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Lotus Legends: Europa Twin Cam Ideology

Posted in Legendary Lotus Series with tags , , , , , , , on May 6, 2017 by 99MilesPerHour

Lotus power can be compared to a force that is fierce and unrelenting as a hurricane. Whether clothed in race car attire or simply as a road-going street version, the name Lotus equates to a serendipitous encounter few sports cars can replicate. The mighty “Big Valve” Twin Cam engine produces fury the competitors envy. It proves the theory that humongous engine displacement with numerous cylindrical configurations are not really necessary to produce prodigious, jaw-dropping, pavement-blistering performance. The first generation Type 74 Lotus Europa Twin Cam Special is a synergistic approach to very, very high performance.

By Gtb2 – Europa S1 1967, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12079462

The Lotus Europa began as the name implies targeting European markets. They were launched initially for French markets as the S1 Type 46 with a Renault engine and gearbox in December of 1966, deliveries started in February 1967. They weren’t available for British and US markets until the S2 version of 1969.

Here’s a word of caution regarding the purchase of the S1 Europa: DON’T! The fibreglass body is bonded to the chassis. The body must be cut away to replace the chassis which is atrociously expensive. The Renault engine is not as good as the Lotus Twin Cam and parts are scarce for a rebuild which is inevitable. Most enthusiasts have switched out the engine to the Twin Cam. The S1 Europas are also very basic. The interiors have fixed non-operational windows, no floor carpeting, fixed seating positions (floor pedals are adjustable), and an aluminum faced dash.

1967 Lotus Europa S1 Type 46

The Europa was homologated as the Type 47 to become a full race version. The engine, suspension, and tires were tweaked to produce 165 hp reaching a top speed in the 143 mph range.

1969 Lotus Europa S2, Elite Garage Zuzwil SG, Switzerland

The following year brought revisions, the S1A & B had removable windows and a wood faced dash. The S2 model introduced in 1968 brought significant improvements to the Europa. A separate backbone chassis made everyone happy from the auto insurance industry to the restoration enthusiasts are tackling today. Electric power windows removed the inherent claustrophobia, adjustable seats, carpeting, and a polished wood dash made the interior more civilized and refined. The most highly desirable Europa models are the Twin Cam variants launched in December 1971. The “Big Valve” Special debuted in 1972. The last of the first generation Lotus Europa models exited the assembly hall in 1975.

The Lotus Europa sports a silhouette like no other car. It’s not an unrealistic, over-achieving, airbrushed, anorexic glam-car at the tracks, it is unregarding, gutsy, and is a real sports car. So it’s not drop dead gorgeous, it’s not perfect – but it is an athletic behemoth capable of awesome, jaw-dropping performance. It’s a low-slung mid-engine dream. The fibreglass body shell has a drag coefficient of a mere 0.29 making it superbly aerodynamic. The Europa’s bold and unconventional design bucks status quo for the day.

The Twin Cam rear body styling is trimmer than the Renault Europa which not only improves rear visibility but also makes them more aesthetically appealing. The Europa’s compact dimensions aided stability and aerodynamic efficiency. Twin Cam versions are stretched 1” longer to accommodate the larger engine.

The 157.5” overall length is augmented by a 92” wheelbase and 64.5” width. The Lotus Europa is only 42.5” in ride height. Its handcrafted fibreglass body shell has rigid torsional strength with a separate steel backbone chassis. This manner of build is void of squeaks and rattles. It also makes restoration easier; as with all first generation Lotus models – the chassis must be replaced at some point in time.

Initially, the Type 74 Europa Special was to be limited to 200 vehicles. Response to this new car was so great it continued through the end of production. Out of a total of 4,710 Type 74 Europas, 3,130 are built as Specials. The first 100 Big Valve Europa Specials were painted black with gold pin striping honoring the Team Lotus 1972 F1 World Championship title. This is the livery color of the GP cars for the sponsor which the models are named “John Player Specials.”

