Bentley Mulsanne Grand Limousine by Mulliner

Posted in Bentley, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Notorious with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

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The iconic Bentley motorcar needs no dramatic rhetorical preface. It’s the ultra-luxury saloon for the enthusiast or connoisseur who desires to maintain a low profile. Each is a highly bespoke automotive masterpiece. The elite Bentley Mulsanne is the company flagship designed for discerning clientele that demands high-performance without sacrificing luxury. So…what about the aristocrat that wants even more? Enter stage right…Mulsanne Grand Limousine. This contemporary coachbuilt saloon is Bentley’s magnum opus –

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Bespoke…is Bentley, the two are synonymous. This is why one will never see two exactly alike. Natural materials and the skill of the coachbuilder yields a superlative among superlatives. Mulliner, Bentley’s in-house personal commissioning division works with the client to create a motorcar of distinction that is as unique as one’s own fingerprints.

The Mulsanne Grand Limousine is handbuilt by Mulliner in the grand tradition of this eminent coachbuilder. Unlike traditional “stretch” conversions, Mulliner designed the Grand Limousine to preserve the Mulsanne’s aesthetic purity. This is the longest manufacturer-built limousine in the world. Here’s another one-up for “Big Ben” against you-know-who…

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This resplendent custom crafted limousine retains its beauty as a Mulsanne saloon. Its added dimensions are cleverly built into the architecture. The 39.4” extension to the Mulsanne’s length is discretely added into the bodyshell using a custom crafted panel at the “B” pillars. The rear doors are enlarged to accommodate easier entry and exit to the passenger cabin.

Headroom has been increased by a 3.1” addition into the roof structure. The long, low, sweeping silhouette of the Mulsanne adapted beautifully to the transformation. Nothing appears added-on or out-of-place. The achievement of Mulliner’s coachcrafting makes the Mulsanne Grand Limousine look balanced and well-proportioned with poised dignity from any angle.

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Technology unobtrusively makes itself available to the posh rear passenger suite. The elegant inner world of the Mulsanne Grand Limousine spans beyond polished metal, supple hides, and hand finished veneers. There are many bespoke digital features to bring all the amenities of home to this very special saloon. There’s an intercom system to communicate with the driver. A unique electrochromic “Smart Glass” partition separating the rear suite from the driver’s compartment converts from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button.

The HVAC heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system designed and built by Mulliner enables each rear seat occupant to control their own temperature setting. With the highly bespoke nature of this distinguished saloon, there are myriad on-board computer and communication configurations available to fashion a rolling boardroom for the executive who must work while traveling.

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As far as comfort and convenience…the rear passenger suite houses four of the most desirable seats in the entire industry. The Mulsanne Grand Limousine rivals the luxury of a guest suite at the Burj Al Arab – the rear suite evokes serenity from the outside world with the richness of materials, contrast of color, and harmony of surfaces to provide tactile and visual stimulation. Ultra-exclusive aviation-inspired seating allows passengers to converse face to face. Each lounge seat is electrically controlled to adjust to each occupant’s desired setting; they are also heated and cooled.

There are crystal flutes and a wine bottle cooler located between the front facing seats. Between the rear facing seats is a soft drink cabinet with bespoke crystal tumblers. Mulliner Coachbuilders offers the exercise of choice. This decadently luxurious new offering is available to suit its owner. In order to create a new benchmark for the brand, Mulliner widened choices to infinity making the process of commissioning a most rewarding experience…just as Henry Jervis Mulliner (1870-1967), founder of the esteemed coachbuilding firm, intended it to be –

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The Mulsanne Grand Limousine is powered as no other limousine on the road today. Mulliner re-engineered the powertrain, transmission, chassis, and suspension to accommodate the longest ultra-luxury manufacturer-built saloon in the world. The formidable 6.8 litre aluminium twin-turbocharged V8 engine produces 530 hp with an astounding 1,100 Nm of peak torque to move this magnificent motorcar with aplomb. The chassis and suspension components are refined to withstand the added weight and high torque output of the high performance powerplant.

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The Mulliner coachbuilt Mulsanne Grand Limousine is a splendid highly bespoke motorcar. The pleasure of owning such a magnificent example of Mulliner automotive art is reveling in the fact that no other ultra-luxury saloon on the planet will ever be exactly the same…not even another Mulsanne Grand Limousine. For decades, Bentley is renowned for engineering and design excellence, exemplary craftsmanship, and quality led by a visionary approach.

These are the qualities one is entitled to expect of a Bentley motorcar. From the iconic flying “B” mascot engraved with the words “Coachbuilt by Mulliner” through the extraordinary coachcrafted bodywork…the Mulsanne Grand Limousine is the epitome of grandeur and elegance escalating the Bentley brand to new heights in exclusivity and supremacy in ultra-luxury motoring…a new era has begun –

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Photos courtesy Bentley Media

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2002 Bentley State Limousine for Queen Elizabeth II

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Bentley Grand Convertible Concept

Posted in Bentley, Editorials, Exotic Exotics, Notorious with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

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The pinnacle of open air motoring is a consummate blend of spirited performance, advanced engineering, exemplary fit & finish…and of course – sultry good looks. The ultimate expression of open grand tourers is the Bentley Grand Convertible. This elegant concept model is based upon the ultra-luxurious Bentley Mulsanne saloon.

It predicts the future of handcrafted convertibles built in the grand Bentley tradition of resplendence. Should the Grand Convertible go into production, it will be hand-built at a highly restricted pace to retain exclusivity. The Grand Convertible is the most sophisticated open grand tourer ever created by Bentley –

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The Grand Convertible is a showcase of Bentley superlatives. An elegant 2+2 seating configuration augments its sporty character. Exquisite diamond quilting is used for the naturally tanned hides covering the seats and door panels. Book-matched mirror finish dark stained walnut veneers are patiently crafted by hand to span the fascia, door capping garnish rails, and tonneau lavishly. It is unique in every aspect…rich and rare –

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The Bentley Grand Convertible is endowed with exhilarating performance just as its Mulsanne counterpart. The legendary aluminium 6.8 litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine eminently qualifies the Grand convertible to cruise the horizon with an astounding 530 hp range of power. It packs a prolific punch with 1,100 Nm of torque.

Enormous power, effortless performance combined with luxury and elegance…makes it the grandest of the open grand tourers. Here’s “Big Ben” in its most avant-garde configuration. Rhapsodizing over the wind in your hair and the open road ahead is inarguably the most convincing factors to own this resplendent example of Bentley engineering prowess.

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Should the Grand Convertible enter production phase…it will be an automatic contender for the most desirable car in the world status. After all…it’s an ultra-luxury sporting machine by Bentley – first and foremost. It will incorporate every significant technological advancement introduced by the epochal flagship – the incomparable Bentley Mulsanne luxury saloon. Only a fortunate few will savor its indulgences first hand…the world waits with bated breath –

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Bentley Azure T drophead coupé

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Photos courtesy Bentley Media

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Retrospect: 1976 Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL

Posted in Editorials, Mercedes Benz, Notorious Retrospect with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

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Luxury saloons come…and luxury saloons go. Some leave an indelible impression. The iconic and unforgettable Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL is one such automobile. This elegant machine is highly versatile. Some are still in service and used throughout Europe as limousines. These high performance saloons are also at home on the Autobahn or on a nice leafy run in the countryside. Mercedes-Benz is a pioneer with monocoque construction, automobile aerodynamics, active and passive safety features, as well as ergonomic cabin design.

