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A disclaimer up front for this week’s video find: After all the difficulty I’ve been through in the last few years — and the far, far worse crap I’ve seen friends and others go through — I freakin’ hate conspicuous consumption. Seriously; there are FAR better ways to express one’s identity than buying some damn expensive and unnecessary item. So please forgive the absurdity of paying $200k+ for a car that doesn’t functionally do much more than a Malibu.

I chose this video not because of the product these people are producing — but rather because the individuals who produce them and the surprising facts about the way the cars are made really caught my attention. Specifically, Bentley factory staff tells us in the video that woodworking represents the most complex task in building the cars, and therefore is the first task they start when building a car. (Apparently all Bentleys are custom-order, not built on spec.) Despite the assembly-line appearance of the factory and the application of automated tooling whenever possible (note the CNC laser-cutting of veneer, for example), Bentley employs a ton and a half of skilled woodworkers to craft the interiors of their 7,000 cars made each year.

Those look like interesting people. I’d love to meet them.

Have a good weekend, and drop us a line if you get a chance to let us know what you’re doing out in the shop or on the jobsite.


9 Responses to Video Friday: Making Bentleys

  1. Steve says:

    A boss I once had owned and drove a bentley to work every day. It was a hint that he was draining the company (which he owned) dry. But his argument for getting it, besides midlife crisis, was resale. He claimed almost zero depreciation because of this very construction method. There is enough demand that prices remain high on the secondary market. Never felt the need to look into it.

  2. Eric R says:

    Beautiful cars, and I’m sure nice to own.
    But if I added up all the cars I’ve owned and totaled the cost, I’d probably match the price of a set of tires for one of those.
    The pride in crafting those burls for the interior is evident.
    Now, back to my shop and some fun woodworking.
    it’s finally starting to cool off a little down here in Kissimmee Florida.
    have a nice weekend Chuck.

  3. Daniel says:

    Wow, Chuck! A Bentley will never be in my price range. But what makes your opinion of how someone else spends their money so right?

    People buying these cars are keeping a ton of skills alive and providing a livelyhood for a class of worker endangered in out first world societies.

  4. gary zumwalt says:

    There is a clear message here, that workmanship is still in demand (but at a price) and that the folks who perform the work are very proud of it. It is a sad thing that the workmanship that is put into fine woodworking by private individuals is not appreciated by the masses and is considered to be less valued than stuff from a mass retailer like Ethan Allen and Havertys.

  5. Teo says:

    Part of what’s great about being rich is that you have the choice to support the people that create so called “luxury goods”. So ,buy a custom guitar built by a luthier instead of one made in a sweatshop in China,go out at a nice restaurant that uses locally sourced ingredients instead of the fast food chain,get yourself a tailored suit..etc etc..Sure there’s a lot of snobbery but the guy who just ordered a mega-yacht from Lurrsen also ensured that an entire city has a decent living wage for years to come.

  6. Ian Random says:

    Poor comparison to a Malibu, look-up VATS/BCM/Passlock horror stories. I imagine their cars don’t think you are stealing them with the factory key like mine does.

    I imagine they have quite a bit of pride of workmanship coming into work everyday. Now at least I know the secret to their veneer.

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