It looks like Bentley will transform its Mulsanne flagship into a convertible after all — but there’s a catch. Tentatively named Grand Convertible, the cabriolet will arrive as a super-rare and ultra-exclusive limited-edition model developed for the world’s most discerning collectors.
Visitors to the 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show got to see the Grand Convertible as a close-to-production concept (pictured), so they know it blurs the line between a car and a piece of art with its British flair. It’s based on the Mulsanne, one of the most exquisite cars money can buy, but it loses a pair of doors and several inches of sheet metal between the axles. The four-seater configuration remains, however.
One of the Grand Convertible’s most distinct features is the burr walnut tonneau cover that hides the power-operated cloth soft top. It’s mirror-finished and dark-stained, according to Motor Authority, and it’s the biggest piece of wood ever used in a Bentley. The publication notes that the striking design feature is inspired by the luxury powerboats, which we suspect the Grand Convertible will rub elbows with on a regular basis. If there was even an official car for Saint Tropez, this is it.
Future owners will have the opportunity to work directly with Bentley’s Mulliner coach-building division to design every aspect of their car, including the two-tone paint job and the leather-draped interior. This process ensures no two examples will be identical, unless they’re both purchased by a collector who specifically requests matching cars. Turning the Mulsanne into a coupe isn’t currently in the works, but Mulliner is open to taking on special projects provided the client is capable of funding it. It notably turned the Mulsanne into a custom limousine a couple of years ago.
Technical specifications haven’t been released yet. The four-door Mulsanne uses the brand’s signature twin-turbocharged, 6.75-liter V8 engine, which makes 530 horsepower and a mighty 811 pound-feet of torque in its most powerful configuration. It spins the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Bentley will build just 19 examples of the Grand Convertible, a number chosen because the company was founded in 1919. Motor Authority believes pricing will start in the vicinity of $3.5 million, a figure that makes it roughly $3 million more expensive than the vehicle it’s based on. That’s the price to pay for a custom-designed, handbuilt, low-volume model. But even if you’re ready to spend that kind of money, you might not be able to add one to your collection because Bentley is selling the model by invitation only.
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