Go under the microscope with Bentley's metrology team

A team at Bentley measures every component of the company's vehicles.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

In a factory in Crewe, Cheshire, England, sits a large air-conditioned workshop hidden away from visitors. Inside sits an array of precision instruments that would be right at home in a university science lab or space agency. This is the Bentley metrology lab.

Metrology is the science of measurement. Its name isn't fancy, but its precise work is of the utmost importance. Bentley employee Michael Stockdale, Head of Metrology, runs the lab working with 25 colleagues to measure Bentley vehicles ensuring the most precise measurements possible.

Bentley metrology lab 2020 A team of scientists work together to ensure precise measuring takes place and that any variation in production are within acceptable tolerances.Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

In the U.S., such labs are frequently found as a part of a government institution. The Kansas Metrology Laboratory falls under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Department of Agriculture. The same goes for facilities in Texas and Nevada while South Dakota's falls under the Department of Public Safety. There are also private metrology labs that service clients worldwide.

Bentley's lab is specialized. It is capable of measuring every part of each model Bentley produces - even the concept cars, from the smallest washer to large body panels and interior trim components. "We have the tools to measure everything from the graining of leather to the surface of a cylinder bore, down to fractions of a micron" said Stockdale.

Why? To ensure that the vehicles are not out of alignment with the allowable tolerances. When components are measured individually, it is easy to see where an error may be occurring during production. This allows problems to be pinpointed during assembly and can result in a more precise vehicle arriving at dealerships and less recalls down the road.

There are instruments within Bentley's metrology department that can measure down to 0.5 microns. A micron is one millionth of a meter, and a human red blood cell is 5 microns in diameter. Not every component of a Bentley needs to be measured to tolerances of less than a micron, but there are some.

Flying B Spur mascot hood ornament The Flying B mascot is made of several intricate components.Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Take, for example, the Bentley Flying B mascot that rides on the hood of the Flying Spur. It smoothly moves up into the environment and then retracts into a safe space below the bonnet. That simple up-down maneuver requires the proper working mechanics of a series of intricate parts that come together in very close quarters. To achieve this precise choreography and to ensure that it sits perfectly centered within its plinth, elements of the Flying B system have tolerances as low as 0.15 millimeters. If one component is just a little bit off, it can disable the entire operation.

The engine has some of the most complex and microscopic components. The company describes their 6.0-litre W12 engine, "Spinning at up to 6,000 rpm, the crankshaft converts the immense downward forces generated by the pistons into rotary movement that powers the wheels. Though invisible to the naked eye, each of the twelve machined bearing journal surfaces in which the crankshaft sits features minute grooves that hold a microscopic film of oil."

By using a Perthometer (a tool designed to measure surface finishes), the Stockdale-led metrology team can verify that those minute grooves are within their defined tolerances.

The lab also contains a fleet of digital cameras that are able to photograph a vehicle at every angle to create a precise map for duplication. This map then serves as a template as the vehicle is carved out of a single piece of aluminum.

"Imagine an issue at the prototype stage where the panel gap between grille and bonnet is a millimetre too large," said Stockdale. "Does the fault lie with the grille, or the bonnet? The cubing reference vehicle provides the answer, because it's made to the precise dimensions of the CAD data."

Leitz Bentley metrology This machine can be equipped with tactile probes for scanning accuracy and a variety of optical sensors for non-contact measurements.This machinery retails for over $100,000.Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Soft surfaces, such as interior upholstery, are read by an optical laser.

Bentley keeps its lab at a comfortable 68 degrees at all times allowing for accuracy in all measurements and preventing shrinkage and expansion due to environmental conditions. Certain tools, however, require an even higher level of precision.

The metrology lab features a High Accuracy Measurement area, which Bentley refers to as its "inner sanctum". There, a dedicated climate control system ensures that the temperature never deviates by more than half a degree Celsius. Within this area are three gigantic granite blocks to which components can be clamped for the ultimate in stability, essential for an accurate reading. But first, the components to be measured have to soak in the atmosphere – literally. "A large component like an engine block might have to soak at a consistent temperature for up to a week, so we can be sure that it's 20°C all the way to the core" said Stockdale.

BRAKE DISC CONTRENCITY Bentley A disc brake is measured inside the metrology lab.Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Bentley calls the metrology department its "hidden heroes" saying, "Every Bentley that leaves the factory is a tribute to their unseen contribution."