Form and function combined with notorious reliability is how the Mercedes-Benz brand retains world-class status.  Their engineering prowess keeps the automotive industry at the drawing board. The Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL remains at the top of the list for popularity. It was built as W116 450 SE and 450 SEL from 1973 until 1980. The formidable S-Class is simply one of the world’s finest crafted creations…it is part limousine and part performance saloon. They’re the perfect marriage of luxury and logic. From the iconic pentastar that adorns the classic radiator grille to the sleek aerodynamic silhouette, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class is one of the most technically advanced saloons on the planet.  Mercedes-Benz presence in the industry has always been central, never peripheral.

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The Mercedes-Benz dynasty began with the collaboration of two master minds. In 1886 Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz presented an idea that changed the way transportation was destined. The automobile…or “horseless carriage” was born. Gottlieb Daimler’s credo was “The best or nothing.” This premise remains as a most enduring legend. Decade after decade the Mercedes-Benz motorcar has achieved success through innovation and advanced engineering prowess. It’s a standard of excellence that serves as a measure by which all automobiles are measured.

From supercharger to fuel injection through bi-turbocharging…no automaker in history has accomplished or contributed more. The Mercedes-Benz S-Class saloons are the flagships of the brand…they are considered a supreme achievement in motoring. The incomparable 450 SEL is the pioneer that laid the foundation for today’s version. The long wheelbase S-Class introduced an entirely new concept of aerodynamically efficient luxury saloons. The idea of precision automobiles first introduced by Mercedes-Benz is now an industry standard. Abundant power, ample cabin space, and myriad creature comforts makes the 450 SEL a favorite among collectors of fine automobiles.

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The world was introduced to a new premium luxury saloon September of 1972 as the next generation of high-end precision vehicles. Project W116 S-Class began in 1966 and was finalized in 1969. “S” denotes Sonderklasse, this translates to ‘special class’ which all senior Mercedes-Benz flagship models are tagged.  It began a prolific existence as the W116 280 series offered in two versions equipped with an M110 straight-six engine; the 280S uses a Solex carburetor and series 280 SE is equipped with a Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection system. “E” denotes fuel injection. W116 is also available as series 350 SE equipped with an M116 3.5 litre V8 engine. 

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The big news for the 1973 model year was the introduction of the 450 series. It includes the 450 SE and the 450 SEL. “L” denotes long wheelbase. These posh saloons are powered by the venerable M117 V8 engine. The epochal W116 S-Class escalated the brand to limousine status, refined, yet elegant. The sleek architecture is ahead of its time. While other luxury cars were bulking it up at the time, Mercedes-Benz was working on weight reduction and aerodynamics.

The W116 S-Class embodied the best in advanced German engineering for the genre. Its architecture is designed to battle crosswinds and overall wind turbulence. W116 S-Class has a mere 0.4 drag coefficient. The exact rake of the windscreen is part of the aerodynamics. Mercedes-Benz discretely incorporated aerodynamics into the body shell’s silhouette to manage airflow around the vehicle. Even the head and taillamps are built into the architecture to be exposed to a constant stream of air to keep them free from slush and debris while driving in inclement weather. Rain water is aerodynamically routed away from side windows. No other make had even considered such advanced thinking at the time.

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The 450 SEL is the epitome of European grandeur with architecture designed to slip through the airstream like a fuselage. This car moves in a manner the oversized dinosaurs we drove here in the USA… dared not try to replicate. The car is designed to ferry its passengers in a most luxurious style…but if you’re like me, slip it off the main roads to the back roads for a long leafy run – you may then use it as a sporting machine.

The 450 SEL is versatile and is equally at home on any road. You will discover, it floats over the worst boulevard pavement taking it all in stride. The flagship Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL saloon is a workhorse. At the time, it was the most aerodynamic luxury saloon sold in America. But we didn’t really care about such…we were driving our Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Brougham, Lincoln Continental with the TownCar option, and lest we forget…our Imperial LeBaron – all of which were a city block long and half a city block wide!!!

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While other auto manufacturers concentrated on aesthetics, bells, and whistles…Mercedes-Benz designed not only safety into cabin specifications, but ergonomics as well. Padding anyplace that comes in contact with the body is integrated. This includes the dash, door impact cushioning, head restraints, and seat backs. Deformable switches and controls further occupant protection.

The heavily padded steering wheel absorbs severe impact with a collapsible steering column to protect the driver. The seats are designed in an upright fashion that is contoured to the body for comfort and safety. Americans at the time considered this configuration “stiff’ and uncomfortable because we were spoiled by our Fleetwood Broughams, Lincoln Continentals, and Imperial LeBarons which rode like big ‘ole rollin Barco loungers. The notorious 450 SEL is more than “just a car”…it’s a Mercedes-Benz.

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The long wheelbase in the 450 SEL adds extra legroom for rear seat passengers. Take note of the ergonomic design of the seats and head restraints. There are no dangerous protuberances in the cabin, everything is designed with occupant safety in mind. In the event of a serious collision, the entire cabin is designed to wrap around the occupants to shield them from injury without air cushion restraint systems…Mercedes-Benz leads the industry with safety innovation.

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Safety is paramount in a Mercedes-Benz, it is built-in and never added on and includes both active and passive systems. The brand adopted monocoque construction in 1951 because of its inherent rigidity and structural integrity. The fact that it isn’t held together by nuts and bolts means there are no squeaks and rattles. The collapsible crumple zone safety principal was pioneered by Mercedes-Benz. In addition to the steel safety cage constructed to surround the passenger cell, unique energy absorbing front and rear sections are designed to accordion at a controlled rate upon impact. This feature cancels negative energy before it reaches the passenger compartment.

The passenger cell is several thousand welding points strong. All doors are designed to neither burst-open nor jam-shut in an accident. Its skeleton of pillars, crossmembers, and panels is not only stronger, but far more resistant to torsional stresses than conventional body on frame construction. The steel passenger cell has a stiffened roof structure with high-strength roof and door pillars to further enhance occupant protection. Mercedes-Benz factory deployed robotic welding machines ensure each welding point is precise. Other auto makers were doing the process by hand. All body tolerances are routinely audited for quality control. Perfection is a driving force for Mercedes-Benz engineers.

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Under the hood resides the Daimler-Benz SOHC 4.5 litre, naturally aspirated 275.8 CID 16-valve V8 engine. It’s equipped with Bosch Jetronic indirect fuel injection. The 3,990+ pound behemoth moves with aplomb. This highly spirited luxury saloon cranks 180 hp @ 4,750 rpm with 248 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm.

Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 11.3 seconds, 0-100 mph in 34.8 seconds with a top speed in the 122 mph range. This is mighty-fast for a vehicle this heavy. It can do the ¼ mile @ 79 mph in just 18.2 seconds. The 450 SEL sports a front traditionally mounted engine with rear-wheel drive for excellent weight distribution to further refine its excellent handling and stability attributes.

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A high degree of suspension engineering is the basis for these stately saloons. Mercedes-Benz set benchmarks in the auto industry. The eminent W116 models come standard with 4-wheel independent suspension systems. Double wishbones with a stabilizing bar is fitted to the front. A diagonal swing axle, trailing arms and stabilizer bar is fitted to the rear. Coil springs are fitted at all four wheels. Power assisted rack and pinion steering is coordinated to suspension dynamics.

Mercedes-Benz and safety are synonymous. The W116 saloons are the first in the auto industry to offer electronic multi-channel anti-lock braking systems as an option for the 1978 model year. Four wheel power disc brakes teamed with ABS enhances stability and steering control during panic braking to provide shortened braking distances.