More color choices were introduced later on during the production tenure. Twin Cam models present a sportier appearance with signature features such as lower profile rear buttresses and a small front air dam under the chin. Twin fuel filler caps for the Twin Cam Europas are another distinguishing feature. The two fuel tanks total 12.5 gallons which is an increase over previous models.

Lotus 72 F1 in John Player Special Livery colors compliments of http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2010/01/16/great-f1-cars-in-pictures-lotus-72-autosport-international/autosportinternational_lotu/

By now, you can clearly see the Type 74 Twin Cam Europa is the best of all models. The Special is equally as feisty as the formidable Elan Sprint with the “Big Valve” powerplant. This naturally aspirated 2-valve per cylinder in-line 1558cc 4-banger is equipped with Twin Dell ‘Orto DHLA40 carburetors. The Big Valve engine has a cast iron block topped with an aluminium head. It’s equipped with a DOHC and the crankshaft runs in five main bearings.

This version of the Twin Cam cranks 126 hp @ 6,500 rpm with 153 Nm of peak torque @ 5,500 rpm. It redlines @ 6,800 rpm. The gearbox is mounted behind the engine and final drive forming a transaxle. It is inverted to provide forward gears. The Big Valve Twin Cam produces more torque; therefore, requires the heftier type 365 heavy-duty 5-speed manual gearbox.

Longitudinal acceleration is rated as: 0-60 mph in 6.1 seconds, 0-100 mph in 15.7 seconds, 0-120 mph in 28.3 seconds with a top speed in the 124-128 mph range. It does the ¼ mile @ 94 mph in just 14.7 seconds. The gearbox is a bit awkward and takes a bit of getting used to because of the cable linkage. It’s a mid-engine rear-drive rocket. 

The Europa Special has a separate fibreglass body shell and steel box-section backbone chassis as the Elan. It is a different configuration since the engine is longitudinally rear mid-mounted. The engine sits just behind the cockpit. Europas have a 56/44 rear-biased weight distribution. A 4-wheel independent suspension uses basically the same front suspension as the Elan. The front has upper and lower wishbones, spring dampers, and an anti-roll bar for stability. Lotus Europas use a lengthened version of the Herald-derived Alford & Adler rack and pinion steering system with a modified coupling to the Herald column.

The rear suspension features a large box steel trailing arm on either side anchored to the chassis in line with the cockpit bulkhead, fixed length drive shafts, coil springs, and telescopic dampers. A steel crossmember is bolted to the chassis above the gearbox to provide the mounts for the spring dampers. Europa Specials are equipped with the Girling brake system 9.5” discs fitted to the front axle and 8x 1 ¼ “drums to the rear. There are conversion kits available today to convert the rear brakes to disc type. Servo assisted brakes are standard for Twin Cam and Special models. The Lotus Europa continues Colin Chapman’s basic lightweight theory.

Lotus Twin Cam and Special models have more civilized cockpits than their Spartan predecessors. The foot wells are a bit larger and lower due to the extra 1” longer wheelbase. More sound deadening materials insulates the cabin. A new oatmeal color was added as an option. The last of the line Europa Specials incorporate cord inserts into the upholstery.

Carpeting and wood veneer dash accents makes them more upscale. Electrically operated windows, and comprehensive instrumentation adds to their more luxurious stature. The Lotus Twin Cam and Special models offer excellent overall performance, outstanding handling attributes, and a more relaxed attitude at high speeds as it adheres to the pavement like a magnet. This fierce Lotus flexes its muscles…as it minds its manners –

Lotus Europa Type 47

Lotus Europa S2 Type 54

Lotus Europa Type 74 Twin Cam Special

Colin Chapman’s forward thinking made the Lotus brand ahead of the pack for the day. The Europa Twin Cam Special with its mid-rear longitudinally mounted engine came about when Lamborghini and Matra were the only auto manufacturers to use such daring innovation. The most desirable Europa models are endowed with the mighty “Big Valve” Twin Cam engine. It moves the Europa with aplomb. This sleek, low-slung, brute has its own unique panache; there’s nothing else on the road quite like it.

