A TALE OF TWO WHEELS (Steering Wheels)

by Rau on May 21, 2012

in Accessories

a story about two men, two wheels, and the desire to change.

Chapter 1
A Wheel from ENGLAND

A customer from Leicester, England named Gerry acquired a previously owned 2007 Bentley Azure but was dissatisfied with the Azure’s steering wheel’s appearance, so he decided to upgrade the look of the wheel. Gerry contacted us, and we were happy to help.

The wheel originally had beige leather around the airbag extending to the grip and black leather around the grip. Gerry wanted the beige leather around the airbag to remain intact, but he wanted Piano Black and Mother of Pearl inlays to replace the black leather. He was going to be on vacation or “holiday” and he wanted the wheel to be removed, shipped “across the pond”, refinished, shipped back, and replaced in the vehicle while he was away.

That was a tough task, thankfully the Bentley technicians, a speedy shipping service, and our years of experience made the project a complete success. The wheel was finished beautifully and back in the car before Gerry had a chance to miss it.

That wheel traveled over 10,700 miles round trip, the leather was removed, replaced with Piano Black featuring Mother of Pearl inlays, and replaced in the car all while Gerry was on “holiday”. He was very satisfied.

“The new steering wheel looks absolutely brilliant!  I am delighted and the Bentley dealer was most impressed too. You may hear from him in due course.”

Gerry S.

That may seem challenging but that wheel was far from the only project we were working on at that time. While completing the Azure project, we were also working on a wheel for a Bentley Arnage for a customer in Texas. The Azure and Arnage are two different Bentley vehicles but they just happen to use the same steering wheel. This is a good opportunity to show how a wheel can be redesigned to fit any customer’s taste.

Chapter 2
A Wheel from TEXAS

A customer from Texas named Kirk grew dissatisfied with his Bentley Arnage’s interior, specifically the steering wheel. This vehicle came from the factory with beautiful Walnut Burl interior, but for some reason included a poorly matched solid walnut steering wheel. The steering wheel didn’t fit in well with the rest of the interior. So Kirk asked his local Bentley dealership’s Service Manager what his options were, and he suggested the wheels solid walnut should be replaced by us because he was “aware of (our) impeccable work, (because we’ve) done work on other customer's vehicles in the past, and he is most impressed!”

Fun Fact: While we were working on these two wheels, the Gerry from England was away from England and the Kirk from Texas was in England!

Bentley made rather unusual design choices with this steering wheel. The Walnut Burl around the buttons on the steering wheel matched the rest of the interior, but the solid Walnut around the steering wheel was completely different. The customer wanted us to make his wheel match the rest of the interior. Now matching Burl’s unique color and look is no small feat, but as always we were up to the challenge.

Originally Kirk just wanted a two piece wood steering wheel similar to the factory layout of wood and leather but with proper wood. In an email it mentioned that other customers sometimes choose to go with a full burl wood wheel. Kirk must not have known this was an option, but he liked it a lot and decided to go with a full burl wood steering wheel.

We made the wheel match the rest of the interior. The wheel was returned, back in his car and he was very satisfied.

After receiving his wheel he wanted to say something nice on our blog.

"Awe inspiring, stunning, exquisite - mere words are inadequate to describe this wheel!  Mr. Rau's considerable experience and artistic talent provided input during the design phase that enhanced the aesthetic and ergonomic aspects of the finished product.  Attention to detail in the selection of the veneer resulted in a full burl walnut wheel that perfectly matched the color and grain of the factory wood in my Arnage.

Mr. Rau is a true gentleman who made the entire process a seamless and pleasant experience."

Kirk S.

We enjoy meeting tight deadlines, we really enjoy exceeding our customers’ expectations, and we love hearing from very satisfied customers. It makes all the sawdust and splinters worthwhile.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

David June 27, 2012 at 9:19 am

Another funny way to tell this interesting story. Good job.


Rau June 27, 2012 at 9:21 am

Thank you.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: