Wendell’s Unique World of Papercraft

Posted in Editorials, Notoriously Outrageous with tags , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2017 by 99MilesPerHour

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I thought I’d switch gears and take a break from the ordinary and focus on the extraordinary. Let’s travel into the world of Wendell Koch. I remember the first time I traveled down his memory lane I had to stop and do a double-take – it looked so real it was surreal! It’s evident that his impetus is a labor of love. Welcome to Wendell’s World. It is a dream with an edge on reality. Who would ever have thought that pieces of paper could come to life in such a remarkable way – he refers to this unique hobby as “Papercraft!” No, the Mercury Grand Marquis above isn’t paper it’s one of Wendell’s favorite cars…this is his tribute. NotoriousLuxury salutes him  for an outstanding contribution to the world of Auto Art – 

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Compare the real Lincoln at the bottom to Wendell’s work above

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Papercraft “Vacation” Family Truckster Ford wagon 

His totally unique craft caught my eye a couple of years ago. These are so fantastic I had to share them with my audience. This is a change from anything you’ve ever seen. Wendell Koch is a good guy who has been dealt a bad hand in the card game of life. He has been a musician and a musical instrument instructor.

A debilitating disease he contracted as a child had been dormant for years now forced him into an early retirement. It attacked his respiratory system and left him with mobility issues because of muscle atrophy. But that didn’t rain on his parade! To interact with Wendell…one would never know the cross he bears because of his enthusiasm and spirit which is due in no small part to his positive mental attitude. I admire his indomitable stamina. He LOVES cars…so does his loving wife!

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Wendell is a lot like me with his love for cars. He too fell in love with cars at an early age. Throughout his early years he was surrounded by cars. (like I was) He said all of his toys were cars. Wendell’s parents supported his hobby avidly. He comes from a “car-loving” family. His dad and two brothers collected real antique cars. Wendell himself collected real cars from the 1930s thru the 1970s with great enthusiasm. Due to his illness he was forced to liquidate his beloved collection which forced him into a deep depression.

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This is one of my favorites! Check out the 1956 Nomad wagon, and 1955 Pontiac Safari wagon in the rear left hand side. The right hand foreground is a 1956 Ford wagon and behind it is a 1956 Plymouth wagon. These are really neat the way they resemble the real life vehicles they represent. Wendell’s work involves vehicles that never made it to plastic or die-cast models, which I think is great. It gives collectors the cars we really want to see replicated in miniature. Wendell has the staunch approval of his wife who supports his talent 100%. He says she is also his biggest critic!

Cars of Yesteryear: The complexity of creating older cars 

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According to Wendell, it’s the older cars which presents the biggest challenge to re-create. The curves of the hoods, fat fenders, and tail fins do not work well replicated on paper brought into 3-D. The pre 1961 vehicles are the hardest he says.

Per Wendell: “I did design and make some 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s cars. They required a lot more time and work. An example of this is my Father’s 1935 Ford wrecker (above) that he had used in his auto repair business. This truck had many separate parts to cut out and keep adding to the truck. There was never a photo taken of my Dad’s wrecker, I had to do it by memory and with the aid of a Ford truck book to help with accuracy. His 1940 repair shop is shown in the background.” Wendell is talented wouldn’t you agree?

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1935 Chevy Hay truck

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1932 Ford Coupe and 1957 Plymouth from the “California Kid”

This illness didn’t stop Wendell! He fine-tuned this art which has become his therapy to take his mind off of his infirmities. It’s interesting how it all began. His father made his first paper vehicle for him in the late 1950s. He took a piece of paper, hand etched the vehicle design – cut it out and taped it together. This tweaked Wendell’s curiosity as it would any kid. His dad’s love for cars rubbed off on him. Wendell experimented through the years on and off.  It was the mid-1990s when Wendell’s talent flourished. He designed and made two paper cars. One was a 1977 Mercury Grand Marquis fashioned after his own real car and the other was a 1977 Buick Electra fashioned after a friend’s car.

It took Wendell a few months to create the templates. He sketched every part of each car ensuring all details were accurate. The computer has since taken Wendell’s art to new heights in his Papercraft art. After experimentation, this man created the brilliant works displayed throughout this article. I tell you, I was incensed the moment I saw them on eBay where you may also purchase these unique works. I have purchased many, and from personal experience…I am amazed! They look just like the real cars. When you cut them out and tape them together they actually come to life. Display them with your 1/24 & 1/25 scale models and they really stand out! They add a realm of realism to your collection.

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1957 Plymouth from the “California Kid” and “Christine” right

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1955 Imperial limousine

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“Other vehicles that are similar to this in complexity were the 1956 Rolls Royce from the movie starring Dudley Moore “Arthur,”  and “The California Kid” with the 1934 Ford coupe along with the 1957 Plymouth police car. So are the blood-thirsty 1958 Plymouth Fury from Stephen King’s “Christine,” “The Addams Family’s” Packard, “Batman’s” Batmobile, and Col. Klink’s Mercedes from the TV sitcom “Hogan’s Heroes.” They all were fun to make but each one took quite a few months to complete. The Batmobile took the longest to make (4 months) and it required the most parts added on to it. The Gotham City police station is a printout and you will see the difference in quality as compared to background settings described later on in this article”

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Batmobile & Gotham City Police Car

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What a combination this is! On the left is Col. Klink’s Mercedes-Benz from Hogan’s Heroes” next to it is “The Addams Family” Packard and “Itts” Messerschmitt! (Of course you remember Itt!) This is absolutely amazing how Wendell brought pieces of paper to life in such a magical way. You really have to look closely to see that they are paper!

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A real custom Ford coupe

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“Back to the future”

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The Ford Anglia from Harry Potter

Wendell adds: “I have since stopped making any foreign vehicles and cars that require a complex build. The demand for one piece paper cut-out 1970’s American vehicles is all I can handle. All years of other American cars now are on permanent hold for the time being. The requests for 1970s American cars which come in every week, is astounding. These are easier for me to create using my established templates and I can get one finished in about a month.”

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Wendell LOVES the real Mercury Grand Marquis

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Background details: From town to auto dealerships

Per Wendell: “I started using a town background found on the internet to showcase the cars. The type of background was nice but got boring because I was using it for all my pics. I had to come up with something else. I then switched to dealerships with actual period correct advertisements. I created the car dealerships to help promote the look of the cars that are displayed for sale. The dealership backgrounds are for sale as well. They are the same size as my vehicles and will also compliment 1/24 & 1/25 scale model kits and promos.

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1975 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser with town background

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1975 Pontiac Grandville convertible with top up

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1975-1978 Ford Country Squire station wagon 

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1976 Oldsmobile Delta 88 4-door hardtop sedan

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I am using real cars to contrast Wendell’s talent

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Papercraft 1975-1978 Mercury Colony Park wagon 

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1975 Pontiac Grandville convertible with top up

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Now this is really, really, interesting here. Look at the detail Wendell has added to these! They are the Papercraft 1972 Dodge Polara Highway Patrol cars! The cars at the back look like they are real don’t they? I had to look when I uploaded the photo to make sure they are paper! You GO Wendell!

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Papercraft 1975 Chevrolet Caprice 4-door sedan

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Now here are the auto dealership backgrounds. This is a Chrysler showroom with the Papercraft Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue. If it weren’t for the cut-out at the bottom, it would be hard to tell if these are photos of a real Chrysler!

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Well if it isn’t “Uncle Buck” outside a Lincoln Mercury dealer!

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Papercraft 1977 Mercury Cougar Villager wagon

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Papercraft 1977 Lincoln Mark V Bill Blass Edition

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Papercraft 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car sedan

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Wendell’s World includes a 1979 Continental limousine

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Ah, the real 1976 T-Bird…the Papercraft versions would be better than this! These cars were dubbed Ford’s luxury lemons for a reason. Maybe Wendell will give us a 1976 Thunderbird? (The paper version will most likely outlast the original)

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Here’s a GM showroom with the 1976 Olds 98 Regency 4-door

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1976 Oldsmobile 98 Regency coupe – don’t they look real?

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Wendell’s rendition of the Imperial is spot-on!

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Now for the trucks…this is the Papercraft 1971-1972 Fargo (Dodge) Tradesman Maxivan…are these real or what?

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Papercraft 1991 Chevrolet Suburban with 2-tone colors

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 Papercraft 1974 International Harvester Travelall Woody Wagon

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Wendell’s dealership backgrounds are very authentic

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Papercraft 1980 GMC Indy Hauler short bed

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Burt Reynolds from the movie “White Lightning”

“The T.V. and movie vehicle background scenery pictures were found on the internet. They are not print outs, I use my computer screen which makes a really clear picture. Sometimes a picture does not print out well and looks much better on the screen. I tried to recreate The California Kid downhill chase from the movie along with actual scenes from the movies. Rambo First Blood and the Burt Reynolds movie White Lightning. My computer screen also supplied the Hawaiian background to the original Hawaii Five-O T.V. show 1968 Mercury Parklane Brougham and the house background from the movie Christmas Vacation.”

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Steve McGarrett & his 1968 Mercury Parklane from the TV Series Hawaii 5-O. Look at the detail Wendell captured in the Mercury!

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The original 1970 Mercury Marquis Brougham

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Rambo First Blood

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“The California Kid” downhill chase…

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“Christmas Vacation” RV with Cousin Eddie!

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Wendell even captured the rust on Uncle Buck’s Mercury!

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Who couldn’t love the whimsical movie “Cars!”

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Check out Smoky & The Bandit

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Buford T. Justice Pontiac Lemans with Smokey & The Bandit 

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As you may clearly see, these paper vehicles take many man hours to complete. They all reflect Wendell Koch’s labor of love. It’s the astonishing detail that grabbed my attention. Look at how each contains intricate detail – and all made from paper!

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The Dukes of Hazzard! “EEEEEHA!”

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Wendell even captured Cooter’s Towing service

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Now it wouldn’t be complete without “The Rockford Files!”

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And lest we forget “The Junkman!”

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1976 Cadillac Sedan deVille

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1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five limousine

Talent is contributed to the world of art in many forms. It’s this diverse creativity that offers everyone something to tickle their fancy. Wendell Koch has a unique gift. Who would ever have thought a piece of paper could be brought to life in such a way? His unique talent requires a vivid imagination. Wendell puts a lot of himself into his works of art.

He says that it takes his mind off his health issues. I admire how this man thinks. He’s not sitting around feeling sorry for himself…no, it’s just the opposite. His passion for the automobile is evident. Wendell’s very own anime is a delightful change from the ordinary. NotoriousLuxury is dedicated to take the automotive enthusiast beyond the ordinary straight to the extraordinary. You gotta hand it to Wendell – this is unique! NotoriousLuxury salutes Wendell Koch and his exclusive Papercar Art.

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Here’s a Mercury Grand Marquis for you Wendell! It isn’t “paper” but it is a little something just for you! After all…you’ve given so much of yourself to the world of art – so enjoy! God Bless you Wendell Koch, the entire world loves ya!

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Welcome to Greg’s World of NotoriousLuxury © 2017

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Thank you Wendell Koch for your gift!

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1979 Lincoln Continental Collector’s Series

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The Mercury was nicknamed “The poor man’s Lincoln”

 

The Elite 1960 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

Posted in Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Editorials with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2017 by 99MilesPerHour

The formidable Eldorado legend continues…

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…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Once upon a time in America there was a thing called the luxury automobile. These fabulous cars are a city block long and half a city block wide. They float along the road like a big ‘ole rollin’ Barco lounger. The elegance and prestige lineages evolved through impeccable craftsmanship, America was renowned for such. The Cadillac motorcar became the most enviable of all automotive legacies. The Cadillac name was a byword for superlative in any field of endeavor…

The Fleetwood division meticulously handcrafted the finest automobiles to motor out of Detroit, Michigan. The most eminent and revered models were Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs. They are the last of the hand-built motorcars. The Brougham augmented the Fleetwood model hierarchy as the epitome of elegance. They were the most luxurious owner-driven sedans from the brand. The 1960 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham is the last of this distinguished coachbuilt series. NotoriousLuxury presents an encore performance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Eldorado Broughams are among the rarest of all Cadillac motorcars. They were coachbuilt by Fleetwood for the 1957 through the 1958 model years in Detroit. These luxury sedans required countless hours of manpower while in theatre, because of the extensive handcrafting that was involved in order to build them. They slowed the Fleetwood assembly line tremendously. These magnificent Broughams sold for an ostentatious $13,074. Due to the nature of their build, Cadillac didn’t make a profit.

A decision was made to farm out their production to Pininfarina of Italy who are prominent coachbuilders specializing in the world of bespoke craftsmanship. This decision by GM freed the Fleetwood assembly hall to build more of the top-selling Fleetwood models such as the Series Sixty-Special. It was more cost efficient for Cadillac. Pininfarina handbuilt the Brougham for the 1959 and 1960 model years.