The ultimate addition to your classic muscle car collection would be an Elan Sprint and a Europa Twin Cam Special – talk about a sophisticated power couple…this is the epitome. The Europa models are true to Colin Chapman’s philosophy regarding his minimalist approach with lightweight construction, aerodynamic efficiency, and ingenious component consolidation. What the ugly duckling lacks in appearance…it more than makes up for it in inexhaustible power and outstanding performance. The Lotus Europa Twin Cam and Twin Cam Special models are in a league of their own –

Lotus Elan Sprint

Special thanks to Conceptcarz, Favcars.com, F1 Fanatic, Wikipedia, Wallpaperup, and Elite Garage Zuzwil SG, Switzerland for the use of their photos of these extremely rare sports cars.

Welcome to Greg’s World…

…Greg’s World IS NotoriousLuxury © 2017

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Lotus Legends: The Formidable Elan

Posted in Legendary Lotus Series, Lotus with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2017 by 99MilesPerHour

The Lotus Elan  is timeless in every respect…

One of the most prolific English roadsters ever to scorch the pavement is the insuperable first generation Lotus Elan. The British have always had a certain je ne sais quoi with their bold and unconventional approach to extremely quick two-seat sports cars. The Lotus Elan exhibits daring innovation for its day with its chic fibreglass monocoque bodyshell. Besides…there’s more than enough power beneath its bonnet to huff & puff & blow the doors off the competitors should they not get out of its way quickly. The Lotus Elan is most definitely a wolf clothed in sheep’s attire. Naturally…when the name “Lotus” is spoken – it conjures up racing legends.

The Elan goes way past “serious.” In fact, it was such a hot and unconventional sports car for the 1960s, it forced cars in its class into an existential identity crisis – immediately. The first generation Lotus Elan had a very successful production run from 1962 – 1973. It was no surprise when the Lotus Elan was chosen to be driven by the quintessential British ministry sleuth…the indomitable Emma Peel, John Steed’s counterpart in the 1960s cult classic detective TV series “The Avengers.” The producers wanted an automobile of irreverent maverick…one to suit an unconventional femme fatale – Mrs. Emma Peel was far ahead of her time – so is the first generation Lotus Elan…

1957 Lotus Elite

Lotus evolution…

The Elan replaced the Lotus Elite. Indeed, it was time for something new. The Elite was breaking the bank draining financial resources without a significant gain in profit. In 1957, The Lotus Company owned by Chapman was on the verge of bankruptcy. Colin Chapman had a really expensive racing habit. The Lotus Elite was very expensive to build. The custom crafted all-aluminium engine built by Coventry Climax was one of the largest expenses. The all-fibreglass construction was also expensive to build.

The Elite boasts unique fibreglass reinforced plastic monocoque construction which replaced the previous separate body/chassis components. It used this unique composite material for the entire load-bearing structure. The front end used a steel sub frame to support the engine and front suspension. There is also a metal fitting at the windscreen for mounting door hinges and a provision for jacking the car off the ground.

Take into consideration, this was before composite body structures were perfected. There were also the issues of the suspension attachment components pulling out of the composite structures. The first 250 bodies caused major grief and production was switched to a different manufacturer. Despite the Elite’s idiosyncratic attributes the body design is very aesthetically appealing. In my opinion, it is one of the world’s most beautiful classic sports cars. One could say, lessons learned from the Elite helped to perfect the Elan series.

Lotus Elan

The world’s finest wine…in a plastic bottle –

The Lotus Elan sports architecture which rivals that of 21st century sports cars.  The Elan proves “beauty is not only skin deep.” It has a mere drag co-efficient of 0.45 making it a sleek aerodynamic envelope of technology. The Elan is the first production automobile to feature minor impact-resistant, foam-filled fibreglass bumpers. The curvaceous bodyshell is “Fibreglass Reinforced Plastic” or FRP…sound familiar? Lambo, Ferrari, and Aston Martin are just a few of the contemporary sports cars which use an updated version of FRP technology.

