Alias Sub-D Modelling

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Alias Sub Divisional Modelling has been around for a good few years now. But initially I was sceptical of how it would fit into my workflow. Around the time the software first became available I did a couple of tutorials and concluded that I could build a car quicker in Nurbs.

But over the next couple of years the software became more and more adopted and talked about within the car industry. Clients also started requested model programs in Sub-D, something they previously had not specified. So late in 2021 I decided I could no longer ignore this software and took a week off work to learn it. But this time with a much more open mind. This turned out to be fortuitous as by the beginning of 2022 I had to deliver my first Sub-D Model to a client. This was subsequently followed by another couple of client models in Sub-D.

My attitude towards the software has completely changed. Although the workflow initially feels alien to an experienced Nurbs modeller, Sub Divisional Modelling is incredibly simple in terms of tools and workflow. After an initial steep learning curve the software soon becomes very easy to use and very powerful. With delivery of beautiful client models in several of days a reality and something that simply is not possible in Nurbs. Personally it feels amazing to be faced with a new challenge and a new way of modelling after having used Nurbs for over 20 years

As we head through 2022, I can see a that I will be spending more and more time using Sub-D and less and less using Nurbs. As an Exterior Concept Modeller it is only a matter of time before Sub-D is my dominant modelling tool.

2021 The Car Industry Rebounds

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After such a difficult year in 2020, where I spend several months without work, it was hard to imagine that 2021 was going to be the complete opposite. Still if history has taught me anything it is that the Car Industry bounces back big and hard after a period of down time, and that is exactly what happened in 2021.

By the end of January 2021 the projects were pouring in and I found myself in a difficult position of whether to carry on working with Bentley Motors or return to Makkina. I had strong ties to both companies, and over the previous 15 years had found myself invariably working for one or the other. Eventually I decided to part ways with Bentley and start once more working with Makkina.

The rest of the year was a whirlwind as the OEM’s tried to pull their projects on track after months of being on hold in 2020. Personal it was a relief to be so busy and and refreshing to see working from home working so effectively. Something previously not considered possible by most.

As we move into 2022 the projects the industry in showing no signs of letting up. Fingers crossed that we can see an end to the pandemic and start to return to some sort of normality.

Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020

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It’s fair to say that 2020 is a year that no one is going to forget… ever. Like a lot of people, this year has been pretty difficult to navigate and to remain employed. After finishing my contract at Charge Cars I returned to Makkina In November 2019. At the time the studio was very busy with several amazing projects lined up for early 2020.

But as we approached March 2020 these projects suddenly started disappearing as Europe and Asian went into lockdown. Most OEM work dried up overnight and I was facing the prospect of having no work or contract for the first time in my life. I wasn’t alone – many of my colleagues and friends were finding themselves in the same situation.

The next 6 months proved to be extremely difficult and I found myself not working for weeks at a time. Luckily Makkina were still attracting clients and I was also able to pick up a couple of private jobs as well, but it remained difficult both financially and mentally. At the time I assumed everything would return to normal fairly soon, and I just needed to stick things out. But as the year dragged on and a second lockdown loomed it was clear that this wasn’t going to be the case.

By September a few of the OEM’s were re-employing their contractors, with Bentley being one such company. I contacted my old colleagues with the prospect of contracting for them again for the remainder of the year. Fortunately, for me, this has paned out and I have work to see me through til Christmas.

It is now mid November and I wondering what next year is going to bring. There are signs that the industry is steadily starting to build momentum once again. I hope this is the case and 2021 is not a repeat of this year. Fingers crossed!

Bentayga breaks SUV record at Pikes Peak

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The Bentley Bentayga has demonstrated its outstanding performance credentials by claiming the outright record for a production SUV at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb.

Driven by two-time champion Rhys Millen (NZ), the Bentayga completed the 12.42-mile course in just 10:49.9 – taking nearly two minutes off the previous record by averaging 66.5 mph. Climbing almost 5,000 ft through 156 corners, the Bentayga deployed its unique combination of a 600 bhp, 900 Nm W12 engine, adaptive air suspension, active electric 48V anti-roll control and carbon ceramic brakes to set a stunning new benchmark.