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The beauty of a Mercedes-Benz is the fact there is never a dramatic styling change overnight. According to the brand, “there has never been a violent change.” The overall appearance changes through gradual evolution. This is why every Mercedes-Benz S-Class looks as good today as it did when it drove off the assembly line, it is designed to challenge the years gracefully. “Evolution instead of revolution.”

The 450 SEL has dimensions close to those of contemporary luxury saloons. It’s 209.4” in length, 43.6” wide and 56.3” high. It rides upon a 116.5” wheelbase. As far as its appearance…it resembles today’s cars minus the chrome and if it were a tad bit boxier. The 450 SEL blends right in with what’s on the road now. The sophisticated styling will always remain prominent. The only issue with the 450 SEL…is the 4.5 litre V8 engine and its gas-thirsty attributes…but then no pain, no gain – right? Besides…spend it all while you are “above ground.” How many U-Haul trailers do you see attached to hearses?

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The completely new generation of Mercedes-Benz automobiles was developed as W116 luxury saloons and debuted in the fall of 1972. This is the birth of the S-Class series which became the flagship models for the brand. The S-Class represents a milestone in workmanship, handling characteristics, safety, and engineering that no other automobile manufacturer could match for the day. The formidable 450 SEL offers a level of performance, comfort, spaciousness, reliability, and perfection that satisfies the most discerning clientele. It is one of the first cars in the world to provide monocoque construction and a body structure designed to absorb and deflect impact from collisions.

Outstanding active and passive safety features combined with 4-wheel independent suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes catapulted the brand to world-class status. The Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL is part limousine and part performance saloon; an intriguing combination which enticed the auto industry to follow. This elite example of automotive technology earned its place in automotive history as the prelude of innovations the entire industry would replicate – NotoriousLuxury salutes the formidable Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL. Special thanks to Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum…he is one of the hardest working caretakers of fine automobiles in the entire industry! God Bless you Rodd!!

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The contemporary Mercedes Maybach

The Notorious 2017 Aston Martin DB11

Posted in Aston Martin, Editorials, Exotic & FAST, Exotic Sports Cars with tags , , , , , , on September 7, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

The new kid on the block…

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Aston Martin has set forth benchmarks of what a car in its class should be. It has never deviated from this premise. Aston Martin adheres to strict personal conviction and has achieved a high standard of individualism and a persona that in itself has become a standard for other motorcars. It has successfully combined and synthesized luxury with magnificent performance. The formidable DB series established the high performance racing image for the brand. One of the most famous models is the Aston Martin DB5 driven by the fictional sleuth James Bond.

The Aston Martin DB legacy continues with the 2017 DB11 clothed in sleek, athletic, aerodynamic architecture. The spirited new design follows Aston Martin styling continuity. It has already earned obsequious flattery world-wide. The Aston Martin team of dedicated enthusiasts collaborated once again to bring forth one of the most ambitious projects ever in automotive design. Aston Martin is a posh supercar for those who demand fervent individuality. Welcome to the power, beauty, and soul of the latest edition in the continuing saga of the elite DB marque of excellence.

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A bit of history…

The fast and ferociously powerful Aston Martin DB Series began its iconic existence as a prolific ingénue under the tutelage of the managing director Sir David Brown. He saved the company from financial ruin right after WWII.

From extremely humble beginnings to world-wide respected esteem, the NOTORIOUS Aston Martin DB Series has maintained a highly prestigious heritage earning its place in automotive history. Aston Martin is Great Britain’s only independent automaker –

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Sir David purchased the company in 1947 sharing knowledge and resources with his esteemed colleague W.O. Bentley.  An impressive 2.6 litre Lagonda engine designed by W.O. Bentley was chosen to power the DB2. Three short years later…the DB legend was born. It quickly became an automobile series bristling with bravado.

The Aston Martin DB series established the brand’s racing pedigree. The DB4 and DB5 introduced Aston Martin’s grand touring eloquence, thus…its formidable identity developed and became etched into the minds of connoisseurs. It continually emerged as a world-class thoroughbred through evolution. Each subsequent DB is a masterpiece built upon the previous model’s finesse which raises the bar of success in the automotive industry to an even higher degree –

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Aston Martin DB11

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Aston Martin One-77

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Beauty is more than skin deep…

Aston Martin has acquired the status of building the world’s most beautiful automobiles…repeatedly. If seduction could manifest itself as an automobile…the Aston Martin DB11 is it. If you look deeply into its styling, the design features hint at the epochal Aston Martin One-77 which is the epitome of automotive design and was built at a highly restricted pace of only 77 vehicles.

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The most significant aspects of the DB11’s design maximizes its aerodynamic efficiency. The bonded aluminium structure has a weight reduction to offset the new V12 engine’s heavier mass. Its dramatic new design is augmented by Aston Martin’s “Curlicue” and “Aeroblade” systems.

Familiarize yourself with these two words because you will be hearing a lot more about them in the near future. These principles are so innovative that Aston Martin has patents for them. These features made the rest of the automotive industry “nervous” leaving them scrambling back to the drawing board just to catch up.

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Every beautiful square inch of the architecture has purpose. The DB11 is designed to cleave the air efficiently. An automobile must manage the air flow from nose to tail to effectively maintain stability while maximizing downforce. The DB11 uses its architecture to master its dynamics to “ride like the wind.” Instead of fighting the turbulence and wind resistance around the vehicle…the Curlicue and Aeroblade systems ingeniously works with these elements.

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From the dramatic new roof strakes to its concealed aerodynamic defense system, the Aston Martin DB11 is a grand tourer for today’s world. Fancy grille-like vents are incorporated into each front fender’s wheel arch lining. These apertures are known as “Curlicue” and are integrated into the car’s aerodynamic network to reduce front-end lift.

High pressure air from the top of the front wheel arches are vented through recessed apertures behind the iconic Aston Martin styling side strakes. More high pressure air is extracted from the rear of each wheel arch through stirrup vents positioned aft of the front wheels. This intricate airflow system was developed for Aston Martin’s racing division.

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DB11’s aerodynamic form follows function. Low, sleek, chiseled flowing lines from the aggressive front end ensemble sweep back to be intercepted by the familiar wide muscular haunches at the rear. The “Aeroblade” system harnesses airflow along the vehicle’s flanks enhancing stability at the rear.

Air intake duct-work located in the base of the “C-pillars” draw airflow within the architecture before extracting it from slots in the rear bootlid. This system works like a conventional spoiler directing the jet of disrupted air reducing lift and maximizing downforce. This eliminates the need for a rear wing. When extra stability is required a small active spoiler automatically deploys from the bootlid. When it is no longer needed, it retracts back into the bootlid.

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The legacy endures…

The DB11 exemplifies the Aston Martin tradition of aesthetic design. Its striking new beauty is refined and elegant. The front end design is highlighted by the signature grille which has been moderately refreshed. All-new LED headlamps adds a distinctive contemporary flair.

The clamshell bonnet is designed with an exclusive wrap-around form to minimize unsightly shut lines. It’s hinged forward to showcase the formidable V12 engine.The DB11’s styling is ‘pedestrian friendly’ as with all Aston Martin motorcars. DB11’s specs are 1.2” longer, 0.3” higher, with a 2.5” longer wheelbase than the DB9. The silhouette may be new, but it’s unmistakably Aston Martin.