Lotus is one of the pioneers to use this method; it was not an industry-wide utility at the time. This is a composite material consisting of a polymer matrix reinforced with glass, carbon, aramid, or basalt. The Elan is the first road-going Lotus to be built using a fibreglass bodyshell with a steel backbone chassis. Colin Chapman called this a “Fold on the dotted line” steel chassis. This type of construction strengthens the load-bearing structure of the car to support the engine and suspension components. The lightweight bodyshell fitted to the rugged steel backbone chassis enhances overall performance while it optimizes the car’s handling attributes.

1962 Lotus Elan…a bold & beautiful brute

The iconic symbol of success…

To quote an advertisement from 1970: “Who made it before the others? Who got here quicker than most? Who arrived ahead of the crowd? Who has asserted himself all the way making the others content to follow? Answer – The man in the Elan…” Impressive? Very. The Lotus Elan is an adrenalin inducing sports car that is the perfect synthesis of a racing-inspired heritage combined with sheer elegance. It is for the enthusiast who wants to be in total control of his car with precise handling and blistering performance. Because of this car’s technical sophistication, the Elan became Lotus Cars’ first commercial success.

Anthony Colin Bruce Chapman (1928-1982) aka Colin Chapman was a British mastermind in every respect. He was an astute design engineer associated with prodigious innovation in the automotive industry. He founded Lotus Cars in 1952. His knowledge of aeronautical engineering influenced his automotive technical advances. He had a fascinating view on horsepower vs lightweight construction: “Adding power makes you faster on the straights – subtracting weight makes you faster everywhere.”

The Elan conforms to Colin Chapman’s technical philosophy: lightweight design, aerodynamically enhanced architecture, with racing-inspired brakes, transmission, and suspension. Ron Hickman designed this car as the “Type 26 Elan” in the late 1950s. This legendary sports car was introduced at the Earls Court Motor Show in October 1962. Some of the first Elans were available as kits to be assembled by the owner.

Colin Chapman was active in all aspects of the Lotus Group. He worked throughout the factory as well as with the administrative demands. Chapman was seen looking over the design of a new car, running a board room meeting, as well as watching dials in the engine test house. His decisions were quick and decisive. No aspect of the Lotus Group from complicated designs to the colors for the next year’s motor show escaped his attention. He was known for his “natural smile” and was quick to praise – but poor workmanship transformed him immediately!

 Ferocious Lotus…élan

Automotive aficionados consider the Elan as the most prolific Lotus of all time. The Elan is the benchmark for modern sports car design. A “real” sports car doesn’t have to prove the point with massive engine displacement and numerous cylinders. A total of 12,224 were built from its inception in 1962 until the final Sprint exited the assembly hall in 1973. The Elan’s spirited performance and exquisite handling attributes maintains its popularity today. And the best part of all…Lotus Elan ownership requires no outrageous maintenance or restoration eccentricities. The Lotus Elan was far ahead of its time. It bristles with technology.

The robust 1558cc in-line 4-cylinder Lotus Twin Cam is inherently a very reliable engine if properly maintained. Its two valves per cylinder are positioned within hemispherical combustion chambers. The cast iron 116E Ford Cortina block has a light alloy cylinder head bolted on. The intake manifold is cast as an integral part of the cylinder head. The water pump is integral with the timing chain cover. Contrary to popular belief, the water pump is virtually trouble-free providing the “V-belt” that also runs the dynamo has proper tensioning.

This type of component consolidation was expedited to comply with Colin Chapman’s philosophy of using one mechanical part for as many purposes possible. A single roller chain positioned at the front of the engine drives the double overhead camshafts. A cast iron crankshaft runs in five main bearings. The four bolt crankshaft on S1 & S2 models incorporate a rope seal between the sump and the block. This seal requires service intervals at 15,000 miles. The later S3, S4, and Sprint models with the six bolt crankshaft utilizes an oil-tight rubber lip seal which seals against leakage.

