Bentley's Design team is offering a rare opportunity to take a glimpse inside the secret world of their studios and follow the development of a Bentley from the first sketch through to the moment it sweeps through the factory gates.
'An Unbroken Line' is a new exhibition at Bentley's Crewe headquarters in England that follows the story behind the creation of the latest Bentleys including the Continental GT and Mulsanne. Many of the first drawings for the Continental GT, including early concepts from the studio archives, are being shown publicly for the first time.
The designers offer a step-by-step guide to how the interior and exterior styles take shape both through computer virtualization and full-scale clay models.
They also provide an insight into how they employ state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques such as aluminum superforming, adapted from the aerospace industry, to shape the metal into the complex lines that define the new Continental GT. As well as capturing the modern Bentley design process, the exhibition also captures key moments of the company's lineage, and the unbroken line of signature characteristics that define a Bentley to this day.
Whether it is the particular shape and positioning of the headlights, the use of inverted needles on the dashboard or the pronounced 'powerlines' that sweep down the flanks of the car - the language of design comes to life.
The exhibition also highlights the lighter side of factory life with some design folklore. The slightly strange world of 'Teddy Bear Ears,' the 'Bentley Bat Cave' and 'Dame Ednas' are explained, and there is also the opportunity to see how the designers have turned their hand to creating beautiful and bespoke accessories with partners like Breitling and Tibaldi.
At the heart of the exhibition, illustrating the art of designers both past and present, are some of the finest examples of the cars that have made Bentley famous for over 90 years.
The new Continental GT and Mulsanne line-up alongside some classic and rare Bentley's including Woolf Barnato's exquisite 1930 'Blue Train' Speed Six Coupe, which was shipped in from America. The car is renowned for its sleek and revolutionary Gurney Nutting coachwork and is also famous for winning one of the most intriguing wagers in motoring history when Barnato, a Le Mans-winning driver, drove to London from the south of France before his friend reached Calais on 'Le Train Bleu.'
'An Unbroken Line' will be based at Bentley's Headquarters in Crewe throughout 2011.