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The rear end design is as dramatic as the front end ensemble. Newly designed LED taillamps are the focal point. Flowing sculpted lines end perfectly with an impressive diffuser assembly. Prominently displayed matte finish stainless-steel exhaust ports echo the famous tuned baritone symphony from its mighty V12 engine. The car is drop-dead gorgeous which is the major reason why Aston Martin’s involvement in the automotive industry remains central…never peripheral. There’s no soft-pedaling an Aston Martin.  The DB11 is a peerless collage of aluminium, glass, and British technology.

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A prominent performer…

As if the bold new exterior design isn’t enough to convince you…the magnificent all-new aluminium V12 engine should sign, seal, and deliver the deal. The 5.2 litre 48-valve twin-turbocharged V12 cranks an audacious 600 bhp @ 6,500 rpm packing a prolific punch with 700 Nm of peak torque @ 1,500 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-62 mph in just 3.9 seconds with a top speed in the 200 mph range. The DB11 is the most powerful and efficient production model in Aston Martin history.

It’s equipped with Dual Variable Camshaft Timing, fully CNC machined combustion chambers, and a fully catalyzed stainless-steel electronically controlled exhaust system. Charge air temperature for the twin turbos is maintained by twin water to air charge air coolers mounted on either side of the engine. This type of configuration uses the shortest charge air path minimizing charge inertia to optimize throttle response.

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The alloy quad overhead cam bi-turbo V12 boasts a start/stop cylinder de-activation system. This ingenious design will switch to an in-line 6-cylinder configuration under normal driving situations to increase fuel economy.  It also means that the twin-turbocharged V12 shuts down one bank of 6-cylinders AND one of the turbochargers. This measure reduces engine wear by switching between banks keeping the catalyst hot.

The front mid-mount engine is set up for rear wheel drive. The rear mid-mounted 8-speed automatic gearbox has an electronic shift by wire control system for those who prefer to do the shifting themselves. The DB11 is fitted with an alloy torque tube with a carbon fibre prop shaft to save weight, and a limited slip torque vectoring differential to maintain traction under all driving situations. Extraordinary sports car performance is just a tap of the accelerator pedal away.

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A masterful grand tourer in every aspect

The DB11 is more than just a fancy sporting machine…it’s an Aston Martin. An impressive array of logistics accompany this iconic road-going masterpiece. Ingenious Launch Control – the same technology developed for the brand’s class-leading motorsport division – balances throttle, transmission, traction, and damping controls to optimize take-offs from a standing start catapulting the DB11 as quick as a cat.

Its driver-selectable dynamics tailor the experience to suit the driving situation. GT mode captures the essence of Aston Martin luxury for exemplary ride quality in the grand touring tradition. Sport mode stiffens the suspension while providing agility. Sport-Plus fine tunes and synchronizes steering, suspension, 8-speed transmission, and torque vectoring for the ultimate high performance adventure in automotive paradise. Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Traction Control (TC), Positive Torque Control (PTC), and Dynamic Torque Vectoring (DTV), all network to make this happen…

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Such a powerful grand tourer requires an equally qualified braking system. The DB11 benefits from Aston Martin revolutionary braking technology. Front ventilated 2-piece steel brake discs are fitted with 6-piston calipers. Rear ventilated co-cast piece steel discs are fitted with 4-piston calipers. These motorsport-inspired assemblies shorten stopping distance as they provide safe, fade-free operation with rapid heat dissipation.

Electronic Brakeforce Distribution intuitively varies the force applied to each wheel contingent upon speed, road conditions, load, etc. to maintain optimum vehicular control under all driving situations. Electronic Brakeforce Distribution combined with ABS maximizes stopping power to avoid skids for accident avoidance. Hydraulic Brake Assist increases braking pressure in panic braking automatically within milliseconds reducing stopping distances even further.

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Beneath the sumptuous design of the DB11 is a sophisticated network of Aston Martin technology. It will feature Aston Martin’s newly engineered architecture. The previous VH (Vertical Horizontal) design platform has been used since 2001 on all models except the One-77. The all-new bonded aluminium platform is lightweight and rigid to aid the vehicle’s wind-cheating abilities. It includes components from AMG, Mercedes-Benz high performance division.

The front suspension uses double wishbones and coil springs. The rear has a multi-link set-up and also uses coil springs. Front and rear anti-roll bars and an intuitive Adaptive Damping System (ADS) maintains stability enhancing overall driving dynamics. Speed contingent rack and pinion electric power steering has power column tilt and reach adjustment for the steering wheel. The DB11 rides upon staggered Bridgestone tires with size 9J X 20” S007 255/40 ZR20 fitted to the front axle and size 11.0J X 20” S007 295/35 ZR20 fitted to the rear axle. Dashing 20” 10-spoke Diamond Turned wheels adds the finishing touch.

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…Aston Martin – Style

Cabin Amenities remain tastefully appointed in the tradition of the brand. Wide individual lounge seats are highlighted with Aston Martin’s brogue detailing. The interior is enhanced with hand-tailored leather with soft Alcantara accents. Nexus quilting and Celestial perforation adds a dashing flair. Myriad color combinations are available from conservative to exotic.

Its ergonomically designed comfort includes head restraints embellished with the familiar Aston Martin logo. The cabin benefits from the 2.5” longer wheelbase with increased head and legroom in the rear passenger compartment. There is also more room in the boot. Wider door apertures offer easier entrance and exits. This is a highly bespoke motorcar offering an inspiring array of detailing and options to satisfy the most discerning clientele.

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The all-new instrument panel has a full color 12” TFT LCD display that contains all of the DB11’s primary information. Another 8” TFT screen is centrally located for infotainment including Satellite Navigation and is controlled by a rotary controller. An optional touchpad offers character recognition, multi-touch and gesture support. Aston Martin Premium Audio or an available Bang & Olufsen sound system upgrade brings concert hall quality along for the drive. A convenient Parking Assist feature is equipped with a 360 degree camera. The DB11 is a luxury sport car complete. Everything is pleasing to the eye and convenient to the touch…

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An Aston Martin is one of the world’s most eloquent possessions. It is designed for men and women of taste who have worked hard to get where they are in life. Its poised beauty is the envy of the auto industry. Through evolution, the Aston Martin becomes even lovelier. The latest offering in this exclusive continuing saga is the DB11. As the world bids farewell to the iconic DB9 series – the formidable presence of the DB11 takes center stage.

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This sophisticated new expression of Aston Martin is the most powerful and efficient road-going model in the history of the brand. The ferocious new 48-valve, 5.2 litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine delivers 600 horses with a swift top speed in the 200 mph range. The DB11 is the epitome of handcrafted grand tourers with every luxury and convenience presented as standard equipment to make each drive enjoyable and considerably effortless. Aston Martin has once again exceeded superlative with the introduction of the 2017 DB11…a proud successor in the illustrious DB series of high performance motorcars. Welcome to the power…beauty…and soul of the Aston Martin DB11. It’s NotoriousLuxury in every respect.

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Photos courtesy of the Aston Martin Media Club  

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The Aston Martin DB11 is NotoriousLuxury…

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NotoriousLuxury is Greg’s World

A Contemporary Flashback: The Speedback GT

Posted in Editorials, Exotic Exotics, Exotic Sports Cars, Luxury Sport Cars with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

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It is as contemporary as it is classic…

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There’s a high-tech renaissance cruising the horizon. The corporate mission statement is: “To achieve classic status, one must draw from the past and then embrace the future.” It’s a return to exemplary quality, fit and finish from the 1960s…transforming them into 21st century principles, adding the coachbuilder’s venues.