Bentley’s Member of the Board for Sales & Marketing, Chris Craft, comments:

“This record proves the outstanding dynamic ability of the Bentayga – demonstrating again how Bentley Motors is the only automotive company in the world that can combine pinnacle luxury and breath-taking performance. Congratulations to all at Bentley Motorsport and to Rhys Millen and his team.”

Speaking immediately after his run, Rhys Millen commented:

“What an incredible machine. To take a luxury SUV with minimal modifications and be able to drive up this course in under 11 minutes is a huge testament to the performance and level of engineering in the Bentayga. I had a great run – the car was planted all the way up and gave me the confidence I needed to push hard. I’m delighted to take the SUV record for Bentley and for everyone that’s been involved in this project.”

Implementing Virtual Reality into the Design Process

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Over the past few months Bentley Motors has seen a rapid rise in the use of Virtual Reality (VR) within the design process. With the increasing advancements in hardware power coupled with the new HTC Vive headsets and associated technology, Bentley’s designers and modellers have found that VR is now playing a key role in the product development of its new vehicles.

We can now walk around full-size digital models of cars and explore their overall volumes, assess their surface forms and highlights in a way that could never be realised before. This is true game-changers for designers and digital modellers alike.

One of the biggest shortcomings of digital design was scale and context. On a conventional monitor or powerwall it was impossible to truly visualise the scale of the car you were building. But seeing your CAD model rendered full-size in VR has demolished that shortcoming. The VR output from Autodesk VRED is very convincing and is allowing automotive design to progress at speeds and cost-savings that couldn’t previously be achieved. Decisions on exterior volumes and proportions can now be confidently taken without the need for expensive physical models. Likewise the same can be said about various design proposals.

We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg now, but VR is going to permutate all areas of car design, colour and trim specs, customer experience and so forth.This is a very exciting time.

HRH The Princess Royal opens new Bentley Research & Development Centre

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Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal today visited the Bentley Motors headquarters in Crewe to open a new research and development centre – 25 Pyms Lane – which is home to more than 400 Bentley engineers.

The new building covers 7,200 square metres over four storeys and was constructed in just seven months. The building marks the first stage of Bentley’s headquarter expansion which continues to develop the site as an industry-leading, modern, efficient manufacturing facility.

Commenting on the visit, Wolfgang Dürheimer, Bentley Chairman and CEO, said:

“Our research and development centre, 25 Pyms Lane, is where a new generation of Bentleys will be developed, which will continue our commitment to luxury, performance, quality and engineering excellence.”

“We are honoured that we could welcome Her Royal Highness once again to our expanding headquarters, not just to celebrate the continued evolution of our site, but to demonstrate first-hand the skill of our engineers, craftspeople and trainees here in Crewe.”

Before unveiling a plaque to officially open the new building, The Princess Royal visited Bentley’s flagship showroom, CW1 House, and then toured the main production facility where the company’s four model lines, Bentayga, Continental, Flying Spur and Mulsanne are handcrafted.

Her Royal Highness also met both apprentices and colleagues working on bespoke training islands in wood and leather, learning more about Bentley’s innovative approach to training young people and continuously improving the skills of colleagues in all areas of the business.

Bentley’s manufacturing apprenticeship programme has recently received national recognition by The Princess Royal herself, being named outstanding by the inaugural Princess Royal Training Awards, created to recognise learning and skills development in industry. Her Royal Highness will host the Awards ceremony at St James’s Palace in November.

Bentley wins ‘Team of the Year’ award from German Design Council

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Bentley’s Design Team, under the leadership of Director of Design, Stefan Sielaff, has collected the ‘Team of the Year’ award at the prestigious Automotive Brand Contest, hosted by the German Design Council.

The judging panel praised the team’s ‘passion, expertise and joy’ in creating outstanding models, and noted how Bentley’s design approach is successfully future-proofing the luxury brand.

Speaking at the ceremony in Paris’ Maison de Polytechniciens, Stefan Sielaff said:

“This award recognises the continuing passion, attention to detail and craftsmanship that our luxury customers appreciate. I passionately believe that personalisation and authentic materials – which are already fundamental elements of Bentley’s appeal – will be the keys to success in the luxury car market of the future, so to be recognized here is a very promising sign.”