It moves with tremendous verve and élan…

Lotus is synonymous with legendary performance. The Lotus Twin Cam is a naturally aspirated engine. The Elan used three different carburetion variations from the factory during its production. The S1, S2, and S3 models were factory equipped with Twin Weber 40DCOE carburetors. This fuel system produces 105 hp @ 5,500 rpm with 146 Nm of peak torque @ 4,000 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 7.3 seconds, 0-100 mph in 22.6 seconds with an ungoverned top speed in the 113-115 mph range. It does the ¼ mile @ 88 mph in just 16.1 seconds. The engine Redlines @ 6,300 rpm. (S1 1962-1964), (S2 1964 -1966) & (S3 1966 -1968).

The launch of the Elan is one of the biggest projects ever for Lotus. The sales division wanted to upstage the Elan to broaden its appeal even further. They wanted to offer a fixed head coupé with creature comforts inside and highly styled lines outside to join the roadster. It was to be a cross between elegance and of course sport. Designer John Frayling was summoned for the project. The Elan Coupé version began in October 1963.

This new car was to include a fancy upscale elegantly styled interior, power window lifts, suspended headlining, and an excellent heating/ventilation system – in est – a luxury sport touring coupé. The Lotus Elan Coupé was unveiled at Earls Court in September of 1965. This is the first Lotus to benefit from careful market research. The Elan Coupé is a bona fide luxury sport car with poise as well as fierce Lotus performance.

The svelte Elan SE (Special Equipment) was introduced for some late S2 models and available for all S3 models forward. The Twin Weber 40DCOE carburetors produced 115 hp @ 6,000 rpm with 150 Nm of peak torque @ 4,500 rpm. The engine Redlines @ 6,750 rpm. The SE package included a higher lift “C” camshaft and a new cast iron exhaust manifold with a double down pipe. This version’s longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 21.8 seconds with an ungoverned top speed in the 120-123 mph range. It does the ¼ mile @ 89 mph in 15.5 seconds. This Special Edition also included servo-assisted brakes, special “Knock-Off” wheels, and SP tires. 

The Elan S4 came factory equipped with Twin Zenith-Stromberg 175CD carburetion. This unit used a different cylinder head and is not interchangeable with Weber or Dell ‘Orto carburetors. It produces 105 hp @ 5,500 rpm with 146 Nm of peak torque @ 4,000 rpm. Its longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 7.5 seconds, 0-100 mph in 23.8 seconds with an ungoverned top speed of 114 mph. It can do the ¼ mile @ 86 mph in 15.8 seconds. (S4 1968-1971)

The Zenith-Stromberg units were documented with a few eccentricities. These units are prone to icing when ambient temps plummet to the freezing point. Air leakage thru the spindles will be indicated by overheating, pinking, and engine run-on. They also cause the engine to run around five degrees hotter than the Weber units. The Zenith-Stromberg units require maintenance intervals every 12 months. I have heard my cousin grumbling about the idiosyncratic behavior of his S4 with this carb. The Engine used a different cylinder head which is not interchangeable with the Weber nor the Dell’ Orto DHLA40. Some have experienced plug electrode failure with this unit which burns pistons. Lotus reverted back to the Weber units in October of 1970.

The S4 with the SE package produces 118 hp @ 6,000 rpm with 152 Nm of peak torque @ 4,600 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 21.1 seconds with an ungoverned top speed in the 122-125 mph range. It can do the ¼ mile @ 90 mph in 15.4 seconds.

Lotus Elan S4

1964 Elan 26R (competition version 97 built)

The Lotus Elan was homogulated in 1964 as the formidable 26R. Racing champions such as Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, and Sir John Whitmore had successful competition wins in 1964. John Miles won 15 races and the Autosport Championship in 1966. They continued in competition for around 10 years. The lightweight design simplicity combined with its slippery aerodynamics makes it a viable contender in classic motorsport competitions today.