The man is David Brown. The impressive motorcar is the elusive Speedback GT. The company is David Brown Automotive. David Brown is not associated with Sir David Brown and Aston Martin to dispel ambiguity. David Brown Automotive is a refreshing new approach to a time-honored tradition adding their own interpretation of excellence. The British Speedback GT is the “dernier cri” in sporting grand touring automobiles –

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It takes courage and conviction to transform a dream into reality. That one singular idea leads to a vision…then, that vision becomes a driving force as fierce and unrelenting as a hurricane. David Brown’s indomitable vision and his zealous pursuit for perfection resulted with the introduction of the all-new Speedback GT.

It’s a contemporary rendition of a classic grand tourer designed for the enthusiast with a thirst for adventure…one who doesn’t follow status quo. The timeless elegance of Speedback GT will challenge the years gracefully leaving its indelible impression in automotive history. For a mere £495,000 or $795,000 you can park one of these in your garage…

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The Speedback GT made its enigmatic entrance at The Top Marques Show on April 17, 2014. This show of supercars is an annual event where the outrageous meets reality. This is THE most exclusive auto show in the world. It takes place in the Grimaldi Forum, an exclusive seafront conference center in Monaco. The sleek handcrafted Speedback GT is a contemporary supercar reminiscent of classic sports cars from the Sensational-Sixties.

It reintroduced the age-old art of coachbuilding…which is the summit of the automaker’s craft. This elite example of automotive art will be built at a highly restricted pace not to exceed 100 vehicles which will make them instantly collectible. David Brown Automotive is a spanking new entry in the automotive industry. The ultimate embellishment of British craftsmanship adds to the Speedback GT’s charismatic appeal. Just look at it…it begs to be driven!

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In any field of endeavor, progress can be defined by the introduction of a product which establishes a new benchmark. The Speedback GT will set new standards within the automotive industry. It is built with accumulated knowledge and 21st century technology resulting in a motorcar of extraordinary quality. Now…add to this, the mastery of custom crafted bodywork – the result is superlative, rarely achieved in today’s mass-produced…I want it yesterday world.

David Brown Automotive is redefining the ultra-luxury supercar. There is nothing more distinctive than a coachbuilt motorcar. Being highly bespoke transforms an automobile into the ultimate in exclusivity and supremacy…”your” car can be as unique as your own fingerprints. Speedback GT is the pinnacle of individuality; no two automobiles will ever be alike. Each creation will reflect the requisites of its owner – 

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Once upon a time, clients desired something more than an “out of the box” automobile. It was the job of the coachbuilder to produce a completely unique motorcar of distinction with character. These creations are some of the most unique and beautiful automobiles in the world.

The client would purchase a rolling chassis for the car of their choice and have it delivered to the coachbuilder for custom bodywork. HJ Mulliner, Park Ward, Pininfarina, and Bertone are just a few of the world’s most eminent artisans who created automotive masterpieces. David Brown Automotive is reviving the art, thus escaping mass-production mediocrity, carving its own niche in the world of limited edition motorcars.

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In today’s market, most automobile manufacturers focus on production numbers…and how to maximize profit with the intent of making more yet offering much less. David has the right idea. Speedback GT has a certain “je ne sais quoi” which captivates the astute automobile connoisseur.

Since every Speedback GT is custom crafted and built to order, clients may track the progress of their car via their own dedicated personal ‘eportal’. It’s updated with not only the progress of the build but also includes images of the work in process. Handcrafted automobiles are completely individualized with a more personal touch…

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The Speedback GT exudes timeless elegance. Its sensual curves and sultry good looks is not the result from a blinding flash of inspiration. Alan Mobberley, former chief designer for Jaguar/Land Rover has designed a sophisticated thoroughbred of exceptional beauty and grace, capturing the essence of the 1960s.

In fact, it’s the retrospective appeal which augments the contemporary design that makes the Speedback GT the grand tourer par excellence. Per Alan: “Our challenge was to create a contemporary GT with the heart and soul of a classic…” I say: mission accomplished…his interpretation of a retro supercar is notorious! One could say…the neoclassic Speedback GT is a culmination of Aston Martin glamour, Ferrari mystique, and Maserati allure, with its own avant-garde élan –

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Speedback GT’s beauty is based upon a rigid, structurally advanced pillarless monocoque. This type of one-piece construction is not only strong but is also lightweight. Its handcrafted bodyshell is brought to life from a clay mock-up. The models are scanned generating accurate renditions.

The computer fine tunes the aerodynamics and engineers the structure. The body panels are designed from photo etched patterns for perfection. Every component of the Speedback GT has been fully engineered, machined, and tested to exacting standards.

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The outer surfaces of the bodyshell are shaped completely by hand. Computer-controlled milling machines form “bucks” which enable the craftsmen to build the bodywork. More than 2,500 hours alone are clocked per vehicle just for crafting the bodyshell.

These talented artisans using traditional hand-beating and hand-rolling techniques on an English wheel gives the body panels their shape. The body panels are made from aluminium sheets blended seamlessly together before being attached to the car’s aluminium inner substructure.

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Over 120 hours are clocked on each car’s paintwork. The flawless finish requires prep work smoothing the bodyshell before the primer coats are applied. Each layer of hand-applied primer, paint, and lacquer is continually measured for depth ensuring the application is even and consistent.

The finish is polished until a mirror-like reflection appears. The entire process is meticulously scrutinized by accomplished body & paint technicians for the Speedback GT’s perfection – The chrome “dazzles” with depth not as a mere superficial shine because a thin layer of copper is applied before the chrome plating.

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Speedback GT boasts a highly bespoke cabin offering the epitome of British handcrafting. Its opulent woodwork is patiently expedited by Nantwich Veneers Ltd. of South Cheshire in the UK. An impressive array of the finest veneers will make each vehicle uniquely one of a kind.

The client may choose from a number of exquisite veneer patterns including exotic Walnut Crotch, the elegance of Angel-Step American Walnut Burl, jazzy Tamo Ash, and a stunning Dyed Figured Sycamore. The warmth of handcrafted veneers adds character and prestige. It’s artfully integrated into the contours of the dash flowing gracefully around into the door panels. The steering wheel is crafted with the same wood pattern with metallic accents for an additional touch of class to this elegant grand tourer.

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Speedback GT’s exclusivity is further enhanced. Semi-aniline hides augments the opulence of the cabin. Naturally tanned drum dyed leather creates an aromatic ambiance. It’s hand-cut, hand-sewn, and hand-fitted by talented British leather crafters which will make it extra appealing…to age like your favorite leather jacket. Each Speedback GT is a masterpiece of contemporary automotive art.

David Brown automotive uses a process called direct metal laser sintering to fabricate the cabin brightwork trim. This is achieved by melting and layering nickel with an industrial laser. The Speedback GT has a classic simplicity making it an extremely tasteful grand tourer for the 21st century.

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A truly unique feature is the tailgate which opens out as a picnic seat. The lift back hinges upward and a valence drops down into a horizontal position as that of the Range Rover. This type of embellishment is reminiscent of the Harold Radford Countryman crafted to suit the rural lifestyles of the landed gentry. 

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Underneath the resplendent retro styling is a sophisticated network of technology. It’s the perfect combination of brains and brawn. The dynamics of the Speedback GT are based upon the alloy platform of the Jaguar XKR. Its prodigious power is derived from the Jaguar 5.0 litre 32-valve supercharged DOHC AJ-V8 engine which cranks 503 hp (ECE) @ 6,000 rpm with 625 Nm of peak torque @ 2,500 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in just 4.6 seconds with a top speed in the 155 mph range.

