a year-long series of special activities have have already begun, with celebrations continuing at events around the world.

Source: Bentley

0 comments
There are no comments. Be the first!