Luxury Off-Roading

Clear blue skies, the promise of a warm day, 8 Benteyga’s and 2 Mulsanne’s parked outside the Grosvenor Hotel Chester, this was lining up to be a good day.

Up to 30 VIP guests were in for a Benteyga experience. I’d experience the Benteyga on a previous visit so I was pleased to be placed in a Mulsanne… I’ve had worse ‘taxi’s’ which got me about on a job. The first port of call was at a local disused quarry near Chester for the guests to put the Benteyga through its paces and see that this is indeed just as comfortable and at home in a rough environment as well as on the open road.

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By this time the sun was glaring down and the temperature was raising… Along with the guidance of the Bentley drivers the guests took the opportunity to drive through various surfaces and gain first hand experience of the capability of this luxury 4×4!

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With plenty of soft sand, water, rocks, inclines and descents there was enough variety within this quarry to see how the 8 Benteyga’s handled. They all came down in single file into the heart of the quarry then it was like a scene  from ‘wackey races’ or a scene from Italian Job as they starburst out and all went off in search for a quick adventure.

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It was my task to capture the sights that displayed themselves before me, trying to anticipate where they would emerge from the water, trees or over rocks in order to get some varying images.

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What I saw from the guests faces there were plenty of smiles and it seemed that this was just a big playground with some big toys…

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I can’t show more images from the day due to confidentiality but the guests then went on a road trip to see how the £160k+ Benteyga handled on the road with its capacity of 0-60mph in 4 seconds before heading back to the HQ showroom…not bad for a 4×4.

A few more jobs with Bentley coming up but may be posted on my other editorial site www.jjpautophoto.co.uk.

Until next time…

Jona

Bentayga – Auto-Illustrierte gets a closer look…

Early on in 2016 I had another visit to the Bentley factory in Crewe. Over these last few years every time I’ve visited there’s been development to the site for one thing or another…. this visit was no exception. Since the launch of the Bentayga last year and other developments like all W12 engines are assembled in Crewe for the VW group, buildings have expanded and new ones on the up.

This commission was to capture images for an article for the Swiss based automotive magazine Auto-Illustrierte who had direct access to the Bentayga production line and a few key personnel to the Bentayga’s development.

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Soon into the factory tour you come to the steering wheel area…(sure it has a better name but think you get the idea 🙂

One of these trips I’ll pick up some interesting facts which I can blog about but the facts you hear soon leave my brain! One I did ask the guy above was how many ‘craft blades’ do you use and he said two blades per wheel…

Also the mention of a domestic fork and why they use them for these steering wheels always brings a smile to the face.

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The Bentayga line … clean and efficient as ever. If you like me and watch programs like ‘How things work’ etc then these places captivate you a little too much especially when your trying to focus on the job in hand.

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Moving onto a separate building we had a look round the engine assembly line. As this was an article specifically for the Bentayga I had to keep checking that what I was photographing was indeed destined for a Bentayga 🙂

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Each time I visit I try and get a different angle or another area that’s not been covered in my previous visits. This above is one of the temperature controlled room of some of the costly veneers sourced from around the world.

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One are that I like is not the colouring corner, but the leather preparation, although if it was the colouring corner you would get a bit bored of the limited coloured crayons!

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Peter Guest (Product Line Director – Bentley Motors) one of the two interviews for Auto-Illustrierte on the day.

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The other ‘interview’ discussion with was with Stefan Sielaff (Director of Design – Bentley Motors) around the Bentayga which we took out for a few images after the factory tour. The whole tour was done in German as the Bentley tour guide took the opportunity to keep one of his languages up to speed… I followed along nicely…. I wish!

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The original image and the opening shot for the article. Was very handy to have a hotel that you have connections in, so its a thank you to Bentley for that. The time scale for this shoot was fairly tight so limited scope of shoots were achievable.

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Never been a fan of brown cars but this is probably the only exception. The ride in the rear was something I could get used too. I think this could be a great tracking car for my work…. so I’ll start saving me pocket money. 🙂

You can see the full article in the In Print section of my portfolio.

Until next time

Jona

Bentley – Italian Factory Visit

Getting a call from Bentley Motors always puts a smile on my face as they produce one of my favorite cars… the Continental GT.

This time it was to document a visit from a few Italian Automotive Journalists and their tour around the Crewe based factory. Although the factory doesn’t run to full capacity on Fridays there were still plenty of activity in certain areas.

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Starting off at the factory we were taken around by our host through the history and early cars which they still use and ship around the world for events and rallies.

