There’s no need to be shy. “You can get up real close,” says Bentley Motors’ Adrian Hallmark. He invites us to look, feel, caress the car. A Continental GT. Hallmark was there for the original launch back in 2003, as board member in charge of marketing and sales. In 2018, after several years at various other brands, he returned to Bentley as Chairman and CEO. His career is intimately linked to this car. Again and again during our shoot, he glances at it, seemingly lost in thought, reflecting on the past. So many adventures . . .
This isn’t just any Bentley we’re washing here today. With this ramp CarWash of a Bentley Continental GT, you are also looking back on a personal success story that began twenty years ago.
When Bentley unveiled the Continental GT in 2003, I was responsible for the launch as director of marketing and sales. But the story actually goes back further, because I started in 1999, about nine months after Volkswagen had bought the company. I remember that Ferdinand Piëch had a vision to build ten thousand cars a year. So we analyzed the segment, the market, the brand, the customers and the history to convince him to scrap his original plan and to have three body styles instead of one, two engines instead of one, and to make it a W12 instead of a V8. Piëch agreed and put huge personal effort and time into working with us. He was being heavily criticized at the time for buying Bugatti and Lamborghini, but he would come to the factory every month to meet with us. And once he accepted the strategy, he fully supported it. The Continental GT was the result of four years of reimagining the brand and creating something that no one had ever created before. It was a big risk.