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Very little has ever been written about the 1960 Eldorado Brougham. Many automotive enthusiasts have never even seen one. They are elegantly exotic in appearance. It takes the eagle eye to discern them from the standard Cadillac models for 1960. These were the most opulent custom crafted models in the Cadillac model range. The Eldorado Brougham was so swank, it was only briefly mentioned in the sales brochure. Interested clients were advised to contact a Cadillac dealer for details because the car was so highly bespoke –

It’s the Cadillac of Cadillacs and the finest expression of the new era in automotive design. The 1957-1958 Detroit-built Series 70 Eldorado Broughams were totally exclusive from other Cadillac models sharing no sheet metal or trim. The 1959-1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Broughams shared mechanical components, floor platforms, dash panels, wheels, bumpers, fender skirts, and headlamp bezels with other Fleetwood models.

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1957-1958 Cadillac Series 70 Eldorado Brougham

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1960 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

Pininfarina hand-built the custom bodyshells. This added a romantic aura to this ultra-exclusive model…what could be more alluring than an Italian hand-built Cadillac? None of the standard Cadillac sheet metal was integrated into the Brougham. The roofline and glass are totally unique to the glamorous Italian-built Broughams.

The 1960 Brougham is the styling-lead to the 1961 Cadillac model design. This is apparent in the windshield, roof design, and lower overall silhouette. The Brougham’s sleek pillarless design is highlighted by smaller power rear quarter windows that automatically open when the coordinating rear door opens for ease of entry and exit. The Broughams are crafted a tad bit lower than standard Cadillac models. 

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1960 Cadillac Series 6400 Eldorado Seville hardtop coupé

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1960 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

There’s very little to distinguish the Brougham from a head-on view. Many dispute the fact the 1960 Eldorado Brougham isn’t totally unique from the rest of the standard Cadillac and Eldorado models. Due to the fact that the Broughams were not top-selling models, it wasn’t feasible to make them as exclusive as the 1957-1958 Detroit-built models. They had their own separate set of production tooling and dies than the standard 1957-1958 Cadillac models. The proof is in the photos, YOU be the judge.

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The custom crafted 1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham has an intriguing rear end design. It has tail lamps that are modified slightly and built into the bumper nacelles elegantly. The upper slim recessed taillamps from the standard models are eliminated. The Brougham’s tail fins are trimmed lower. It introduced lower body fins called “Skegs” which would be featured on all Cadillac models for 1961 and 1962. The Eldorado has always featured styling that would eventually be found on other Cadillac motorcars.

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Cadillac featured a gracious styling continuity when it reigned as the “Standard of the World.” The 1961 Cadillac Series 6300 Sedan deVille shown displays the 1960 Eldorado Brougham inspired roofline and glass.

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The lower fins aka “kegs” balanced the styling theme gracefully

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The Brougham’s expanse of glass influenced the 1961 Cadillacs

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The tail fin design of the 1960 Eldorado Brougham isn’t as radical as the standard Cadillac models. The iconic tail fins were starting to disappear. The Eldorado Brougham has an overall lower profile.

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The Eldorado Brougham is almost verbatim up front

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The Eldorado Brougham has a customized appearance

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1960 Cadillac Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

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The 1960 Eldorado Brougham is built as body on frame construction. Cadillac’s rugged tubular-center X-frame permits a lower body design for improved appearance, and enhanced stability with a lower center of gravity. The majestic Eldorado Brougham has the same dimensions as the Eldorado Biarritz and Eldorado Seville except for its height. It has the luxury length of 225” with a low 55” height and is 79.9” wide. It rides upon a long 130” wheelbase. Model #60-69 body style #6929P 1960 Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham four-door hardtop sedan had a base price of $13,075 and only 101 were built.

The 1960 Eldorado Brougham was the most expensive American automobile for the day. There was no better symbol of one’s success than to view the world from behind the wheel of an Eldorado Brougham. This was a supreme achievement in motoring. Bigger is better was the premise behind these luxury land yachts. It was all about those “Car wars” – every American automobile manufacturer stretched the limits in design. Luxury was the theme. No one really cared about fuel economy because the cost of a gallon of petrol was insignificant.

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Cadillac was the undisputed luxury leader. Harley Earl and Bill Mitchell, chief designers for GM, created automotive masterpieces for the 1950s – 1960s. The Eldorado Brougham epitomized the Cadillac brand with an eloquence no other motorcar could replicate. These handcrafted beauties command top dollar, many of which fetch at least six figures today. They will never be forgotten. Cadillac at the time, was considered as prolific opulence…the envy of the driveway…the “Standard of the World” was the most desired luxury automobile in the entire world.

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These magnificent motorcars were decadently luxurious. The custom tailored interiors were completely in character with Cadillac. This is eloquence in the grand Cadillac tradition. There were two sumptuous broadcloth styles and all leather trim available. Deep plush nylon or mouton carpets were available to lavishly complete the experience tastefully. As far as appointments and amenities – it was a luxury car complete.

Virtually every comfort and luxury feature was provided in the grand Cadillac manner. Standard equipment includes: a heating and air conditioning system, electric door locks, power trunk release, signal-seeking radio with power antenna, two electric clocks (one for front seat passengers and another for the rear compartment), remote control outside rearview mirror, power windows, power vent windows, cruise control, power 6-way front seat, automatic parking brake release, Guidematic headlamp dimmer, power steering & brakes, and air suspension.

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The Eldorado Brougham epitomized the Cadillac brand…

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The Brougham was the most luxurious owner-driven model 

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The 1960 Eldorado Brougham is powered by the Cadillac 6.4 litre 16-valve 390 CID V8 engine. This naturally aspirated powerplant is equipped with three Rochester 2-bbl carburetors in the formidable Eldorado tradition with equalized manifolding, mechanical fuel pump, dry-pack type air cleaner, overhead valves, hydraulic lifters, intake silencer and automatic choke. The engine is mounted at three points in rubber.

This superb Cadillac V8 cranked 345 hp @ 4,800 rpm with 590 Nm of peak torque @ 3,400 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 10.7 seconds, 0-100 mph in 29.7 seconds with a top speed in the 124 mph ungoverned range. It can do the ¼ mile @ 82 mph in just 17.9 seconds. Remember, this is a 5,420 pound all-iron land yacht with NO aerodynamics. Eldorado models were always tuned to be the most spirited performers of all Cadillacs. 