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(Factory tours are exclusively available to Bentley owners)

Although alot of modern technology and processes are used in creating a Bentley the craftsmanship has never left the place and is still fascinating to watch these men and women at work.

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Just for the steering wheel alone there was a large area of said craftsmen and women creating each individual wheel tailored to the customers wishes and spec.

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Ever stitch on the wheel is done all by hand. The only exception to this is the stitch you can see just above the left thumb on the darker material. This is because of the tension within the leather and so a machine is used. Above you can see the holes being punched, each one by hand before stitching.

Staying in this area there where the machinists stitching the leather seat covers.

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Again each set of covers are made for the customer, no off the shelf covers or anything else for that matter in Bentley.

I think a fairly new option (if I heard right) was the availability to have your seats cross stitched.

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Again all done by hand. The image above right shows the slack being taken out and the right tension in the stitch being applied. To give you an idea of time and attention to detail; to finished Bentley’s largest model the Mulsanne would take 70+ man hours to cross stitch.

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A massive workshop is the leather prep, where grading, preparation of the hides takes place… again attention to detail is paramount and a joy to watch.

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Never get tired of visiting the factory and seeing behind the scenes of a this true British brand. With the unavailing of the EXP 10 Speed Concept at Geneva the future looks very bright indeed. Along with the new SUV which goes into production within 12 months Bentley is looking stronger.

I mentioned earlier on that the Continental is definitely one of my favorite cars and it has had a facelift just to keep things fresh. (you can see it here)

Here are a few images of the Continental taken for the Italian journalists.

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I’ll be keeping an eye out of the various Italian magazines that some of the images will feature in and will no doubt try and post some examples.

One final image for you to look at….

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Till next time

Jona

Goodwood to Venice – 7 Day Rally / Trip

A little over a month now I formed part of a 4 person crew driving two support vehicles with the extra role of rally photographer. Not so much driving and car photography but documentary / street / fly on the wall photography….or which ever you want to call it. This area of editorial photography suits me down to the ground.

The trip started early at Goodwood with a few laps around the track and then off to the channel tunnel. A couple of nights through France then a short trip through Switzerland then onto Italy.

Documenting the places / hotels and people on the trip to produce a story / timeline of the 7 day trip. This was then offered as a leather bound Photo Story Book to the guests on the trip.

Just over 21 cars were entered. Bentley’s, Ferrari’s, Porsche’s and Aston’s to name but a few of the cars involved. Please follow this link to see a selection of promo shots selected to give a flavour of the rally.

For more info on the next scheduled rally please visit Riviera Rally 2015. Next years destination is casino square Monte Carlo.

Jona

To see a few more images that include some of the destinations please follow this link.

 

Morgan Motor Company … Factory life in 1999

Think this formed part of my photography degree work…back in the day. Don’t think these images have ever gone out of date due to the nature of the Malvern factory and Morgan Moror Co. I was there for a couple of days with my old medium format film camera with B&W film (plus I took about 20 images on colour film) just capturing the life and goings on in the factory as I saw it.

I love the power of photography and capturing a moment that is then recorded for history. The older the images get the more captivating they become. Take Bentley for instance, they have such a history within motor-racing and have the images to go with it. Not may companies be it within the automotive world or other sectors that take a positive step to document current projects, events, achievements in order to capture them for historical value.

(The Late Peter Morgan, sat on the ash wood which is used to make the car frame)

Anyway… I wanted to capture the people as well, to document these men and women that had a real skill and pride in manufacturing a true British motoring icon.

Please follow this link to see a selection of images taken back in 1999. I’m sure I’ll add to this album from time to time with other images I find.

Jona…

Autosport International – A few bits…

Sat 11th Jan found myself traveling early doors with a good friend down to the NEC. Not knowing what to expect as this was the first time at Autosport Int. Show.

After taking in the live event and having a laugh at the smart cars we headed off to what seemed like hall after hall of automotive life.

The best hospitality area IMO went to Caterham with its typically English feel 🙂 caterham loungeAlso on their stand is the best looking concept car I’ve seen for a while. The Aero Seven certainly grabs the attention but as ever I was looking at the details hence no image of the car its self. (If you want to see the car then follow this link

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JJP_6043The other car that I wanted to see was the Bentley GT3 which I kept an eye on whilst it was in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year. It looked big in images but in ‘the flesh’ that is some car.

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The last image I want to show you was PopBangColour a guy that looked like he was on the set of ‘Why Don’t You’… Great concept, great artist… great to see.

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Well as well as meeting a few other contacts it was a good day. Plus on the way back home we listened to SAFC…..they won 😉

#HappyDays