Bruno von Nünlist has a strong predilection for British automobiles. CineCars travelled to Switzerland to video three of his thoroughbreds. Today we present episode 1, ‘Der Bentley’.
Seated amongst his parafernalia, Opera singer Bruno von Nünlist recites from the original 1995 Bentley Continental R prospectus. In mouth-filling volumes it takes us along meandering French country roads. With a crate of wine in the boot of the car we zoom through the silence of the dark night. The literature department of the Bentley corporation leaves no cliché untouched, it’s just brilliant. This is why Bruno loves his English motorcars so much, why his heart starts pounding by the shine of the walnut and the smell of Connolly leather and lamb wool carpets. The grandeur and class of an English gentleman’s club. Cigar, Sir?
In the eyes of its ‘custodian’ the Bentley Continental R is the last of the real Bentleys. The last from the Rolls Royce era, the last one that was truly handcrafted from a to z. The Continental R is the summum of luxury and speed. Although it is clearly a 2-door coupé, the Bentley obviously isn’t a thoroughbred sportscar. Everything in and around the car breathe tranquility. The sober lines of the vast bodywork, but especially the beneficent luxury of the interior. The wood of the dashboard shines at you with a generous brille, the Connolly leather is dense and flawless, the carpets pure wool and almost too lush to bluntly place your loafers on. However it is all in the detail. The way everything turns, clicks and slides. The sturdy clack when closing the dashboard cabinet. Here we won’t find any plastic knobs or rattling covers. No superfluous design, but a type of over-engineering that borders to perfectionism, no, that sprouts from the never-ending urge to build the very best.
For Bruno the Continental R culminates everything good Great Britain ever generated. The embodiment of a mix between craft and industrial heritage that has known no equal. Quality that comes at a price, that won’t be a surprise to anyone. A degree of finishing that is only commercially viable at this very level of car making. It does give you value for money, there is no doubt about that. A Bentley is not a car for an Average Joe. It was never meant to be and it never will be. Bruno von Nünlist even adds to that theory. He sees the ‘possession’ of a car like this not from an ‘owner’ point of view, he looks at himself as the custodian who will safeguard this gem for posterity. With the holy belief that so much quality and craftsmanship will outlive everything and everyone.
When you find a car like this in front of your camera, an owner relating so full of fire on every detail from the history of this car, this model, this brand, that’s when you know you’re filming something extraordinary. And no, this isn’t a classic in the literal way, a Bentley Continental R is simply the result of a century of technological progress, of traditions that go back much much longer. When you find yourself gliding swiftly through the Swiss landscape, that’s when you realise just how much comfort a car can offer. How it is finished to perfection. Perfection adjacent to dullness. And that is exactly what makes the story of Bruno and his Bentley so very special.
Marc GF Zaan