The child of photographer and architect Anthony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, and Princess Margaret, Linley has established a name for himself as the finest designer and crafter of luxurious furniture in all of the UK, if not the world. He and his team manipulate wood, metal, glass and leather into some of the most sumptuous and striking pieces available. The Bentley of furniture, in other words. How fitting, then, that Bentley itself should collaborate with Linley for an exclusive special edition Continental.
Previewed about a month ago, the Linley edition Flying Spur has now been fully revealed at London's Jack Barclay dealership. It features the finest Santos rosewood veneers covering the fascia, console, waistrail and roof console of the sedan's interior. The waistrails and fold-down picnic tables feature Linley's trademark Helix motif inlayed from four different types of wood into an intricate pattern. It's also fitted with a custom Linley humidor – complete with cigar cutter and ashtray – burnt oak stitching on the upholstery, a rhodium-plated dedication plaque and even a special cashmere blanket.
In other words, you might call this the Bentley of Bentleys. But try not to like it too much: only 10 examples will be made, each earmarked for monied Anglophiles in the Chinese market. If you don't meet those narrow criteria, you can still check it out in the fresh high-resolution image gallery, and in video footage and press release after the jump.
(London, England, 30 September 2011) Bentley is delighted to announce the launch of a unique collaboration with British design company Linley for a limited edition of 10 Continental Flying Spurs.
The limited edition CFS models will be sold in China, reflecting continuing demand by Bentley's biggest four-door market. They incorporate signature Linley elements designed to appeal to customers who value pedigree and lineage, handcrafted quality and peerless design.
Christine Gaskell, member of the board for personnel, Bentley Motors, commented at the launch at Jack Barclay, Bentley dealer, in London's Berkeley Square: "Our collaboration with Linley brings a new element to the interior of one of our globally best-selling models. The Continental Flying Spur has a unique executive style and elegance which is complemented wonderfully by the Linley veneers. We share an expertise in the use of natural materials and a commitment to superlative craftsmanship."
Specially selected Linley veneers in Santos rosewood have been applied to the fascia, console, waistrail and roof console and integrated within the cars for the first time. The veneers cover the entire wood surfaces of the model, where Bentley chestnut or walnut would normally be used.
David Linley, Chairman of Linley, comments: "It is a great honour to be working alongside such an esteemed British brand as Bentley. Our two brands share a commitment to superlative craftsmanship and design. I believe that the culmination of our efforts has resulted in a car that is utterly unique and reflective of the passion that both brands share for pushing boundaries of engineering and excellence."
The iconic Linley Helix motif has been taken from the distinctive Linley Helix Furniture Collection and has been set, using the highly specialised skill of marquetry inlay, into the waist-rails and picnic table of the Flying Spurs. The Helix pattern is made up of four different types of veneer which contrast with the Santos rosewood to show the wave effect delivered by the marquetry.
In addition, the rear console has been modified for a customer-commissioned Linley humidor.
Brett Boydell, senior designer at Bentley, says: "The humidor has been designed by Linley and it drops into a unique console. We have reconfigured the console so that the humidor can fit in, moving things around and creating a space. It was an engineering feat to meet the quality requirements of a Bentley and the design cues of Linley."
The project has been worked on by Mark Blanchard, Head of Design at Linley, who comments: "It has been an exciting and challenging project to work on. We designed the interior within the stringent constraints specified by Bentley, however we ensured the car exemplified Linley craftsmanship.
"The car had to look different and we wanted a strong statement inside the interior, so we chose Santos rosewood, a straight grain veneer. Bentley usually uses burr veneers for their interiors as they are more malleable around compound curves. Using a straight grain veneer was a new challenge but together we succeeded and the final results look stunning."
Stainless steel Linley treadplates also feature on the cars, as does a Linley for Bentley rhodium-plated plaque in the glove box. There is also a stainless steel overlay of the Linley logo on the passenger fascia panel. Modified fluting on the seats features burnt oak contrast stitching, with additional burnt oak hide accentuating the storage areas and door pockets.
A Linley branded leather bag with a sumptuous cashmere blanket and other Linley items such as a leather luggage tag is also included in the boot of the limited edition Flying Spurs.
In working with Blanchard, Boydell ensured that all Bentley automotive quality processes were integrated with the design work.
There were several design challenges, says Boydell. "For instance, the marquetry of the Helix pattern had to be combined with the manufacturing standards and processes which we adhere to in the automotive industry.
"The collaboration is a ringing endorsement of two great British brands working closely together. We have achieved a very high-class product which has the recognisable signs of Linley entwined into a Bentley. We are offering customers the chance to own a highly customised piece of British heritage.
"I hope the collaboration will be a springboard for future projects."
Key features of the Linley for Bentley limited edition Continental Flying Spur
- The distinctive marquetry inlaid Helix motif runs throughout the interior.
- Linley-designed box in the rear console - the humidor contains a humidification system, cigar cutter and ashtray.
- In-built fridge set behind the arm rest and rear console, with specially designed space for bottle storage.
- The picnic tables have a pop-up vanity mirror concealed within them, which is a standard option on the CFS.