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The engine is mated to GM’s Jetaway/Flashaway Hydra-Matic 4-speed automatic transmission without torque converter. Hydra-Matic Drive is the step-gear type with controlled fluid coupling on the forward gear-set which delivers nearly imperceptible shifting. These transmissions provided two drive ranges – the left hand position reduces engine speed to increase economy.

For more efficient hill climbing and descending, the right hand position is used to improve acceleration with the first, second, and third gears available. This selection is used to increase the engine braking effort when descending grades. Lo-range is available for driving in deep sand, mud, or snow. This range is also useful for very steep inclines where only first and second gears are required. The famous Hydra-Matic Drive is a highly efficient and reliable transmission…in fact, this was so reliable and efficient that Rolls Royce adapted it into their automobiles back in the day –

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The famous Cadillac Red-Carpet ride was also the envy of the industry. The front suspension uses the traditional upper and lower control arms with spherical joints and helical coil springs. The rear suspension is the Cadillac 4-link drive with helical coil springs. The Eldorado Brougham came standard with air suspension. It is set up with individual air springs in rubber bags at each wheel that would automatically maintain the correct ride height for optimum performance and perfect poise regardless of load or road conditions.

The rubber bags were pressurized by an electric motor regulated by leveling valves. It also had manual height control to adjust for steep sloping driveways and inclines. Sadly, this idealistic system was unreliable and prone to fail at embarrassing times forcing the driver to “limp” into the dealership for repairs that did not last. The 1960 model year was the last time Cadillac used air suspensions.

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The Eldorado Broughams were more of an “image car” for General Motors. They are among the few Cadillac models that did not make a profit for the division. They are also the rarest of the rare Cadillac models with 400 built for the 1957 model year, 304 for 1958, 99 built for 1959, and 101 built for 1960. The 1957-1958 Detroit-built Eldorado Broughams are certified milestone vehicles by the Milestone Car Society which is dedicated to distinctive domestic and foreign motorcars built during the first two post-war decades.

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1957-1958 Cadillac Series 70 Eldorado Brougham

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1959 Cadillac Series 6900 Eldorado Brougham

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Special thanks to Jim Hailey & Daniel Schmitt & Bob Adams

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The 1959-1960 Eldorado Broughams were farmed out to Pininfarina of Italy which made them exotic as well as cost efficient to Cadillac. This move freed the Fleetwood assembly hall to build more of the Series Sixty-Special, Eldorado Biarritz, and Eldorado Seville models which outsold the Broughams. The 1959-1960 Italian-built models did not have the superior build quality of the Detroit-built models. They required a lot of extra hand finishing and electrical work by the Fleetwood division once the cars were returned to the USA.

They were more of a liability than an asset at the time. These cars have a charisma among collectors despite the issues they had. Ultra-luxury cars such as these are examples of American extravagance for the day. They epitomized the Cadillac brand with their coachbuilt enigma. The 1960 Eldorado Brougham leaves its indelible impression…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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Welcome to Greg’s World of NotoriousLuxury © 2017

It’s Yesterday Once More: The Incomparable 1968 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Notorious Retrospect with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2017 by 99MilesPerHour

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…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns”

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Cadillac Style – “The only way to travel…is Cadillac Style.” What is Cadillac Style? A Cadillac Fleetwood is Cadillac Style. This is Cadillac in its most eminent form. Fleetwood used to do all upholstery work for every Cadillac model…but a Cadillac Fleetwood is a very very special version of the epochal “Standard of the World.” Fleetwood crafted the entire car. It was so special during its heyday, it had its own dedicated assembly line.  A Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac was crafted by talented artisans to be not only the finest automobile in the world…but it was also the paradigm of all luxury sedans.

The only two-door Fleetwood model ever, is the magnificent Fleetwood Eldorado. (Excluding the mid-1980s Fleetwood Brougham two-door coupé as it is merely a Coupe deVille with a custom padded roof and Brougham-style interior…it was not an exclusive Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac) The most notable are the 1967 – 1970 Fleetwood Eldorado model years. They are the pioneers for Cadillac’s front-wheel drive models. The 1968 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado makes a cameo appearance…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

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The majestic Fleetwood series catapulted Cadillac to “Standard of the World” status. These ultra-luxurious motorcars were crafted mostly by hand and augmented the Cadillac model hierarchy annually. For the 1968 model year, the fabulous Fleetwood Eldorado was in its second production year as the world’s foremost personal luxury car.

It was the only automobile in its class to offer the impressive traction of front wheel drive…Automatic Level Control to maintain its poise regardless of load or road conditions…and the maneuverability of Variable Ratio Power Steering – all as standard amenities. Model #68-693 Body Style #69347H 1968 Fleetwood Eldorado two-door coupé had a base price of $6,605. It debuted September 21, 1967 and a total of 24,528 were built for the model year. The Fleetwood Eldorado is a unique expression of Cadillac excellence.

Timeless in styling, superb Cadillac engineering, and impeccable craftsmanship…to put it simply – the Fleetwood Eldorado was designed to be one of the finest production automobiles in the world. It introduced a completely new concept which placed it in a class no other motorcar could match. GM is the purveyor of the personal luxury automobile.

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GM was the first American automobile manufacturer to offer front-wheel drive since the 1936-1937 Cord 810/812 series. It was the Oldsmobile Toronado that started the dance. It used the GM “E” platform from the 1963 Buick Riviera. The Oldsmobile Toronado was introduced in 1965 as a 1966 model. One year later the 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado was introduced. The Eldorado, Toronado, and Riviera all shared the same platform; however, the Buick Riviera didn’t adopt front-wheel drive until the 1979 model year. Cadillac fine-tuned the Eldorado to suit the most demanding connoisseur.

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Big news for Cadillac’s 1968 model year is the introduction of an all-new powerplant. Cadillac V8 engines were legendary and this one is no exception. It is the largest engine to power a passenger production automobile for the 1968 model year – 

The spirited 7.7 litre 16-valve 472 CID V8 cranks an impressive 375 hp @ 4,400 rpm packing a prolific punch with 712 Nm of peak torque @ 3,000 rpm. Cadillac’s unsurpassed craftsmanship was never more evident. It is equipped with a Rochester 4-bbl downdraft Quadrajet carburetor with equalized manifold, mechanical fuel pump, dry-type air filter, and a new automatic choke. An Air Injection Reactor system was introduced to reduce hydrocarbons in the exhaust. The engine is built with a cast iron block and cylinder heads, overhead valves, and hydraulic lifters.

