I don’t wear a suit just like that. The occasion has to be important. Driving (and being driven) in a Bentley for almost half a million euros is one of those occasions, especially when it is not your typical Bentley Continental Flying Spur de 1961 creado por HJ Mulliner… That is something that is far behind. This is the future. And, incidentally, the winner of the best retro electric at the Top Gear Electric Awards.
So what is this Bentley?
One of the best things about the electric revolution that we are all witnessing right now is that it is giving new life to classic cars like this beautiful Continental Flying Spur, which has received a full electric heart transplant.
It has been the work of the Restomod specialists from Lunaz Design, an English company based in Silverstone that has been rocking the classics scene for a few years with their conversions and restorations.
Bentley alone? What if I want something else?
If a Bentley is not your thing, you can also touch up a Rolls-Royce Phantom V or a Silver Cloud from the sixties, along with a Jaguar XK120. And the latest addition is a first-generation electric Range Rover that you can get for around 300,000 euros. The idea is to focus on creating a series of products (albeit very limited) to keep costs below the stratosphere, but if blank checks are your thing, Lunaz is always happy to discuss something completely custom – nothing is out of the question. table.
“You always strive for perfection,” he explains. David Lorenz, founder of Lunaz. “Singer was a huge inspiration for me when I started. I met rob [Dickinson, el cantante] and his first advice was that no cars are perfect, that you have to decide where your line is and stick to it, or you won’t sleep at night. Perfection is impossible. “
How does Lunaz work?
They get the donor car first, unless you have one in your 18-car garage. Each drive undergoes a BMR where there is no missing 3D laser scanning to create a CAD model and start working from there. It is not just fitting batteries and motors from a crashed Tesla into just any old thing. It is high-end engineering.
The Lunaz powertrain It is designed and developed in-house. Responsible for this is John Hilton, who led Renault’s F1 engine division when Fernando Alonso won both world championships.
The relationship between Lorenz and Hilton began with a totally chance meeting: they sat next to each other on a flight when the company was just an idea: Lorenz had to bring Hilton out of retirement to fulfill his vision, a gamble that seems to be bearing fruit.
Lunaz recently moved to larger facilities, doubled its workforce, and can now hand-build 120 electric cars a year, as well as the ability to develop two new models a year. “I have in my head those of the next five years,” says Lorenz.
Do you want more details?
Let’s go back to the Bentley. Have a pair of front-mounted electric motors producing around 350hp and provide all-wheel drive. Thanks to a 80 kWh lithium ion battery (the cells are distributed throughout the car to maintain weight distribution), it has a real range of 400 km and can load at 150kW. As is usual in electric cars, it has regenerative braking and details that do not exist in the original car such as cruise control or traction control.
What is the interior of the Lunaz like?
The idea is to preserve the charm of the original, but at the same time subtly integrating the technology that we cannot do without these days. Let your butler open the back door and you will see a USB socket under a chrome button for heated rear seats.
On the front, Smith watches look original, but they tell you about strange things like battery charge and temperature, instantaneous power consumption, or regeneration level.
But once you’ve got into the cockpit, there’s nothing new or futuristic about it; it is a classic car. The smell, the sight … You feel inside a kind of temporary anomaly …
What’s it like to drive a Bentley by Lunaz?
I turn the key, set the column gearshift lever to D, and the start is smooth, no need for an engine to come to life or wait to get to optimum temperature. Systems take a moment to boot, but it will be instantaneous on the final model, I was told.
The torque curve is not yet defined and the mapping could vary, but the performance is perfectly adequate.
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You don’t drive this car, you set the course cautiously, feeding the rudder through your hands. The ride is very smooth, the brakes work well, although I barely reach 70 km / h on the narrow roads of the Burghley House estate. The refinement is impeccable, especially in the back while reading the Financial Times.
Who buys these things?
Good question: who is the target customer for a classic conversion from Electric Bentley Which starts at 350,000 pounds (about 400,000 euros) and increases considerably if you want to add different paints or interior finishes?
Well, the owner of this car showed up at Lunaz headquarters without prior notice. He also did it wearing the strangest shoes … so “peculiar” is a good adjective to define this type of people.
He also owns one of the largest collections of pre-war classics in the world, so he clearly loves classics, but is aware that they can be somewhat difficult to drive. He wanted something to take with his family on a daily basis; something like ‘plug and play’. And with elegance.
So what is the verdict?
You may think that this entire undertaking is sacrilege. I do not agree: These big Bentley never squeezed the sound out of their V8sbut the stealthy and smooth advance. Electric power fits perfectly.
At Lunaz they say that he is “propping up the legacy of the most beautiful cars in the world.” In other words, you are not killing history, but preserving it for future generations. If you keep beauties like this on the road, I’m 100% on board the ship.
A Jack Rix story with photos by Mark Fagelson
The EV Awards have been sponsored by Hankook
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They don’t make them like they used to, right? The big ones classics we continue to brighten our eyes with bodies from great designers. But there are also the popular classics of any age or condition, they remain a benchmark among motor enthusiasts. Here you have everything that interests you!