As part of the 100 Year celebrations of Bentley there has been a lot of work going on with Bentley. We have seen special edition cars and special builds but, this is the most special Bentley. The 1939 Corniche was a Bentley initially created as a high performance version of the (that era) tech advanced MkV saloon.
This Bentley was created in association with French designer Georges Paulin. This brought ‘streamlining’ into Bentley. The Corniche had bodywork from french coach builder Vanvooren. This featured thinner steel and a tuned engine of the MkV engine mated with a overdrive transmission allowed the 39’ Corniche top 100 mph during testing at Brooklands Circuit.
During a testing run in France the car was damaged when it collided with a bus. After repairs at Vanvooren it went for another test run and got more damaged when another driver came in front of the car and causing the driver to go off the road, hit a tree and rolled the car. The body was taken to be fixed in France while the Chassis was returned to Crewe. When the body was fixed, it was sent to be reunited with the chassis. Due an administrative error the body was delayed at the docks at Dieppe, France, and the body was destroyed in the bombings, during the early stages of WWII. The car never made production but, because Bentley had trademarked the name and used it in the future for other models.
The recreation of this car started a few years ago and after the original coach builders ran out of funding Bentley stepped in. Last year (2018) in February, the project was brought in-house at Mulliner so that the project would be ready for the Centenary Year. This is Mulliners first genuine ground up historical project. This is guided with the help of the original technical drawings and the original MkV and Corniche mechanical components. The bodywork is identical to the original.
The Paint on the car is unique as well, mixes of Imperial Maroon and Heather grey. The interior trim is unique as well the tool tray and Mulliner tread plates were created from scratch.
The Corniche is due to make its first public appearance at the Salon Privé at Blenheim Palace in September 2019, and Bentley Heritage fleet events all around the world.