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Cadillac engineers spent many years developing this powerful new V8 engine. It underwent over half a million miles of lab testing to study performance and fatigue life of engine components. This rigorous fatigue testing was far more punishment than would be experienced during the life of the car. Radioactive isotopes determined oil consumption. It was not only lab tested, it was taken out into the real world for over two million miles of road testing on every type of road in all-weather conditions. To date, this was only the fourth time Cadillac designed completely new engine architecture.

The first Cadillac V8 engine was designed in 1914, the second in 1936, and the third is the monumental 1949 version with an overhead valve design that utilized wedge-shaped combustion chambers for higher compression ratios. Cadillac is the first automobile manufacturer in the USA to build a production V-type water-cooled 8 cylinder engine by the way. Cadillac received accolades for the 1914 V8 instantly for its quiet, efficient operation, and notorious dependability. The 472 CID V8 shows the same dedication to quality. For example, every crankshaft in a Cadillac engine was dynamically balanced which means it is balanced while rotating. This is done to cancel vibration for enhanced overall operation.

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The 472 CID V8 aggrandized the 1968 Fleetwood Eldorado’s performance. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 8.1 seconds, 0-100 mph in 22.4 seconds with an ungoverned top speed in the 128 mph range. The engine is mated to the GM Turbo Hydra-Matic THM 425 3-speed automatic front-wheel drive transmission. Cadillac adopted the Olds Toronado’s “Unified Powerplant Package”(UPP). This technical engineering was a unique manner of transferring the engine’s power directly to the front wheels. The longitudinal mounted engine/transmission configuration is driven by a silent chain that changed the direction of power by 180 degrees.

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Body by Fleetwood

A Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac is unequalled in all of motordom. Uncompromised luxury and elegance with impeccable fit and finish highlighted the majestic Fleetwood series. It’s preeminence in the luxury car segment is without conjecture the finest expression of automotive excellence. The Fleetwood Eldorado’s long, low architecture was like nothing else on the road at the time. Cadillac had once again created an automotive masterpiece.

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Its stunning front end ensemble is augmented by hidden headlamps. The outer ends of the wide egg crate grille work opens downward to expose the twin headlamp clusters. The parking lamps are relocated from the bumper to the fenders. Those prominent knife-blade fenders run the entire length of the car’s architecture separate from the body ending at the rear with sharp, angular end caps housing the taillamps. Both hood and rear deck lid are sculpted to compliment the Fleetwood Eldorado’s dramatic design. The rear end styling is equally intriguing. The shark fin design with a deeply contoured bumper gives the car a futuristic flair.

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The Fleetwood Eldorado’s avant-garde silhouette retains the poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac of the genre. The hood is one of the longest in the industry, it had been lengthened to provide a cove to hide the windshield wipers cleverly. Cars from this period are styled with a long nose and short rear deck. The Fleetwood Eldorado sports this design well.

The long low roofline with wide rear sail panels uses small rear quarter windows for privacy. A contoured back glass completed the look of luxury tastefully. The Cadillac Eldorado has always been the styling predictor which showcased designs that would eventually find their way to other Cadillac models. It is the 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado that highly influenced the styling for the 1969-1970 Cadillac Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood models.

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1970 Coupe deVille and the 1968 Fleetwood Eldorado

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1967 Fleetwood Eldorado

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The comfort zone…

Welcome to the inner world of Fleetwood Eldorado. It’s luxury on the grand Cadillac scale in the gracious Fleetwood manner. This is elegance modern cars cannot replicate. The comfort of the wide notchback front seat rivals that of your living room sofa. Have a seat…pull down the padded standard front seat center armrest. Adjust the optional 6-way power seat. Relax in traditional Cadillac luxury.

One of the benefits of front-wheel drive is the absence of the transmission tunnel hump which equates to more legroom for passengers to stretch out. Activate the optional Automatic Climate Control – set the temperature – no further intervention is necessary. Automatically lock both doors with one touch from the optional power door lock button for added security and peace of mind. The instrument panel has been revised with more padding for safety.

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There are two cloth styles for 1968 available for Fleetwood Eldorado. Deauville and Diamond cloth with vinyl bolsters adds character. The optional full leather trim provides not only a regal touch of distinction but also adds longevity to the interior. The optional Strato bucket seats lends a unique sporting appeal to Fleetwood Eldorado’s demeanor. The bucket seat style interior comes with head restraints and a locking center console. The passenger seat has an optional recliner. All interior knobs and switches have been redesigned to be safer to lessen injury.

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Structural logistics

The 1968 Fleetwood Eldorado is a large, comfortable automobile unlike the dinky under-embellished puddle jumpers with front-wheel drive made today. It’s built as body on frame construction. The fully boxed perimeter frame has hidden bulkheads for safety and is specially designed for front-wheel drive. These cars float along; boulevard travel is negligible.

Its torsion bar front suspension has upper and lower control arms with rubber bushings to absorb road shock and cancels vibration before it reaches the cabin. The rear suspension is equipped with single-leaf springs, two horizontal and two vertical shock absorbers. Cadillac’s exclusive Automatic level Control was standard on all Fleetwood models to maintain vehicle poise under any load or road conditions. The Fleetwood Eldorado has the luxury length of 221”, is 80” wide, 53” in height, and rides upon a long 120” wheelbase.   

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The luxury leader – Cadillac Style

Cadillac’s engineering prowess was never more evident. Apart from the all-new V8 engine, the Fleetwood Eldorado for 1968 is bristling with bravado. Cadillac’s triple braking system highlights its safety features. The power braking system is equipped with unique self-adjusting shoes and heat dissipating drums. The brakes automatically calibrate themselves each time the car is driven in reverse and the brakes applied.

The sophisticated hydraulic master cylinder uses two separate reservoirs to provide independent operation of the front and rear brakes. In the event one system fails, the other will bring the car safely to a halt. The parking brake is a true auxiliary brake. Its automatic power vacuum release will not lock in position with the engine running and the vehicle in gear. Front disc brakes were optional. Cadillac led the industry with innovation and technology that took the competition years to catch up.