Elan Sprint (1970-1973)

The most impressive of all Elan models is the performance behemoth, Elan Sprint. Tony Rudd joined Lotus from BRM. He had been involved with Twin Cam development for the racing Lotus Cortinas and the Mike Spence Elan BRM project. His “Big Valve” modification combined the “D” camshaft with two fabricated tubular exhaust manifolds in place of the cast iron units. The mighty “Big-Valve” version of the 1558cc in-line 4-cylinder is the most powerful of this first generation series.

There are two factory fuel systems: Twin Weber 40DCOE units or Twin Dell’ Orto DHLA40 carburetors. The compression ratio increased from 9.5:1 to 10.3:1. The inlet valves were enlarged to 1.6” as well. The Elan Sprint’s power output is 126 hp @ 6,500 rpm with 153 Nm of peak torque @ 5,500 rpm. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 6 seconds, 0-100 mph in 18.1 seconds with an ungoverned top speed in the 124 mph range. (With 5-speed gear box 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds with a top speed in the ungoverned range of 130 mph)  It does the 1.4 mile @ 93 mph in just 14.8 seconds. The Elan Sprint embodies all that makes a Lotus…a Lotus!

The Elan Sprint has a hood with perfect fit

The Lotus Elan is beautiful coming or going

Technological élan…

First generation Elan models includes technology that out-shined the competition at the time. The Lotus Twin Cam engine is equipped with a 4-speed manual gear box. A  few later model year Elan Sprints were badged as “Sprint 5”  and are equipped with a 5-speed manual gear box. A unique 4-wheel independent back bone suspension is simple and highly effective. The front suspension is based upon the Triumph Herald with double wishbones of unequal length, coil springs, telescopic dampers, and anti-roll stabilizer bars. Chapman struts, triangulated lower wishbones, coil springs, and telescopic dampers make up the rear network. The Elan Sprint has a strengthening bridge over the differential. The driveshaft incorporates Rotoflex rubber doughnut U-joints which protects the differential by absorbing road shock.

To maintain optimum control under all driving situations, it incorporates a network as a true sports car without compromising speed or safety. The Elan has superb Alford and Adler rack & pinion steering. This type of system was standard on racing cars and sports cars for the day making it the first choice for Lotus. A modified Herald rack incorporates a lock stop to guard against high-speed rollovers while negotiating turns. The steering column also comes from the Herald.

Standard 4-wheel disc brakes brings the Elan to a safe, fade-free halt which is vital for a car of such torque-thrust. Girling discs are fitted all the way around with 9.5” fitted to the front axle and 10” fitted to the rear. Very few cars for the day had disc brakes installed on the rear axle. The rear calipers has a hand brake mechanical mechanism with a special pair of pads with one fitted to each side of the disc. Servo assistance is part of the SE and Sprint packages.

From The Avengers episode “Mission…Highly Improbable”

This very fast roadster began life very popular. When Diana Rigg, as the famous Mrs. Emma Peel character drove her Lotus Elan in “The Avengers” it raised interest even more so. There were magazine articles about it. The Elan 26R was winning competitions. Sales began soaring setting new sales records. Those who saw it for the first time wanted to know more about it. Americans were a bit restrained at first but by the time the S3 drop head was released, sales went beyond expectation and actually created shortages in the U.K.

From The Avengers episode “Epic”

Here’s Emma Peel’s first Lotus Elan featured in “Man-Eater of Surrey Green.” This episode is from the early B&W  segments introducing Diana Rigg as the indomitable Emma Peel who succeeded Mrs. Catherine Gale played by Honor Blackman. Notice the Elan’s lack of permanent window frames which makes it look a lot sleeker.

