To celebrate 60 years of production at the historic Crewe factory, Bentley is announcing a unique version of the Arnage R – the Bentley Arnage Diamond Series. Only 60 of this limited series Arnage will be built, showcasing Crewe’s unrivalled blend of craftsmanship and precision engineering.
Special features of the Arnage Diamond Series include diamond-quartered wood marquetry and diamond-quilted leather seat upholstery. Externally, the Diamond Series is distinguished by a stainless steel matrix to the front bumper, new larger diameter 19 inch x 8J twin-spoke alloy wheels, to a unique design, and Union Flag badges to the front wings. A new range of Heritage paint colours is also available.
The Arnage Diamond Series also sees the reintroduction of the ‘Flying B’ mascot, a feature that last adorned the radiator of a series production Bentley in the late 1970s.
"This collector’s model has one of the most beautifully crafted cabins fitted to any Bentley," says Chairman and Chief Executive, Dr Franz Josef Paefgen. "It clearly demonstrates the exceptional craftsmanship skills of the Crewe workforce, the culmination of 60 years of experience over several generations. The diamond-quartered marquetry of the Arnage Diamond Series is truly unique in the motor industry."
While the Arnage Diamond Series commemorates 60 years of Crewe production, Bentley’s history goes back much further. Before the first Crewe vehicle, the Mark VI, was produced in May 1946, Bentley Motors built vehicles in Cricklewood, London (1919-1931) and in Derby (1931-39).
The Arnage Diamond Series makes its international debut alongside the other limited edition Bentley celebrating the Crewe factory’s Diamond Jubilee – the Continental GT Diamond Series. Half of the total Arnage Diamond series production – 30 cars – will go to the USA, Bentley’s biggest market. Nineteen cars have been earmarked for the UK.
An Arnage typically involves 65 hours of painstakingly handcrafted woodwork to create its elaborate cabin and has more wood than any other ‘standard’ Bentley in history.
The use of diamond-quartered marquetry in the Arnage Diamond Series is a first even for Bentley’s craftsmen and women and is unique in the motor industry. Mirrored straight-grain woodwork, as specified on most Arnage models, matches two identical grains of wood in perfect symmetry – which is challenging enough. The diamond design uses four pieces of straight grain woodwork in a symmetrical pattern. This feature is used on the waist rails and folding rear picnic tables of the Diamond Series.
The diamond pattern is created in mirrored straight-grain oak veneer within a band of maple inlay. It is surrounded by burr oak veneer. "The European oak is perfect for the diamond pattern," says Doug Dickson, Bentley’s Member of the Board, Manufacturing. "It has a nice tight grain and naturally, the wood all comes from the same tree."
In common with all Bentley Arnage customers, buyers of the Diamond Series may specify different wood veneers. Bentley Mulliner, the company’s personal commissioning division, can do just about anything, as long as it’s practicable and legal. "Some customers’ cars have required in excess of 250 hours of wood craftsmanship," says Mr Dickson.
The hides of the Diamond Series also feature a diamond-quilted pattern and seats may be piped in contrasting or co-ordinating colours. As with all Bentleys, only finely grained, supple, premium A-grade leather is used. State-of-the-art lasers ensure cutting accuracy of 0.1 mm on all the 400 leather panels in an interior, using fifteen cowhides. The hides are stitched by 24 skilled sewing machinists
Twenty-seven standard hide colours are available, but any colour may be specified by the customer to match a favourite personal hue, item of clothing or even a nail varnish. Materials other than cowhide can also be used, such as ostrich leather, cavalry twill, West of England cloth (as specified by Her Royal Highness The Queen for the Golden Jubilee State Limousine) silk and velvet.
The steering wheel – one of the most challenging jobs to assemble – can take up to 15 hours to make, because of the complicated hand stitching and frequently specified wood inlays.
Other interior features of the Arnage Diamond Series include veneered steering wheel control surrounds, head restraints embroidered with the Bentley emblem, a ’60 years’ front console badge, ‘Diamond Series’ etched tread plates and companion mirrors.
Popular customer enhancements are likely to include a wood and leather wheel, auto massaging front seats, leather-trimmed cocktail cabinets, a DVD system and an electric rear blind.
The new Arnage Diamond Series is based on the Arnage R and is available with either the 400bhp or, at extra cost, the 450bhp version of the Crewe-designed and produced 6.75 litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine.
Standard external features include new 19 inch x 8J twin-spoke alloy wheels, the application of a stainless steel matrix to the front bumper and Union Flag badges to the front wings. A windscreen shade band, Bentley ‘B’ badge on the rear pillars, the Mulliner ‘jewel’ fuel filler cap and a chromed rear number plate surround further distinguish the Arnage Diamond Series.
The Arnage Diamond Series also sees the reintroduction to series production of the ‘Flying B’ mascot, a feature that last adorned the radiator of the Bentley T Series in the late 1970s.
Seven Heritage paint colours from previous Bentley model generations have been made specially available for the Arnage Diamond Series as standard. Of course, any of the 40 colours from the standard Arnage palate may also be specified and, naturally, Bentley’s Mulliner personalisation department can paint and specify the vehicle in just about any way the owner fancies. Additionally, customers may opt for chrome finished alloy wheels, a chromed radiator shell (standard in North America) and chromed door mirrors.