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For the 1968 model year Cadillac further enhanced its reputation as the “Standard of the World.” The 1967-1970 Fleetwood Eldorado is a milestone vehicle. It was created by Bill Mitchell chief designer for General Motors. The Eldorados from this genre were unlike any Cadillac that preceded them. The personal luxury car had been under research and tested as early as 1961. It was designed to be a large and luxurious Cadillac with traditional virtues yet contemporary acclaim…Cadillac Style – 

The Fleetwood Eldorado is tomorrow’s classic today.  With its Cadillac Style and gracious appointments, the 1968 Fleetwood Eldorado in my opinion is one of the foremost motorcars to bear the charismatic “Standard of the World” title. It retains the poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. This is what made the brand the most desired luxury car in the entire world – it’s a shame the brand sank into obscurity. It’s going to take a miracle for the brand to return to its exponential integrity to save it from the mediocrity it currently resides. So, after DTS…CTS…ATS…XTS…and CT6, what’s next – the OMG?

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This editorial is dedicated to “That Hartford Guy!”                                                This one’s for you…kid –  

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Here’s your baby immortalized for prosperity!

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The formidable 1970 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado

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The 1967 Eldorado-inspired 1970 Cadillac Coupe deVille

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There’s no more deep-seated luxury like this

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1968 Fleetwood Eldorado custom convertible

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Here’s a dream with a little bit of fantasy from the creative master Casey Art & Colour http://artandcolourcars.blogspot.com/

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This is his Eldorado to counter Lincoln’s Continental

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

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“As the Standard of the World Turns” is Greg’s World

2017 Bentley Mulsanne: A Trilogy of Luxury

Posted in Bentley, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Luxury Sedans with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

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“Big Ben’s” rise to ultimate success reads like a modern-day “Cinderfella” story. Poor little understudy, Bentley…was always in the shadows. As its wicked step sibling – Rolls Royce – rode off on its high horse stealing the publicity and limelight…Bentley was left behind to clean the stables. The once formidable track star – which negotiated the chicanes and the Mulsanne Straight winning numerous events in the grueling 24 hours of LeMans – was reduced to a badge engineered clone. Today’s Bentley…the all-new Bentley – is now at home behind gated estates AND is parked right beside Rolls Royce at the country club sharing the spotlight equally.

Bentley has catapulted from being a humble Rolls Royce throwback…straight to eminent immortality. The flagship of the fleet is the iconic Bentley Mulsanne. It has swiftly established its reputation in the ultra-luxury car segment being part limousine and part performance saloon. The ultra-exclusive Bentley Mulsanne is one of the world’s fastest four-door saloons. “Big Ben” is back with a vengeance and a thirst for adventure. It has carved its own niche as a new breed of luxury with three distinctive models: Mulsanne, Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase, and Mulsanne Speed. This is a unique Trilogy of Luxury – each offers its own poised dignity which is a hallmark of the brand.

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Alluring new beauty

The Mulsanne totally disregards status quo. Since its inception, it has created its own unique manner of exclusivity in a niche no other motorcar can fill. For 2017, the Bentley Mulsanne features refined new beauty. Its coachwork has been re-tooled for a familiar yet dramatically new appearance. The long, low, wind-cheating architecture draws from its retrospective heritage. The bodywork is etched with a symphony of lines that appear never beginning and never-ending forcing the eyes to roam its entirety in a single appraisal.

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Its facelift creates even more exquisite beauty. Mulsanne represents the pinnacle of elegance in ultra-luxury motoring. Its new refinement begins with a restyled front end ensemble. Everything in front of the “A” pillars has been refreshed adding graceful definition. Mulsanne’s signature styling has been retained yet tastefully updated.

The elegant redesign echoes classic Bentley styling cues. The bold new attributes features all-new front wings and bonnet. Its classic grille work has changed from the previous matrix design to a distinctive wider framed design with dominant vertical stainless-steel vanes. Its familiar LED projector headlamps proudly features the Bentley name. The grille work repeats below the impact-resistant bumper with symmetrical vents for the air induction system.

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Subtle refinement adds panache to the rear end ensemble. Newly designed taillamps highlight Mulsanne’s sculpted look. The previous ellipse style taillamps are replaced with a dramatic LED design which reveals the famous “B” motif. The discreetly modified profile gives Mulsanne a prominent, more upright appeal. Understated dual stainless-steel exhaust ports adds the finishing touch of class.

Superb engineering

The familiar silhouette has undergone a subtle enhancement. Its chiseled new definition adds unique character. Its shoulders are squared off to augment a sweeping new elegance. The side strake vents sports an integrated “B” into its stainless-steel charm. Mulsanne’s beauty is composed of a galvanized steel bodyshell with its front wings, hood and doors made from aluminium. The SMC (Sheet Molding Compound) composite bootlid has an integrated antenna.

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Mulsanne is built like no other. Bentley’s process of hand-brazing yields perfect joins around intricate curves. The bonnet, boot lid, doors, and front wings are crafted using the “Superform Process.” This patented system creates complex panels from a single sheet of product to eliminate body seams and welds. This feature not only eliminates areas for corrosion but also aids aerodynamic efficiency. Each Mulsanne is a consummate blend of design excellence, advanced engineering, and of course… exemplary fit and finish.

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Luxury and innovation

Mulsanne is a showcase of Bentley superlatives. Evolution plays an important role in the continual strive for excellence. The company flagship is one of the world’s most spacious and splendidly appointed saloons. It offers more than inert luxury; it cossets its passengers in technological sophistication. Intelligent electronics and controls assist the driver and elevates passenger comfort.

Advanced chassis refinement with more efficient air springs and hydraulically damped sub-frames eliminates noise 4 decibels more than the previous model. Noise absorbing technology in the tires results in a 50% decrease in peak rolling noise. Mulsanne’s formidable V8 does its part by reducing noise another 25 decibels using a closed loop system to cancel vibration.

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The most elegant occasion seldom surpass the splendor of the journey in the Bentley Mulsanne that took you there. The epochal Bentley brand is epitomized by the luxury and distinction of the Mulsanne. Its world-class attributes are further exemplified offering three unique expressions of this elite flagship. Each shares the unparalleled opulence that is the essence of the brand.

Mulsanne…Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase…and Mulsanne Speed all create a delightful agony of choice. Whatever model is chosen, rest assured…it will move over the road with an effortless feeling of mastery that confirms its place as the ultimate statement of Bentley engineering. They are three of the most ambitious four-door luxury saloons the world has to offer –

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Mulsanne standard wheelbase is contemporary luxury that methodically repeals the laws governing saloons in its class. This is high performance cloaked in absolute respectability. It cossets its occupants in an exclusive world of supple natural grain leather and rich handcrafted veneers. Most every power assist imaginable is standard fare to augment comfort and convenience.