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Post Oak Motor Cars now accepts Dogecoin and Bitcoin as payment.

Photo courtesy of Post Oak Motor Cars

Post Oak Motor Cars is now accepting dogecoin, a cryptocurrency that recently gained new heights of popularity following support from Tesla founder Elon Musk, as a form of payment. New Bugatti, Bentley, Karma, and Rolls-Royce vehicles are sold at the boutique sales location next to Houston's only five-star hotel, The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston.

This is the second form of cryptocurrency the Houston dealership has accepted. In 2018, Post Oak Motor Cars announced that it would allow customers to pay using bitcoin after integrating cryptocurrency processor Bitpay into its payment system.

Buy Sport, Premium and Luxury cars with Bitcoin from Post Oak Motor Cars.

Dogecoin was created in 2013 by software engineers from IBM and Adobe. In 2014, the currency briefly passed Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies in trading volume. Fast forward to 2020 when a TikTok trend encouraged people to purchase dogecoin in an effort to get the value to $1. By January 2021 Musk, Gene Simmons, Snoop Dogg, and GameStop short squeeze Redditors were all in on the buying binge pushing dogecoin's value to new heights.

In March of this year, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced that the team would allow the public to purchase tickets and products with the digital currency. Within two days, the Mavs had carried out over 20,000 Dogecoin transactions.

Last week, dogecoin's value was up 400 percent week-over-week, hitting an all-time high of $0.46 valuation on April 16. It is currently the fifth-highest valued cryptocurrency and its value is up 6,000 percent year-to-date. According to CNN, the total value of the dogecoins in circulation is nearly $50 billion.

Post Oak Motor Cars is owned by businessman Tilman Fertitta, CEO of Fertitta Entertainment. The billionaire is also the the chairman, CEO, and owner of Landry's, Inc. and owner of the Houston Rockets NBA team. The Rockets online shop currently allows customers to purchase items using Bitpay. Bitpay facilitates transactions for users wishing to complete a purchase using Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and other cryptocurrencies.

Buyers are currently able to buy a Tesla using Bitcoin, but despite Musk's appreciation for the brand faced by a Shiba Inu, dogecoin is not currently accepted as a form of payment.

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The newest Bentley Continental GT has broken cover.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

The recipe for the 2022 Bentley Continental ST Speed Convertible is pretty simple on its face. Take a Continental GT, make is a Speed, cut the roof off. Thanks to technological innovations, it's actually not that simple.

The third-generation Continental GT Speed Convertible features Bentley's 6.0-liter W12 engine that delivers 650 brake horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque that work to haul the car from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds. Bentley has installed an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission in the car. The luxury car is capable of reaching a top speed of 208 mph.

Bentley has given the model standard all-wheel steering, carbon ceramic brakes, Speed sport sills, dark tint grilles, Dark Tint radiator matrix, a Jewel fuel and oil filler cap, and Speed badging. There are three 22-inch wheel options (Dark Tint, Black Gloss, or Bright Silver) and seven roof colors available, including tweed. Eight interior roof finishers are available.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

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The Z-fold convertible roof system has been improved so that less noise permeates it in this generation than in the last. The new drophead car is as quiet as the previous generation Continental GT Coupe. The roof can be deployed in 19 seconds and with the car traveling at speeds of up to 30 mph.

The cabin of the car also gets Speed badging, as well as an Alcantara steering wheel and a color split trim in Hide and Alcantara. Customers can further choose from 15 main and 11 secondary hide choices.

Piano Black veneer is standard in the Speed, with Crown Cut, Dark Stain Burr Walnut, and Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus offered as no-cost options. Open-pore Dark Stain Burr Walnut veneer, Crown Cut Walnut and Koa are also available. A new technical finish for the center console is available: Dark Tint Engine Turned Aluminum.

A neck warmer (which is both warmer and quieter than in the previous generation model), is integrated into the heated and vented Comfort Seats.

"The new Speed is the most driver-focused Continental GT Convertible available and unique in its ability to offer extremely refined, all-season open-top Grand Touring with the added edge of astonishing performance and dynamism," said Chris Craft, Member of the Board for Sales and Marketing at Bentley Motors. "Combined with exquisite, handcrafted interior details, the Continental GT Speed Convertible exemplifies all Bentley knows about creating the world's most stylish and elegant cars for roof-down motoring."

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