From a small design team working on the Silver Spirit/Mulsanne, to becoming Chief Stylist, Graham Hull peels back the curtain on an idiosyncratic institution during his time at Crewe. Throwing light on a factory motivated as much by pride as the bottom-line, all of the projects - whether production, special commission, or aborted designs - are covered, and the often unique styling process is explored. This process was a key element in the resurgence of the dormant Bentley marque, that, with its fortunes on the rise, became the star of the Geneva Motor Show, attracting commissions from wealthy enthusiasts for totally bespoke vehicles. Founding fathers Royce and Rolls melded engineering with marketing, but as marketing took over, this union fractured. The drama of how this British institution was divided between BMW and VW, and how aesthetic design, never cherished by British management, was increasingly recognised, is fundamental to the story. The bewildering number of projects during the 1990s is a genuine eye-opener and a phenomena that demanded unique people, skills, and facilities.
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Graham Hull studied Industrial Design at Harrow School of Art, and the Central School of Art and Design, London, sponsored by Chrysler UK, under Roy Axe, on the Royal College of Art Automotive Design course. He joined Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Crewe, as as Stylist, in 1971, becoming Chief Stylist and head of Department in 1984. His career at Crewe spanned 30 years. Apart from all Crewe studio projects, he has worked with various consultants and design houses, on all manner of projects, including special limited production orders, ranging from Head of State limousines, to two-seater sports cars.
Graham has worked in France, Germany, Italy and America, and his work has appeared in the international design press. In his spare-time he has been involved in three of his own project vehicles, has continued to illustrate cars, and has made several eighth-scale models.Review:
"A superb book!" - Oldtimer Magazine/ Dreamcar Magazine
"This is the most interesting book on Rolls-Royce and the development of the cars ever printed. That's all you need to know. Get it for yourself and buy a copy for your buddy too. You won't be able to put it down." - The Modern Car
"Funny, touching and immensely readable this book by Graham Hull offers a rare human glimpse into the pressured world behind the cold if starkly beautiful shiny metal exteriors of two of the world's most fought-over mechanical masterpieces. Thoroughly recommended. Lavishly illustrated and jolly good value for money." - Big End
"A highly interesting insider report." - British Classics
"this is a useful reference as well as a fine read." - Classic & Sports Car (UK)
"Books by stylists are fairly rare, and for such a famous company, comparatively little has been written in any context about the Rolls Royce and Bentley operation at Crewe, so Graham Hull's book is doubly welcome ... A fascinating account of how two of the most famous marques in the world were designed and built effectively by a cottage industry and one which, thanks to the needs-must school of ingenuity, survived into the twenty-first century." - Kieron Fennelly
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