The engine is mated to a 6-speed ZF sequential shift automatic transmission. Speedback GT is not the biggest nor the fastest grand tourer and is not designed as such. It will focus on high quality and exquisite hand finishing. Speedback GT is an elegant grand tourer…understated and fundamentally conservative. David Brown believes in quality as it once was. It’s a genuine and enduring satisfaction, valuable…beautiful now and for years to come. Speedback GT is the birth of a legend…and a benchmark of excellence.

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Every now and again a car comes along that not only tickles your fancy but also excites your soul. Speedback GT is that car. It looks as though it drove right off the set of a James Bond flick. It is the brainchild of David Brown. He knows exactly what the true connoisseur wants: a classic handcrafted sporting grand tourer designed for today’s world.

While other automobile manufacturers are building clones with shoe-boxy wedge look designs…David Brown Automotive has restored esoteric automobile style and grace, with the emphasis on bespoke precision build quality. The all-new Speedback GT is a renaissance where technology reunites tradition for the 21st century. It is not only the quintessential supercar…it is one class act –

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For more information on the Speedback GT go to: http://www.davidbrownautomotive.com

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Special thanks to Hannah Burgess at Torque Agency Group LTD.

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…welcome to Greg’s World

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…”Sweet dreams ’til sunbeams find you, sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you – but in your dreams whatever they be – dream a little dream of me…”

Custom Continental MK II: Mark of Excellence

Posted in Classic American Marques, Grande Marque, Lincoln, Notoriously Outrageous, The Bold and the Beautiful Lincolns, The Continental Life with tags , , , , , , , on July 4, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

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The Continental Life continues –

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Growing up there were cars I dubbed as favorites…when they would appear, they made me smile. Those were such happy times, so long ago…how I wondered where they’d gone. But they’re back again…just like a long-lost friend – all the cars I loved so well. It’s yesterday once more with John Torrie’s custom 1957 Continental MK II. The formidable Continental MK II is my all-time favorite classic car.

The Continental MK II is a timeless beauty that was built for only two models years exclusively by the Continental Division of the Ford Motor Company. No, the MK II is NOT a Lincoln – it’s a “Continental” – I thought I would throw this in to dispel ambiguity. Here’s a dream with a little bit of fantasy. This custom 1957 Continental MK II is a contemporary rendition of a time-honored classic. Now this is what I call NotoriousLuxury…

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The classic 1956-1957 Continental MK II

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The “Mark of Excellence” is handcrafted by John Torrie Jr. and John Torrie Sr. They built the classic custom in a single car garage…no, this isn’t a typo. This one-of-a-kind beauty was featured in “Rod & Custom” Magazine as the spotlight vehicle. It began its life as a stock 1957 Continental MK II. The car retains its basic silhouette and flowing lines…capturing a rare serendipitous eloquence.

After being sliced, diced, chopped, and lowered, the MK II takes on a totally unique appearance. The custom Continental MK II is absolutely stunning from any angle. The amazing aspect of this beautiful car is the fact that it is as modern as it is classic. Look deep into its timeless styling and you can see the original design. From the aggressive front end cosmetic ensemble to the dramatic signature Continental rear deck lid, the Torries synthesized the best of both worlds seamlessly…in a rudely-elegant manner –

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The custom Continental MK II is finished in flawless “Corvette Atomic Orange” base coats. It’s the clear coats that adds depth to all of the contours and sweeping lines which forces the eyes to roam the entire car in a single appraisal.  The startling contrast between the shocking orange finish and the classic wide whitewall tires is highlighted by the outrageous 100-spoke chrome aluminum wheels. The custom Continental MK II is a successful confluence of old world charm and contemporary panache –

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The car’s avant-garde transformation is augmented by a lower profile. The roof is chopped 2” which makes the body appear even larger than it is. A modest height correction to the stock platform gives it dynamic road-hugging appeal. The car is lowered using Fatman Fabrications 2 ½” dropped spindles with Firestone dampers to replace the coil springs to the front suspension.

This swap allows disc brakes to replace the drum type. The rear suspension is altered using de-arched leaves.  The rear drum brakes are retained.  Monroe gas shock absorbers assist ride height at all four wheels allowing it to be adjusted for driving or lowered to “strike a pose” when she just sits and wants to look pretty!

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There is no unnecessary bling to discount its luxurious beauty. The restrained use of ornamentation is tasteful and sophisticated. Most of the stock MK II accents are shaved away…including the door handles. The front end styling boasts Frenched-in headlamps, custom grille, and lower bumper roll pan finished to match the body color. The upper portion of the bumper retains a stock appearance sans bumper guards. The blacked-out grille work is highlighted by a single chrome horizontal bar.

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The startling transformation to the rear of the custom Continental MK II is built upon the “ghost” of the stock version. The Torries kept the basic overall design in mind filling in the taillamps and transferring them to the former exhaust ports in the rear bumper…sweet huh? The iconic ersatz Continental spare tire design remains intact less ornamentation.

The rear bumper was redesigned with a body color roll pan to offset the chromed upper portion tastefully. The custom Continental MK II has all of the elegance of the original presented in sheer understatement that oozes class. Too bad the minimalist approach wasn’t used back in the 1950s when garish styling and strange protuberances ruled. The 1956-1957 Continental MK II is one of the few exceptions to the rule with its classic Euro-inspired simplicity.

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The custom Continental MK II’s old world charm influences its resto-mod interior. Sumptuous white leather covers the sofa-like seating. The classic simplicity of the sew style ends the center seams with single button tufting. It’s just as tastefully crafted as the original version. A unique center console design continues up into the rear seats, in a contrasting orange to compliment the exterior. The understated elegance is what captures the attention…everything flows in sync with the rest of the cabin – the car is very luxurious…

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Opulent luxury exudes from the original

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The Torries captured tasteful contemporary elegance

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Under its massive 70” long hood lurks a re-built stock version of Lincoln’s V8 engine. It’s a potent 6.0 litre 368 CID 16-valve naturally aspirated OHV V8 equipped with a 4-bbl carburetor. The Torries sound-tuned the engine to a sexy baritone by using a custom exhaust system with Cherry Bombs. The mighty 6.0 litre “Y-block” V8 for the original 1956 version produces 285 hp @ 4,600 rpm with 545 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm.  Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 11 seconds with a top speed in the 120 mph range. It can do the ¼ mile @ 80 mph in 18 seconds.

The 1957 version is a tad bit more powerful with the same 6.0 litre V8 which now produces 300 hp @ 4,800 rpm with 563 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration for this version is rated as 0-60 mph in 10.3 seconds with a top speed in the 119 mph range, completing the ¼ mile @ 80 mph in 17.5 seconds. Both engines are mated to Lincoln’s 3-speed automatic Turbo-Drive Cruise-O-Matic transmission.

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The opulent Continental MK II was a trend-setter with its classic elegance…the $10,000 price tag gave it pre-eminence few automobiles could achieve. The 1956-1957 original was designed to be one of the finest handcrafted automobiles in the world. Quality, fit, and finish were paramount. The exclusive Continental Division crafted the car with a rigid 7-point quality control regimen.

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The Continental was to Ford as Lexus is to Toyota. The stunning land yacht was one of the heaviest automobiles built for the day at 4,825 pounds. It was so comprehensively equipped, the only option available at the time was air conditioning which added another 365 pounds. The Continental MK II has the luxury length of 218.5”, rides upon a long 126” wheelbase and is a massive 77.5” wide.

