Bentley Recreates Long-Lost 1939 Corniche Performance Saloon

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An accurate rebuild of a car lost during the Second World War

Bentley has enabled a car from its past to rise from the ashes. Using its in-house bespoke division, Mulliner, and by combining traditional coachbuilding methods with newly-manufactured parts, it has recreated the Bentley Corniche, originally built in 1939 and thought to be long lost.

The Corniche is said to provide a crucial link in the history of Bentley’s most important models, with only one ever built. Its styling was a radical step forward from the traditional Bentleys of the 1920s and 1930s, introducing ‘streamlining’ to help deliver greater speed and performance. It heavily influenced a number of post-war models, from the R-Type Continental right through to the current Continental GT.

Sadly, the original Corniche was destroyed in France during an air raid during the outbreak of the Second World War, where it had been undergoing various tests, and had already been damaged due to a road accident. The mission to rebuild the new version began several years ago amongst volunteers from the WO Bentley Memorial Foundation and the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation, but was brought in-house in February 2018, with the aim of completing it in time for Bentley’s 100th anniversary.

Using only the original technical drawings and the skills of the men and women of Mulliner, this unique Corniche has been rebuilt in Crewe using original mechanical components and a completely re-made body. Everything from the special paint mixes – named Imperial Maroon and Heather Grey – to the unique interior trim and the accessories, such as the tool tray and the Mulliner tread plates on the door shuts, were created from scratch.

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