The Mulsanne received cabin updates for the 2017 model year. Redesigned seats, door trim, armrests, and unique glass switch gear makes it even more opulent. In addition to 24 exquisite hide colors, Mulsanne features an all-new infotainment system and navigation technology. State of the art audio and visual equipment is available to tailor the entertainment system to the owner’s requisites. The Bentley Mulsanne can serve with equal distinction as a high performance touring saloon or the varying roles demanded of a family sedan.

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Luxury with an emphasis on the rear passenger compartment is important to those who prefer to be driven about in style. Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase is 9.8” longer than the standard saloon. This means…rear seat passengers have more legroom and room for special appointments.

Limousine-style seating makes use of the extra inches by incorporating power assisted leg rests into the base of the aircraft inspired lounge seats. These extend outward pivoting as recliners. They make the special world of Mulsanne even more so. This extra exclusive cabin is a 2+2 configuration with front and rear center consoles.

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The exclusivity is augmented with options to make the Mulsanne EWB saloon a highly bespoke masterpiece. Electric rear seat curtains may be requested with a black or champagne lining for the ultimate in privacy. Both rear seats can be ordered with deployable folding tables. A large glass sun roof over the rear cabin may be operated by passengers or the driver. It tilts and slides with an Alcantara sun blind to control light entering the cabin. The extra special accoutrements focused upon the rear seat passenger compartment sets this personal limousine apart from the standard saloon. Bentley Mulsanne is the quintessential flagship replete with an elegant flair all its own. The Mulsanne EWB saloon is luxury and elegance on the grand Bentley scale…in the grand Bentley manner –

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…welcome to elite sophistication

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Rear seat passengers benefit from the all-new “Bentley Entertainment Tablet.” A pair of 10.2” Android devices with 4G Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability are integrated into the front seat backs and deploy at the touch of a button. The Android powered tablets feature Bentley-specific interface with access to over one million Android Apps.

They may also be used away from the car. Each tablet has 32GB on-board storage capability. The system interfaces with the car’s navigation system. Audio/Visual streaming capability is included as part of the Mulsanne’s inter-connectivity along with internet browsing. With a motorcar as highly bespoke as Mulsanne, the client may design their own exclusive suite of infotainment to interface with home or office systems.

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Mulsanne EWB is the epitome of executive-class luxury

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The famous 1929 “Blue Train” Bentley

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Introducing one of the fastest production limos in the world

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The formidable Mulsanne Speed

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The return of the silent sports car…

Mulsanne nomenclature adorned a new breed of Bentley supercars beginning the 1981 model year. Bentley Mulsanne was marketed as “The return of the silent sports car.” This spectacular motorcar revived the Grand Touring tradition with high style and a prolific presence few cars can compete… 

It targets the driver who demands luxury with extraordinary performance combined with European handling and finesse. This is the ultimate statement of Bentley sporting philosophy. The Mulsanne is named after a portion of the tracks at LeMans where drivers reach their highest speeds known as “The Mulsanne Straight.”

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The 2014 Mulsanne Speed blew the doors off its competition

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This is the ride for executives who work…quickly – 

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The illustrious Mulsanne Speed became the most spirited contemporary Bentley model joining the ranks for the 2014 model year. Mulsanne Speed for 2017 is a pulse-invigorating performance saloon that offers substantially more than performance. Talented artisans handcraft rare veneers, high quality natural grain hides, and plush pile carpets into a cabin of unsurpassed comfort and distinction.

Mulsanne Speed remains true to form being a fast sporting machine built in the classic European tradition. Performance, impressive road capabilities, silence, and superb comfort come together in the newest of a historic and elegant line of motorcars that have made Bentley the definitive choice among enthusiasts for well over half a century.

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Mulsanne Speed has its own prominent character

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Here’s a grand touring saloon that does 0-60 in 4.8 seconds

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Mulsanne Speed is one of the most tastefully appointed sporting saloons in the world. A coined finish to door handles, knurled gear shift lever, and “organ stop” ventilation controls gives the cabin its own unique personality. The drilled alloy foot pedals proves the Mulsanne Speed’s pedigree as the ultimate grand tourer. The cabin is as luxurious as it is sporting –

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1929 Bentley 6.5 litre

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The heart and soul of this British masterpiece beats the 6.75 litre light alloy 16-valve OHV twin-turbocharged V8 engine. High revs at low rpm is a Bentley hallmark. This legendary powerplant cranks an astounding 530 hp @ 4,000 rpm packing a prolific punch with 1,100 Nm of peak torque @ 1,750 rpm for the Mulsanne Speed. Mulsanne and Mulsanne EWB offers equally impressive performance pumping 505 hp @ 4,000 rpm with an astounding 1,020 Nm of peak torque at 1,750 rpm.

Its chassis is equally aggressive to accommodate this masterful motorcar. Advanced technology delivers one of the world’s most refined rides with effortless comfort via selectable sports suspension to fine tune the ride to the driver’s preference. This luxury brute is highly capable of performance that would shame a sports car. Longitudinal acceleration for the Mulsanne Speed is rated as 0-60 mph in a mere 4.8 seconds with a top speed in the 190 mph range. While Mulsanne and Mulsanne EWB has longitudinal acceleration rated as 0-60 mph in just 5.1 seconds with a top speed in the 184 mph range.

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High performance is nothing new to any Bentley. From its humble beginnings with its creator W.O. Bentley who initiated the legend to the notorious Bentley Boys that earned consecutive wins from 1927 to 1930 at the grueling 24 hours of LeMans – Bentley EARNED its respect.

Bentley has always been a tad bit more spirited than its Rolls Royce counterpart. It was considered the sporting version of Rolls Royce for the owner who wished to maintain a low profile. Walter Owen Bentley’s motto was “To build a good car, a fast car, and the best in its class.” His cars raced climbing hills at Brooklands…scorching the tracks at the Indy 500, and those famous wins kickin’ up a little dust at LeMans.

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The famous Calais-Méditerranée Express race

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1 of 30 Bentley Arnage Blue Train Limited Editions

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Aside from Mulsanne’s luxurious appeal, there is also a practical sense. Its powerful V8 engine is geared for today’s world. “Big Ben” is the unexpected economy car. The Mulsanne uses technology to reduce overall fuel economy via cylinder deactivation to allow the car to cruise on four cylinders under light vehicle loads.

