It’s been 90,000 or so days since our proud, patriotic progenitors tossed off the shackles of British rule and declared their independence. While we are no longer forced to bend to the cruel whims of the British monarchy, we have slowly been coaxed into paying them inordinate amounts of attention when they do boring things like get married, divorced, and married again. To me, British royalty seems mostly like a more (or less?) problematic version of the Kardashians. And, like the Kardashians, the merch is primo.
There’s a lot of industry news today, but it mostly boils down to the usual stuff: raising prices, slashing jobs, making sales forecasts. I’m going to mix it up and start with a story about all the weird shit British companies are doing to mark the replacement of the former monarch (a Land Rover mechanic and enthusiast who seemed pretty chill, all things…) with an aging environmentalist who apparently doesn’t know what cling film is. Let’s have fun.
So Much Coronation Stuff
I, in my naïveté, did not realize there’d be so much swag for the King’s Coronation. The last time they did this I was -30 years old, so you’ll have to forgive me.
While this all seems extremely weird and silly to me, as an American and a small r republican, I think it’s mostly harmless and kind of charming in a way. I’m a sucker for a party and the Brits, frankly, could use things to party about these days. (Editor’s Note: Fine, I’ll put up with British monarchy stuff. But just for today. And they better not come over here to take America back. Just try it, you warm beer-drinking, Vauxhall-driving jokers! -PG)
Let’s go through all the extremely British and fussy items they’re using to ring in a new non-leader:
Bentley’s Handcrafted Cushions
I cannot top the pomp and circumstance of the automakers themselves, so I’ll mostly just share their words.
To celebrate the coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla, a team of Bentley’s craftspeople have worked together to produce a limited series of bespoke cabin cushions for a fleet of Bentleys. The team, based at Bentley’s Dream Factory in Crewe, has used a combination of fine craftsmanship and cutting edge technology to digitise the special Coronation Emblem before creating each bespoke cushion by hand.
Three full days and four iterations of embroidery processing were required to achieve Bentley’s exacting quality standards, with nearly 30,000 stitches in each emblem needing careful refinement. The emblem consists of two separate thread colours, and three different colourways of the emblem were used, to contrast the individually-selected hides for different colours of cushions to match the interiors of the Bentleys that will use them.
Each cushion took over three hours to produce and uses hides sourced from Northern Europe where the temperate climate and lack of barbed wire fencing reduces imperfections. Each hide is checked and marked by hand and eye before being precision cut. Stitched, shaped and finished entirely by hand, the completed cushions rivals the quality of the cars themselves. Trim Developer Ella Mitchell has led the craftsmanship process that’s produced the bespoke cushions for this unique occasion. The cushions will remain with Bentley’s press cars for a time and are not available for purchase.
Sorry, poors, only us fancy journalists will get these.
Skoda’s Green Color
I’m give Skoda a pass on this because I love Skoda.
Škoda UK is set to mark the Coronation of King Charles III with the introduction of a new colour – Royal Green. The new hue will be available on selected Superb, Kodiaq and Octavia models, and is being added to the range to celebrate the formal investiture of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, the Queen Consort.
Available to order from Tuesday 9 May, Royal Green will be available as an exclusive metallic colour option and has been reserved for the range-topping versions in their respective models. On the Superb – a car acclaimed for its palatial levels of interior space and regal ride comfort – it will be available as an option on SE L and L&K models. SE L customers will be able to match the new exterior colour with either black or beige interior trim, while L&K buyers will have the added option of a luxury cognac interior.
As a nod to the King’s passion for performance motoring, the new colour will also be available on Škoda’s sporty Octavia vRS, along with the SE L model. Customers ordering Skoda’s multi-award-winning Kodiaq in SE L Executive trim will also be able to order their cars in Royal Green. Over the years, King Charles visited the Czech Republic several times in his role as the Prince of Wales. In the early 1990s, he set up a heritage fund with then-president Václav Havel to help restore and preserve the country’s historic buildings. Among the landmarks restored by the fund were a former monastery of St. Bartholomew in Prague’s Old Town and the terrace gardens below Prague Castle. The Prince of Wales also visited other parts of the Czech Republic on his visits, such as Brno, the country’s second largest city, in 1991, 2000, and most recently in 2010
Ah, dope. I’ve been to the terrace gardens below the Prague Castle and they were quite lovely. Thanks, Chuck. True story: I also randomly bumped into outgoing Ford CEO Alan Mulally in the same castle moments after visiting the gardens.
A Fancy Mini With Fancy Luggage, I Guess?
I don’t really get this one, but the David Brown Automotive remastered Minis are super cool.
David Brown Automotive’s Mini Remastered – a modernised take on perhaps Britain’s most loved automotive design, handcrafted at its state-of-the-art facility in Silverstone – will be on display at LINLEY’s showroom from today until May 10th, as the world celebrates Charles III’s coronation.
The example of Mini Remastered on show will sport a suitably British specification for this momentous moment, finished in a rich shade of decidedly British ‘Racing Green’, with 12” Classic wheels finished in the delightful hue of ‘A Whiter Shade of Pale’. The timelessly specified example is capped off by a final patriotic touch – with a Union Jack adorning the roof.
As with the immaculate finish of LINLEY’s products, Mini Remastered’s lustrous paint is perfected over hundreds of hours by David Brown Automotive’s expert automotive technicians. The same care is lavished on the interior, with a cockpit hand-trimmed in sumptuous sandalwood leather, with matching tan stitching, offset by ‘Racing Green’ trim accents.
Make Sure Your Tyres (sp?) Are Safe
The marketers at TyreSafe aren’t wasting this opportunity to remind people to pay attention to, uh, tyres. I’m mostly just sharing this for the photo of the tire with a crown. Graphic design is their passion, clearly.
With the King’s coronation and bank holiday weekend fast approaching, TyreSafe is urging drivers to make sure they’ve carried out the necessary checks to ensure their vehicle, and in particular its tyres, is in a condition fit for a King.
Ok, This Is Trains, But We Love Trains
This made me laugh this morning:
Nothing more British than a absolutely abysmal, extortionately pricey privatised train line celebrating a coronation with a "limited number of scones" in First Class only tbh https://t.co/MUFKr3DxON— venti rat (@malfanton) May 4, 2023
A limited number of scones!!! Only time will tell if the empire can come back from this one.
Hell Yeah, Build The Ford Maverick PHEV
We are extremely pro-Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle over here and also fairly pro-Ford Maverick. I’ve been pretty clear, personally, that I would buy a Ford Maverick PHEV (or Bronco Sport PHEV) if Ford offered it. I’m not alone! Our buds over at Heatmap are making the same argument:
Can you help your friend move with a Prius Prime? Can you carry some flat-packed bookshelves home from an Ikea run? Can you carry an unused mattress to the dump? Don’t answer that because you actually can do all three things with a Prius. But it would be way more fun to do it with a truck.
The editor, Robinson Meyer, also reached out to Autopian Member/Ford PR Dude Mike Levine who told him it wasn’t happening any time soon. Mike has, basically, told me the same thing. I’m going to choose not to believe him.
Faraday Future Continues To Be Slightly Ridiculous
Speaking of shared opinions, we’ve been skeptical of Faraday Future, in spite of some signs of life. You know who else is skeptical? The great Kirsten Korosec over at TechCrunch, who wrote a story on the EV automaker with this great headline: “Faraday Future is adding generative AI to its vaporware EV”
From the article:
Faraday Future said Tuesday it is adding generative AI to its first production car, the FF 91 Futurist. Never mind that the vehicle has been repeatedly delayed for years, that as of three weeks ago Faraday Future was down to its last $30 million and was pushing the delivery date again or that the company has bounced from one internal drama to another. None of this matters, because by merely mentioning the words “generative AI,” the money will surely come pouring in.
And whadda ya know? The stock popped 6.2% following the announcement. Of course, fundamentals often catch up to even the wiliest of publicly traded companies. That stock bump may not last.
We will also be powering The Autopian’s comment system off of Generative AI so, uh, please send us some money.
BMW Will Probably Raise Prices
In light of the constant Tesla price changes, you’d think other automakers would lower prices. Most are not. Instead, it seems like most automakers are happy to either stay the course or, even raise prices in light of rising costs.
BMW is in that camp, according to Reuters:
BMW said in March it intended to keep prices stable this year after two years of passing on rising costs to customers, but Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Peter said some more moderate hikes could still be expected.
“When it makes sense, we could adjust a price here and there,” said Peter, who will from this month be replaced in his role by Walter Mertl.
Peter and Chief Executive Oliver Zipse struck a cautious tone on the outlook for the global economy in coming months, calling the environment volatile and tense.
Yes, “volatile and tense,” just like the Autopian Slack room when David and Jason get into one of their infamous grammar tiffs.
The Big Question
Will Faraday Future make it? And define “make it” however you want here.
Photos: Faraday Future, Bentley, Skoda, Newspress, DBA, Author, BMW
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Ford should have honored the coronation by filling up the F-150 Lightning’s frunk / beer cooler with water, adding a pinch of Instant Ocean, and a heaping helping of Earl Grey. Park it out by the Boston harbor.