Bentley ‘Flying B’ mascot is ordered by 97% of Flying Spur customers
The Bentley ‘Flying B’ mascot, which comes as standard on the Flying Spur Mulliner, is also available as an option on all Flying Spur models as well, and it finds 97 per cent uptake from the customers of the latter. In its sixth design iteration now, the mascot perfectly synchronizes with the headlamps of the vehicle and its delicate clear acrylic wings briefly illuminate with a welcoming glow.
While many versions of the ‘Flying B’ mascot have been available through years, the latest iteration is the first in Bentley history to be deployed electronically, the first to feature a cover plate that replaces it when stowed, the first with clear acrylic wings and the first to be internally illuminated.
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The Bentley ‘Flying B’ mascot is cast as a single piece of 316 grade stainless steel, which has an austenitic crystalline structure. It is a tough structure and capable of withstanding extremes of temperature. The addition of molybdenum also gives it corrosion resistance, vitally important for a component that’s exposed to the elements all year round anywhere from the arctic circle to the equator.
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The mascot is made using the investment casting process at Lestercast Ltd, a technique usually reserved for precision components such as gas turbine blades. This form of casting, though time consuming, is typically used for making complex-shaped components that require tighter tolerances, thinner walls and a better surface finish than can be obtained with sand casting.
The entire process of creating the ‘Flying B’ mascot takes somewhere around 11 weeks from start to finish, after which the mascot is ready for assembly by WCM Europe Ltd, of the crystal acrylic wings, wiring and tiny LEDs.
During the initial days of Bentley, the models were not fitted with a bonnet mascot. The oldest Bentley in existence, EXP2, featured a simple water temperature gauge as a radiator cap directly in the driver’s line of sight. But demand from owners led the company to offer from the mid-1920s an ornate, upright brass ‘B’ featuring wings held horizontally.