In a historic move no doubt influenced by PETA lobbyists and mounting pressure from both the Elks Lodge and Caribou Labor Union, manufacturing mogul and holiday god-emperor Santa Claus (née Saint Nicholas) is apparently retiring his traditional reindeer-flown sleigh for something a bit more terrestrial. Nothing is written in the snow yet, but Bentley’s latest bespoke commission appears to be right in line with Father Christmas’ well-known aesthetic sensibilities.
Chalk it up to too much eggnog or finally getting a smooch under the mistletoe from the Spirit of Ecstasy, but the Crewe-based automaker is uncharacteristically forthcoming about the identity of this mystery buyer. In a release full of cheer, Bentley all but confirms Kris Kringle as the force behind this commission; as the extent of Santa’s corporate holdings aside from his North Pole-based for-charity manufacturing empire and tax haven are unclear, we’re not sure how he managed to afford a one-off Bentley commission. We expect to see more than one strike from his live-in manufacturing workforce, as the standard North Pole salary of warm cookies and hot cocoa alone does not pay for the respackling of gingerbread walls and mounting electric bills from year-round holiday displays.
Regardless, enough individual touches adorn this bespoke Flying Spur V8 that Bentley bestowed it the unique name of “The Reindeer Eight.” Visually, the Reindeer Eight should fit right in line with the traditional red and green tinsel that hangs at Santa’s headquarters; Crewe modified the existing Cricket Ball paint color that’s one of 62 individual shades from Bentley’s Extended Range into a new darker red hue it calls Cricket Bauble, accented by gold trim on the hood and running the length of the car to the rear diffuser.
Gold wheels from the Mulliner Driving Specification package and a diamond gradient motif inspired by the snow-covered mountains often traipsed by the commissioner in his journey around the planet round out the exterior design. As the cherry on top of the egg nog, the iconic Flying B mascot on the front grille is now a miniature sculpture of a gold reindeer.
Inside, Santa chose matching Cricket Bauble upholstery, replete with gold embroidery and three-dimensional leather inserts into the seats that took “18 hours for an elf or craftsperson to complete,” according to Bentley. Whether ordered by the portly customer or not, Bentley confirmed engineers tested interior capacities to accommodate an individual who partook in “uncontrolled mince pie consumption.” Custom embroidery of the consignee’s name is present on the driver’s seat, complemented by the embroidered name of his wife (presumably his business partner Mrs. Claus) on the passenger seat.
Elsewhere, the Grand Black dash veneer wears a depiction of a North Pole winter scene, framing the Bentley Rotating Display in the center of the dash that hides or displays a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment screen that—for the first time ever—integrates the buyer’s controversial Naughty or Nice list. (This same list has of late come under scrutiny for its moral ambiguity and his clandestine method of data acquisition.) When not in use, the screen flips to display a trio of analog gauges for outside temperature, a compass, and a chronometer.
The powertrain remains unchanged for the Reindeer Eight, with the familiar 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 offering up the same 542 hp and 569 lb-ft through the eight-speed automatic transmission. As is the case on all Bentleys, all-wheel drive is standard, though the automaker confirms the Reindeer Eight is shod with all-seasons in deference to its buyer’s arctic home environs.
“What fun it is to ride in a 542-hp sleigh. Plus, there’s space in the back for all my subordinate Clauses. I’m looking forward to putting 41 million miles on the clock before the end of the year,” the purchaser commented in Bentley’s release. In our eyes, it’s a bit odd as to why he picked the V-8 rather than the available 6.0-liter twin-turbo W-12; the physical, mechanical, and magical properties to Santa’s iconic reindeer-driven sleigh are still unknown, but through official filings with NORAD, physicists and mathematicians have estimated the sleigh’s power output as low as 6.37 trillion hp for the total set-up and as high as 3.3 x 1027 hp per reindeer.
Unfortunately, any hopes of seeing the Reindeer Eight in action are likely in vain, as he both knows when you are sleeping and knows when you are awake, and will not make a stopover at your place of residence if you aren’t fast asleep with visions of sugarplums dancing in your head. In the spirit of the season, Bentley confirmed the official hand-over to the customer was done with full COVID precautions. In addition, Crewe announced this endeavor exhausted its 2020 reserve of puns.