Few, if any, automakers can claim heritage in a new model stretching back to the 1500s. Partly, that’s because cars themselves were invented 300 or so years after that, in the late 1800s, and partly because there aren’t many tangible links between modern companies and anything from the Renaissance era. Bentley’s Mulliner division stands as the lone exception: The outfit started out as a saddler, and before it was constructing bespoke bodies for horseless carriages in the early 20th century, it constructed bespoke bodies for horse’d carriages beginning in the 1760s. Now, Mulliner has a new, thoroughly modern project: The jaw-dropping Bacalar.
Unless you were hit on the head by a very large apple while discovering gravity—or learning reasons not to sit beneath apple trees—nothing about the Bentley Mulliner Bacalar should appear to have anything to do with carriages. It does, however, mark Mulliner’s triumphant return to coachbuilding. The gorgeous droptop Bentley is, loosely speaking, a Continental GT convertible underneath—but its every body panel is unique, as is its interior. (The only carry-over exterior parts from the Bentley Continental GT are the door handles, because Mulliner wanted to keep their keyless entry sensors.) It is named for Mexico’s Laguna Bacalar, located in the Yucatan, and certainly seems ready for sunny-weather cruises, be they in some exotic location or someplace as droll and common as Laguna Beach, California.