Bentley Borrows from the Art Deco Era for a Limited Edition GT Speed Model and William Rau makes a Custom Steering Wheel to Seal the Deal

by Rau on September 5, 2010

in Accessories

The darling of Art Deco designers, amboyna is a marvelously luxurious burl from the tree that is commonly known as padauk. It is a rare, exotic hardwood that grows in Southeast Asia and varies in color from yellow to golden brown to red and demands a price as high as $500 / bd ft. It was used in the art deco era to manufacture ornate and intricate furniture pieces. However, it is very rare to find amboyna burl used as car trim.

A US Bentley dealer had a potential customer who wanted to order a limited edition Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed. What made this situation particularly unique was that Bentley had chosen to trim it in Amboyna Burl.

Exotic Amboyna Burl is perfect for Luxury car like Bentley

Here is the million-dollar question: What is the most important part of a car? Motor, chassis, high-tech electronics, safety system, the overall look …?

For this buyer, you would never guess, it was the steering wheel. He made it a condition to take the car only if they could find a matching steering wheel to the rare factory wood interior! You’ve got to be kidding!

Rau & team were contacted to solve this situation and we were excited to create the only Bentley GT Speed steering wheel of amboyna burl in the known universe. Meanwhile we provided a loaner GT Speed wheel so the customer could take delivery of the vehicle.

We had in house one bundle of this exotic wood that had been purchased for an Austrian customer twelve years ago for the interior of two Bentleys. The gentleman owned two 60’s Continentals, a coupe in the US and a drop head in Europe. However, his work had never materialized.

From emails it appeared our material might be a good match. Unfortunately, upon receiving the wood ashtray fascia from the car, our amboyna was a close but still unsatisfactory match.

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Bypassing the limitations of images over the net, we sent the factory ashtray to various veneer houses to locate the best wood match possible. After rendering several color samples with the new amboyna to achieve the best color match we manufactured the wheel. The owner took such a liking to the steering wheel that he ordered a 2nd one for the same car in a different wood and leather configuration.

So, Bentley owners worldwide, we still have this well-aged amboyna burl for some beautiful interior trim and steering wheel – any takers? (Also read about the first Bentley GT Speed wood steering wheel in the world.)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sat Anlage January 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm

awesome blog, do you have twitter or facebook? i will bookmark this page thanks. lina holzbauer


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