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The classic 1956-1957 Continental MK II was built completely by hand exclusively by the now defunct Continental Division of the Ford Motor Company. Again…it’s not a Lincoln, it’s a Continental. This supreme achievement in motoring was built for only two years. The Continental Division existed only two years as well.

The elite Continental MK II was the image car for the Ford Motor Company. They actually lost money on each car produced because of the MK II’s extensive handcrafting. The classic simplicity and understated elegance was far ahead of its time when the other luxury cars from this genre were sporting gaudy designs with tons of chrome and towering tailfins.

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Custom cars are the ultimate expression of individuality. Anything from mild to wild takes the onlooker on a visual journey escaping the mass-production status quo. This type of automotive abstract art was popular for vintage vehicles from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s…when cars were real! The designers had something to work with. The most eminent custom car designers include Gene Winfield, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, George Barris, Thom Taylor, and Boyd Coddington.

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I don’t have any information regarding this radical contemporary custom. This is a 1979 Lincoln Continental MK V. Look closely at the front end ensemble, the custom grille and modified bumper. “Bumperettes” were popular in custom cars from the 1940s & 1950s. Every customizer has a style, it all starts as an idea…look at the results. If anyone knows anything about this stunning custom Continental MK V PLEASE let me know. I am dedicated to bring you anything that is notoriously outrageous. This is the NotoriousLuxury mission…

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This custom 1979 Continental MK V is rudely elegant

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…slammed right into the ground with authority

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…Notoriously outrageous

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…a slammed, down-right nasty Series Sixty-Two ragtop

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Here’s the 4th of July in a custom F-100 pickup

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This custom “Big-M” leaves ya weak in the knees…

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Here’s a mild custom 1955 Crown Victoria

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1979 Coupe deVille custom “LeCabriolet” ragtop

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An ultra-rare Continental MK II convertible

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Contemporary automobiles are designed to cleave the air efficiently. Altering today’s cars could create potentially dangerous situations. These wedge-shaped designs are specifically created to battle turbulence and cross winds. The front end styling includes features to enhance stability and reduce uplift. The rear of the car utilizes diffuser assemblies designed to create downforce. Removal of these essential design features could render today’s cars airborne at certain high speeds with the right combination of wind shear and loss of downforce.

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Special thanks to Daniel Schmitt at: http://www.schmitt.com

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I grew up admiring custom cars especially when Detroit, Michigan was “The Motor City!” The one of a kind automotive masterpieces are abstract art in motion. The custom 1957 Continental MK II handcrafted by the Torries, John Jr. and John Sr. is a “Mark of Excellence.” Frenched-in headlamps, chopped roofline, custom roll pans and valances replacing chrome bumper assemblies gives the car its own unique persona. The overall silhouette is lower augmenting the rogue character of the rudely-elegant design.

The 1956 and 1957 Continental MK II were handcrafted to be among the world’s finest luxury automobiles. These eminent Flagships are built by the Continental Division of the Ford Motor Company which was only in existence for the 1956 and 1957 model years. The Continental MK II is a classic example of American automotive history. It’s yesterday once more, thanks to the Torries! From its aggressive front end ensemble to the ersatz spare tire design…the custom Continental MK II is an exemplary contemporary rendition of a time-honored classic. NotoriousLuxury salutes the Torries, John Jr, and John Sr. for their “Mark of Excellence.”

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NotoriousLuxury

Welcome to Greg’s World…

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Greg’s World IS NotoriousLuxury…

The Crewe Collection: Rolls Royce Corniche V

Posted in Rolls Royce: The Crewe Collection with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 24, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

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The Rolls Royce Corniche “breaks the fourth wall” mesmerizing the audience with an eloquence few luxury cars share…           Greg Morgan, NotoriousLuxury – 

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True…money cannot buy happiness…but it can buy an ultra-luxurious convertible like this to cruise right up and park beside it! The finale to the Rolls Royce legend at Crewe is epitomized by the magnificent Corniche coachbuilt drophead coupé. No other open grand touring motorcar in the world shares the panache…and all the savoir-faire as the Rolls Royce Corniche. There is no more impressive manner in which to arrive. It augments the poised dignity which is the hallmark of every Rolls Royce motorcar.  Its power and prestige are exceeded only by its beauty.

The Corniche is the single most immediately identifiable Rolls Royce in the history of the brand. It is also the last Rolls Royce to motor out of the historic Crewe facility in the UK…it’s a true masterpiece from the master craftsmen. The Rolls Royce Corniche established new standards of refinement…elegance…and sophistication, raising the bar of success to a higher level where few motorcars can compete. As a status symbol, there can be no more impressive introduction to your lifestyle. The Corniche is one of the most successful and longest running production series in Rolls Royce history.

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The elite sophistication of the Corniche makes it the most avant-garde series of all Rolls Royce motorcars. Mulliner Park Ward Silver Shadow fixedhead and drophead two-door coupé models were renamed “Corniche” in 1971. It’s dramatic…it’s distinctive…it’s the definitive luxury coupé built in the European grand touring tradition. The Corniche is luxurious beyond description. This is one of the most significant models in Rolls Royce history. The company was on the brink of financial disaster. The Corniche came to the rescue.

It was so popular, each subsequent model year had a waiting list. As soon as they were out of theatre the buyer could sell it for far more than they paid for it. Production for the fixedhead coupé ran until 1984 while the drophead coupé continued until 1995. The Corniche drophead coupé was revamped in 2000 as Series V and was the last Rolls Royce to motor out of Crewe on August 30, 2002 precluding the illustrious heritage of this esteemed motorcar. The last Rolls Royce Corniche was retained by Crewe for historic purposes. The Rolls Royce Corniche is still the car of the rich and famous…its glamour never tarnished. It will always retain its exclusivity as the undisputed quintessential status symbol.  

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The Corniche is the celebrity among Rolls Royce motorcars. There is a mystique with a two-door Rolls Royce because they are completely hand-built at an extremely restricted pace. The expertise of Mulliner Park Ward was exemplified with the Corniche series I-IV. Mulliner Park Ward closed its doors at their Hythe Road location at Willesden, London UK in 1991. Production was relocated in-house to the Crewe facility.  It took anywhere from six to eight months to hand-build these ultra-exclusive motorcars. Mulliner remained at Crewe as the personal commissioning department for the new Bentley brand. They are no longer a bespoke coachbuilder. Mulliner is an exclusive trim level for Bentley motorcars.

The Rolls Royce Corniche is completely bespoke in every aspect reflecting its owner’s requirements. It became an instant collectible the moment it left the assembly hall. No matter what year…either fixedhead or drophead coupé…the exotic Rolls Royce Corniche will always be the absolute pinnacle of luxury and elegance. The Corniche is the essence of Rolls Royce. “The quality will remain long after the price has been forgotten” is the famous marketing slogan and is never more apparent than with the formidable Rolls Royce Corniche – 

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1986 Rolls Royce Corniche II drophead coupé

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A two-door saloon or convertible coupé is a very special Rolls Royce creation. When the brand comes to mind it’s usually as a four-door saloon. The two-door Rolls Royce is coachbuilt in the classic tradition. It isn’t merely a sedan minus two-doors. The Corniche is designed as a two-door coupé; its architecture is unique and shaped entirely by hand. A two-door Rolls Royce is the ultimate in exclusivity and supremacy in a motorcar. Each Rolls Royce Corniche is a true masterwork…each is a one-of-a-kind treasure of automotive art.

