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The Legend of Mulliner

The legend of Mulliner is woven into the very fabric of Bentley. It’s a rich history of human endeavour, belief and bespoke craftsmanship that has been passed down from one generation to the next for over 500 years.

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The earliest roots of the Mulliner family traced back to carriers and saddlers in 1559, just one year after Elizabeth I came to the throne. But real prominence came to the family in 1760 when F. Mulliner was commissioned to build and maintain carriages for the Royal Mail.

In 1870 Francis’s son, Robert Bouverie Mulliner, started his own coachbuilding company called Mulliner London Limited – sharing his father’s restless pursuit for perfection. Crucially, in the later part of the 19th century, he decided to step away from horse drawn vehicles and focus his business on coachbuilding for mechanical propulsion – and the business flourished.

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With the arrival of the 1923 Olympia Show in London, H.J. Mulliner crafted a bespoke 3-litre, two-seater Bentley. It was a bond that would remain for decades, and during the 1920s H.J. Mulliner bodied over 240 chassis, each as original as the next. As a result, they quickly became regarded as the very best of the new coachbuilding firms.

Through the succeeding years, the partnership grew closer and stronger and, in 1952, H.J. Mulliner’s most famous creation was born – the revolutionary R-Type Continental. The fastest four-seat sports car of its era, its iconic beauty still continues to influence design today through the Bentley Continental.

Then in 1957, Mulliner created a four-seat coachwork on a Continental chassis. The result was the equally iconic Flying Spur, a masterpiece of its time.

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At the turn of the 19th century, H.J. Mulliner purchased the family business and moved it to London’s fashionable Mayfair under the name H.J. Mulliner & Co. They were now perfectly placed to serve society’s nobility and elite.

Each motorcar arrived from the factory simply as an engine mounted on a chassis. Nothing more. From this foundation, H.J. Mulliner & Co would exquisitely handcraft each coach around their client’s exacting requirements.

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In 1959 Mulliner cemented their partnership with Bentley more emphatically by becoming a part of the business. They later moved into the old engineering experimental department in Crewe – and there they remain till the present day.

Over 250 years later, since F. Mulliner gained his commission to build and maintain coaches for the Royal Mail, Mulliner still stay dedicated to their craft. An unbroken line of craftsmanship passed down through the generations – and ready to bring our customers’ dreams to reality.

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