“Mrs. Peel, we’re needed…”

There are now tools available to properly remove and torque on your Elan wheels properly. If you have ever tried to remove an over-torqued spinner…you have learned exciting new ways to use expletives. A hammer, and a block of wood used to be the only way to remove an improperly torqued wheel. Check out this unique Knock-off spinner removal kit: http://knockoffspinnertool.com/lotus_elan_spinner_instructions if you value your Elan’s fibreglass bodywork and its beautiful wheels…

The #4 factory 300 yards from the main factory at Cheshunt Hertfordshire, 50 Lotus Elan bodies were produced and painted each week. After an essential period of curing in the open air, they are taken to the Elan shop where the backbone chassis is fitted with the gearbox and suspension. 

The body/chassis unit moved down the production line passing numbered work stations where separate operations were expedited under the careful scrutiny of the quality inspection staff. At the end of the production line all adjustments were checked and the car is started for the first time. After the final safety inspection, the Elan leaves for a 30 mile sprint on a road test by one of two inspectors who had tested over 1,600 Elans. On its return, the car is carefully checked again and then prepped for delivery to dealers.

Behind the Elan Shop is the Lotus Cortina Division, Spares, and service department with a “secret area” by Lotus Developments Limited. In another building Lotus Components Limited made 10 different types of racing cars from the Indianapolis 4.2 litre to the latest racing Elan. In a section no bigger than four lock-up garages, Team Lotus prepared their cars for the many races of the year.

The Lotus Elan is an exquisite hand-built, low volume sports car. Its one-piece fibreglass body shell fits over the backbone chassis attaching at 16 points. This type of construction makes the Elan exceptionally rigid with a lower center of gravity which is imperative to a high-speed sporting vehicle such as this. The other advantages to its torsional rigidity of the chassis and body construction are lack of rattles, harshness, and vibration – with low-cost production.

Today, the Lotus Elan is one of the most coveted classic sports cars. Its avant-garde glamour is timeless…it has challenged the years gracefully. It is one of a few cars that if in tip-top condition can take on the contemporary muscle cars without skipping a beat. Unlike most sports cars from this genre, the architecture is pure and unpretentious escaping status-quo. From the vacuum operated hide away headlamps to the stylish Lotus 3-eared knock-on spinner steel wheels, the Elan takes its place in automotive history.

Epilogue…

To drive the Elan is what true sports car performance is all about. This car was far ahead of its time. Its ferocious 1558cc Twin Cam in-line 4-cylinder engine with twin Weber or even twin Dell’ Orto carburetors, a close-ratio manual gearbox, and its sleek aerodynamic architecture enables it to achieve 105 to 130 mph without even working up a sweat. It will go down in automotive history as one of the world’s most significant sports car designs of all time. The Lotus Elan proves the point that a sports car doesn’t need humongous engine displacement or numerous cylinders to be a potent performer…

This is the 1960s genre and the Elan sported onto the automotive scene with a handcrafted fibreglass one-piece body shell with a rigid steel backbone chassis, independent 4-wheel suspension, 4-wheel disc brakes, and one of the world’s finest rack & pinion steering systems. To quote Graham Arnold former sales director for Lotus: “The Elan is a car for dreamers but when the owner wakes up…the pleasure remains – “ The first generation Lotus Elan saved the company from financial ruin getting the business out of the red and back to black which the contemporary Lotus models owe it a debt of eternal gratitude…the success of the Elan is a primary factor of Lotus’ commercial success to this day.

Special thanks to all of the Lotus Elan owners I talked to, Lotus historians, Graham Arnold’s book “Lotus Elan Super Profile” and Mark Hughes book “Classic and Sportscar – Lotus File”  for the specifications and general information to make this tribute to the formidable first generation Lotus Elan possible.

Welcome to Greg’s World…

Greg’s World IS NotoriousLuxury © 2017

Wendell’s Unique World of Papercraft

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

mgm-1

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 – 

i-added-a-real-car-at-the-bottom-to-show-how-realistic-wendells-work-is

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

papercraft-vacation-movie-family-truckster-ford-wagon

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!

1950s-station-wagons

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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check-out-the-56-nomad-the-old-pontiac-in-the-back-with-the-ford-and-plymouth-wagons-in-foreground

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…