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1974 Rolls Royce Corniche fixedhead coupé

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A Corniche is a unique fusion of coachbuilt elegance and an individual hallmark of Rolls Royce quality with the emphasis on superb distinction. The artisans at Crewe are renowned for extraordinary handcrafting. This is evident in the fit and finish. For example…every body seam is invisible, panels are lined up meticulously…every shut line is as perfect as possible.

No shortcuts are taken – in the production of a Rolls Royce motorcar, there is no room for compromise. Craftsmanship is the operative word that best sums up the ultimate embellishment of British coachcrafting. This is why every Rolls Royce is a virtual masterpiece which grows in loveliness and value – 

Corniche IV

Bentley Azure 7

Collage

The Corniche V has a secret…it is the only Rolls Royce built on a Bentley platform. It was usually the other way around…“Big Ben” was always built on a Rolls Royce foundation. Corniche Series I-IV are based upon the highly successful Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. The Corniche V inherits its look from the glamorous Rolls Royce Silver Seraph, but shares very little with it mechanically.

The Bentley Azure provides the basic structure. The body design was ideal to accept the extra torque from the turbocharged V8 engine. The Corniche V, as with all open tourers, is built with a lower center of gravity which is very important to a topless automobile. Integral rigidity is paramount for safety. 

The last dance 1

The last dance 2

Rolls Royce Corniche V drophead coupé

Bentley Azure 1

Bentley Azure drophead coupé

Bentley Azure 2

Bentley Azure 3

“Big Ben” is also utterly luxurious

Bentley Azure 4

Bentley Azure 5

Bentley Azure 6

The last dance 3

Balmoral UK 10

The front engine rear-wheel drive Corniche V delivers spirited performance. This elegant machine is powered by the legendary Rolls Royce 6.75 litre 16-valve 412 CID turbocharged alloy pushrod V8. The engine is mated to a GM 4-speed automatic transmission with electric gear selection. Its silky-smooth operation has completely imperceptible gear changes. It is equipped with a digital engine management system with electronic port fuel injection. Tap the accelerator pedal to discover, this is more than just a pretty car.

The engine cranks out 325 hp @ 4,000 rpm packing a prolific punch with an astounding 738 Nm of peak torque @ 2,300 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in just 8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 22 seconds with a top speed in the 133-135 mph range. These figures are exceptional considering how heavy the Corniche V is…after all, it is built for luxury not drag racing. How could you show off your classy Corniche convertible at speeds exceeding 200 mph anyway? I’ll put it this way…it would take a dangerously high dose of Xanax not to enjoy the exhilarating open air performance of the Corniche V. It is the ultimate European open grand tourer.

6.75 litre V8 1

6.75 litre V8 2

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Corniche V 2

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Corniche V 13

Corniche V 14

The Corniche V is exquisitely handcrafted in the grand Roll Royce tradition. The sumptuously upholstered cabin is the stuff dreams are made of. A Rolls Royce interior could be compared to a mobile version of a guest suite at the Ritz-Carlton…the Corniche V is no exception. The leather is hand-cut, hand-stitched, and hand-fitted by Connolly Brothers. The Corniche V is one of the last automobiles to benefit the TLC by this eminent leather crafter.  Connolly Brothers were in business from 1878 until the company ceased operations in 2002.

The lounge-style seats are fluted and contoured to cradle the body comfortably. Luxurious handcrafted burr walnut veneers and plush Wilton 100% wool carpets adds an air of exclusivity. Classic luxury touches include organ-stop ventilation controls, chrome plated accents, and analog instrumentation. Everything in the Corniche V is power assisted…all one has to do is steer and operate the pedals.

Corniche V 15

Corniche V 16

Corniche V 17

Corniche V 10

Corniche V 3

The power, fully automatic folding fabric roof stows inward in its own locker to create a trim appearance. The roof in the raised position resembles a hardtop coupé inside. A wool headliner conceals all hardware and insulation. The top opens and closes swiftly at the touch of a button with no intervention required.

The fifth generation Corniche had a hefty base price starting at $359,000 USD. Only 374 were built during its tenure from 2000 until 2002. This luxurious land yacht has a base weight of 6,836 pounds. It has the luxury length of 212.8″, is 80.7″ wide and rides upon a long 120.5″ wheelbase.

Corniche V 6

Corniche V 7

If you have ever driven a Rolls Royce, or just as a passenger…you immediately notice that this is no ordinary automobile. It’s unlike any motorcar you have ever experienced. The Spirit of Ecstasy out in front of you completes the sensation of soaring…gliding effortlessly. Boulevard travel intrusion is negligible. The Corniche V negotiates the pavement with a uniquely regal authority. The road management system includes a four-wheel independent suspension with adaptive ride control.

The “thinking” suspension automatically calibrates itself intuitively. Its electronic self-leveling system is augmented by electronic stability and damping controls. Four-wheel power assisted anti-lock disc brakes are ventilated for rapid heat dissipation to provide safe, fade-free operation. The dual hydraulic master cylinder is designed for independent front and rear braking systems. Should one system fail, each wheel will still be halted individually. This sophisticated network comes together to refine the exclusive Rolls Royce magic carpet ride.

Spirit of Ecstasy 1

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Corniche V 20

The Rolls Royce Corniche is the most prized motorcar of the 20th and 21st century. It’s an enviable combination of sporting characteristics, notorious luxury, and extraordinary comfort. It remains in the spotlight as the ultimate grand touring automobile. The Corniche is the celebrity among Rolls Royce motorcars. It augments the lifestyles of the rich and the famous. The Corniche began its tenure in 1971 as a coachbuilt motorcar by Mulliner Park Ward available as a two-door fixedhead coupé and a two-door drophead coupé. Its evolution spanned five distinctive series.

The Corniche V is the last Rolls Royce to motor out of the legendary Crewe facility on August 30, 2002. Corniche Series I-IV are based upon the Rolls Royce Silver Shadow. The Corniche Series V inherits its look from the Rolls Royce Silver Seraph. Corniche Series V is the only Rolls Royce model built upon a Bentley platform powered by a turbocharged V8 engine. All two-door Rolls Royce coupé models are handcrafted and built at a highly restricted pace. The elite Corniche models take their place in automotive history as one of the longest and most successful production runs in the history of the brand. The Crewe built Rolls Royce remains the pride of the UK…and the sheer envy of the entire world –

Corniche V 21

Special Thanks to Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars: http://www.schmitt.com, Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum: http://www.parkwardmotorsmuseum.com, and Balmoral UK: http://www.balmoraluk.com, These are three of the most eminent caretakers of the brand in the industry. For all of your special interest automobile needs whether it be sales or service, or even restoration, I highly recommend them. Tell ’em Greg sent you!

Park Ward

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 7

1959 Rolls Royce HJ Mulliner drophead coupé

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 1

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 3

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 5

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 8

1959 Silver Cloud II Mulliner Drophead 6

Schmitt 1

1962 Rolls Royce HJ Mulliner drophead coupé

Schmitt 2

Schmitt 3

1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Drophead coupé III 1

1963 Rolls Royce Mulliner Park Ward drophead coupé

1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud Drophead coupé III 2

1985 Corniche I 4

1985 Rolls Royce Corniche coachbuilt drophead coupé by MPW

1985 Corniche I 7

1985 Corniche I 5

1985 Corniche I

The pride of the UK…and the envy of the entire world

Corniche V

The Rolls Royce Corniche is NotoriousLuxury

Signature

Greg’s World is NotoriousLuxury