Bentley Mulsanne: Colour Perfect

Ever wondered how Bentley achieves that mirror-like paint finish? If so, you will be as fascinated as we were by this video from Bentley, describing the 86-hour process employed by the paint technicians at Crewe to create the ‘unlimited palate’ of colours available on the new Mulsanne.

The 115 ‘standard colours’ are just a starting point, since – as with any grand Bentley – the customer can specify any shade they choose. “We’ve been asked to match a paint finish to a cherished nail polish, a 50-year old classic Bentley and on one occasion a shade of turquoise on a food mixer for our Arnage, Brooklands and Azure customers,” says Dave Walton of the Mulsanne bespoke paint shop.

The painting process begins with the bare-metal, pre-production Mulsanne bodyshell passing through a series of full-immersion tanks to de-grease, clean, condition, rinse, phosphate and passivate the steel and aluminium structure. Next comes an electro-coating tank, where a 320V electric charge causes particles to deposit on the metal bodywork to form a hard protective shell of corrosion-proof zinc primer.

A two-coat primer is then applied by hand, and the primed body carefully inspected and sanded. When the primer coat is flawless, the colour basecoat is applied, again by hand, followed by robot-applied clear lacquer coats. The final stage is polishing and a very detailed inspection.

“It takes many months of in-depth training for a quality control inspector to learn how to identify defects that an owner might never notice, yet each one will be rectified, even if this means sending it around the entire process again,” explains Dave Walton.

We’re told that Bentley’s craftsmen are eagerly awaiting the moment the Mulsanne goes into full production: “We’re looking forward to that first commission to create a bespoke colour from scratch and execute it perfectly.”

Text: Charis Whitcombe
Video / Photos: Bentley

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