Sielaff was joined in Paris by Rolf Frech, Bentley’s Board Member for Engineering; Romulus Rost, Head of Interior Design, Colour and Trim; J.P. Gregory, Head of Exterior Design; Head of Modelling and Design Operations, Kevin Baker; Jeffrey King, Head of Advanced Surfacing and Luis Santos, Head of Design Projects.

Bentley also picked up two other significant Automotive Brand Contest awards for the new Bentayga: ‘Best of the Best’ in the Interior category and overall winner in the Exterior Premium Brand category.

Andrej Kupetz, CEO of the German Design Council, said:

“Under the design leadership of Stefan Sielaff, Bentley is transforming into a luxury brand for the future. With their specific skills in designing every facet of a luxury car, the team’s achievements are impressive in every respect. In every Bentley, every new model series, every concept car, the observer can sense the passion, expertise and joy with which the designers are plying their trade.”

Commenting on the two prizes awarded specifically to the Bentayga, Kueptz added:

“With the Bentayga’s interior, Bentley has transformed its design history and specific details of the brand into an entirely new vehicle configuration. What has been created is a perfect, British luxury interior.”

Congratulations team! It’s fantastic to be recognised in this way.

Sir Peter Blake creates Pop Art Bentley for charity auction

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14 April 2016

Bentley Motors has teamed up with the godfather of British pop art, Sir Peter Blake, to create a one-of-a-kind Bentley Continental GT V8 S Convertible. This unique car will be auctioned for charity by Bonhams at the Goodwood Festival of Speed on 24 June.

Bentley commissioned Sir Peter to deliver the world’s first pop art Bentley, drawing on inspiration from the acclaimed artist’s celebrated career at the forefront of the famous British pop art movement. Bentley has donated the car to the Care2Save Charitable Trust, which provides palliative and hospice care around the world.

Commenting on this individual commission and the Charitable Trust, Kevin Rose, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Sales, Marketing and Aftersales, says:

“Sir Peter has designed a strikingly colourful car, encapsulating exactly why he is thought of as one of Britain’s leading artists. It was a fascinating project to be part of, particularly for the skilled artisans in our bespoke Mulliner division, who worked closely with Sir Peter to bring this design to life. We have proudly supported the Care2Save Charitable Trust and the hospice movement for more than 25 years and so take great delight from donating this inimitable car for such a worthwhile cause.”

Sir Peter Blake, perhaps best known for designing the sleeve for The Beatles iconic SgtPepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, comments:

“I am proud to have been involved with transforming this beautiful car, and have enormous admiration for the people at Bentley who brought my design into being, to produce this one-off lovely car.”

The Bentley By Me campaign launched earlier this year, allows people the opportunity to donate any amount from £1 to help transform hospice and palliative care around the world, with the opportunity to win a Bentley.

Using the money raised from the Bentley by Me and Bentley By Blake campaigns, The Care2Save Charitable Trust will work with organisations and charities in other countries to educate and empower them to build their own sustainable and affordable hospice and palliative care models.

More information on the Bentley By Me campaign can be found at

First Bentley Bentayga rolls off the production line

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The very first Bentley Bentayga rolled off the production line in Crewe today, in what has been a very exciting day here at the factory, marking the culmination of 4 years hard work by everyone involved. This also marks the first time that Bentley has had 3 product lines available for sale. The other two being the Continental and Mulsanne ranges.

This has been one of the biggest investment programmes in the company’s history and is a massive success story for the factory in Crewe and for the local economy. The first Bentayga’s will be available for customers in early January.

Bentley Chairman and CEO, Wolfgang Dürheimer, commented today:

“Bentley Bentayga will be the benchmark against which all other SUVs are measured, defining a new segment – the luxury SUV.”

“This car is a celebration of UK manufacturing at its very best, not only reinforcing our commitment to industry in this country, job creation and significant investment, but to our home in Crewe. This is an important moment in our history, where we reflect and celebrate, but also look ahead to delivering this extraordinary car to our customers.”

Even after all this time working in the industry, it never fails to be exciting to see a new car launched that you have been so involved in. And what a special and historic car this is.