This is the Bentley Bacalar and only 12 of them will be built

Bentley Bacalar

Bentley is in the final stages of development for its rare-as-hen’s-teeth coach-built Barchetta, the Bacalar.

Named after a lake in Yucatan Mexico, the Bentley Bacalar Car Zero has entered its final stage of development before the 12 production vehicles will be built. And, guess what, all 12 have already been sold.

This thing is called Bacalar Car Zero (like the Bentley Blower prototype revealed earlier this week), a purpose-built engineering prototype and the first barchetta-style Bentley of the modern era. It’s being pounded around race tracks and roads in Europe in an on-car validation programme lasting just 20 weeks.

Prior to road running the thing has completed wind tunnel-based aerodynamic assessment, high speed stability and top speed testing, handling and dynamics evaluations, and appraisal of noise and vibration. There’ll be more done once the Bacalar is back from road works too.

Bentley Bacalar

So, just what is the Bacalar? It’s a revival of Bentley Mulliner, the brand’s coachbuilding arm that can trace its roots back to the 1500s when it used its skill to tweak horse-drawn carriages.

The Bacalar draws inspiration from the Bentley EXP 100 GT and boasts more than 750 bespoke components with around 40 of them made from carbon fibre. The paint contains ash from rice husks, there’s British wool and 5000-year-old Riverwood from ancient British Fenlands in East Anglia. It shares no panels with any other Bentley.

The engine is a tweaked version of Bentley’s 6.0-litre, W12 TSI engine making 650bhp) and 900Nm of torque. It boasts an on-demand all-wheel drive system that defaults to rear-drive when slip and grip allow.

The rear clamshell, wings and top deck of the Bacalar are crafted from carbon fibre, while the doors are lightweight aluminium. Bentley said the final look of each car will be a collaboration between Bentley and owners, and that the Bacalar “represents a return to the exciting early years of Bentley, allowing owners to help shape the car of their dreams”.

The Bacalar, Bentley said, is just the first in a line of coach-built, limited-run Bentleys.

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Isaac Bober has been writing about cars and 4x4s for more than 20 years, has worked on some of the country's biggest motoring magazines (remember what they were?), and launched Practical Motoring. Now he's back, back again... to share dad jokes and much more.