Cam phasing is also big news in the auto industry. Cam phasers help to increase fuel efficiency by decreasing the power needed to turn the engine over and keep the camshafts in optimal positions at all times. The engine is mated to the energy-efficient 8-speed ZF automatic transmission as part of Mulsanne’s electronic network aimed at reducing fuel consumption. (ahem…if one can afford the car, obviously fuel economy is insignificant…right?)

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Note the styling continuity, the previous Mulsanne saloon remains as tasteful and elegant as the current model. This only proves that good taste is never rendered redundant.

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1973 Bentley T saloon

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“Big Ben” is a highly intuitive luxury saloon equipped with a thinking suspension. It uses an air cushioned system with Continuous Damping Control (CDC) to refine the ride at lower speeds for comfort. It automatically lowers the car’s ride height at higher speeds to aid stability while enhancing vehicle downforce.

Drive Dynamics Control System allows the driver to program the ride operated by a rotary switch mounted next to the gear shift lever. The driver may choose from Bentley, Sport, or Comfort. And if this isn’t sufficient…there is a 4th selection. Custom mode enables the driver to select bespoke settings through Mulsanne’s multimedia system to further fine tune this luxury limo to suit their individual exigencies.

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Mulsanne is a continual source of unparalleled excellence with comfort and convenience beyond the realm of ordinary luxury motorcars. For example…Mulsanne’s “High Beam Assist” automatically dips its high beam headlamps when oncoming vehicles approach to avoid dazzling the eyes of motorists at night.

This electronic system adapts the shape of the light beam according to vehicle speed operating in 4 modes from which to select: Town, Country, Motorway, and High Beam. An ingenious “Blind Spot Warning System” detects vehicles behind the car in its blind spots to predict the possibility of collision. It flashes lights in the door mirrors. Another of Mulsanne’s collision mitigation features is Advanced Automatic Stability Control (ASC) to maintain optimum vehicle poise when needed.

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…The opulent Mulliner Touch

Bespoke is a sine qua non for Mulsanne. Each Bentley is handcrafted to reflect the requisites of its owner. The ultra-exclusive world of Mulsanne is further exemplified by Bentley through an extensive personal commissioning program. Mulliner is the in-house coachbuilder to design an automotive masterpiece that is as uniquely individual as one’s own finger prints. The majestic Mulliner personal commissioning service is limited only by one’s imagination…

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The Mulliner touch immediately escalates Mulsanne to new heights in exclusivity and supremacy which becomes the pinnacle of Bentley luxury and elegance. One such example has been created for George Bamford of Bamford Watch Department. Bamford specializes in the bespoke customization of elegant timepieces.

The Bamford X Bentley Mulliner Mulsanne Speed was designed in an elegant monotone of chic dark hues which is a true reflection of his very own savoir-faire. His signature panache coordinates black and dark tinted elements with a Beluga finish to all interior and exterior bright ware.

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Once the Mulliner magic has been cast, the motorcar becomes a highly collectible heirloom. Apart from custom handcrafted four-door saloons and limousines, Mulliner has created two-door fixedhead and drophead coupé models. Only those who know the bona-fide meaning of success can fully comprehend the true nobility of a Mulliner masterwork.

Before the spit between Bentley and Rolls Royce, HJ Mulliner, and Mulliner Park Ward handcrafted all two-door models exclusively. Bentley and Rolls Royce were at the time, built primarily as four-door saloons. The coupé models had to be coachbuilt. The elusive Corniche models became the dernier cri in grand touring coupés.

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Mulliner creates exclusivity, pedigree, and élan. Each masterwork becomes a crowning achievement in all of motordom. The pleasure of owning such a magnificent example of automotive art is reveling in the fact that no other motorcar will be exactly the same… 

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Mulsanne “L” one of only 2 built between 1984 & 1988

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1997 Bentley Turbo R 400 Mulliner Park Ward Newport Edition 

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note the impeccable fit and finish

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1963 Bentley Continental S3 Flying Spur by Mulliner

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1960 Bentley Mulliner coachbuilt coupé

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Here’s the world’s only Bentley badged Camargue

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1959 Bentley S1 standard saloon

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1964 Bentley S3 standard saloon

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The eloquent 1977 Bentley T2 standard saloon

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…do I give you the business or what?

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…The finale – this is the end of a magnificent era in luxury motoring. Here is the last time a body shell would be shared between these two legends. The Bentley Arnage and the Rolls Royce Silver Seraph is the end of the line. After these two icons rolled out of the assembly hall at Crewe…there became a distinct difference. “Just in fun…the fight begun, before long a web of hate was spun! Bentley pretended…same as Rolls Royce – but friends again they’d never be…so they scandalized, and criticized, and then they learned how to despise – “

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Bentley Arnage exhibits understated preeminence

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Arnage is the summit of unpretentious glamour

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…Epilogue

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Bentley 8 litre

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“Big Ben” stands alone today and is no longer foreshadowed by you-know-who! It’s a masterpiece that could only come from the master craftsmen. No car in years has so captured the admiration of the ultra-luxury market segment as the Bentley Mulsanne. Whatever the occasion…there is no more magnificent manner in which to arrive. This is luxury on the grand Bentley scale…unique even among other Bentley models.

The Mulsanne is rich in power assists, conveniences, appointments, and lavishly elegant interiors. The famed 6.75 litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine has one of the largest displacements in the industry. Mulsanne, Mulsanne EWB, and Mulsanne Speed each possess a distinctive character of its own. Whichever sumptuous saloon you select, rest assured…you own the world’s standard of excellence in luxury motoring. Stunning elegance, extraordinary power, and exceptional handling characteristics are just a few of the outstanding attributes one may expect from a Bentley Mulsanne – (applause…applause)

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Many thanks to my friends at Bentley Crewe http://www.bentleymotors.com/. Special thanks to my buddy Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum http://www.parkwardmotorsmuseum.com/. Hello to one of the finest Luxury Car dealers in the world Balmoral UK http://www.balmoraluk.com/. And I can’t thank Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars enough http://www.schmitt.com/. Thanks again for making this special tribute to the 2017 Bentley Mulsanne and Bentley history possible.

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…welcome once again to Greg’s World

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Greg’s World IS NotoriousLuxury  © 2016–2018

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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Welcome to Greg’s World of NotoriousLuxury…

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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Welcome to Greg’s World of NotoriousLuxury

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The Bentley Grand Convertible is NotoriousLuxury

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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Welcome to Greg’s World…

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Greg’s World is NotoriousLuxury…

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The contemporary Mercedes Maybach