British automotive luggage brand Brexton has relaunched with a five-piece suitcase set, tailored to fit David Gandy's 1964 Porsche 356C.
Brexton was founded in 1920, producing custom-made trunks and suitcases, each built by hand to meet the exacting standards of their primary customers – Bentley and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
1920s Rolls Royce advertisement featuring essential accessories
The large automotive trunks, with drop-fronts that opened to reveal a precisely fitted set of luggage, were a regular feature of coachbuilt touring cars of the period and were often covered in ‘Rexine’ leathercloth to match the vehicle’s roof covering.
1928 Bentley 6 1/2 Litre with Gurney Nutting coachwork and Brexton trunk
As the design of the motorcar evolved, the architecture of automotive luggage naturally rode in tandem and was now created to fit inside the car rather than be attached to its exterior.
Options for the 1954 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing included fitted luggage
By the 1960s, the vehicle valise had become a real art form, with curvaceous creations designed to maximise the limited luggage capacity of sleek sportscars and glamorous grand tourers, finished with cloth and hides to match or contrast with the car’s interior.
Green with envy - the interior of a 1963 Ferrari 250GT Lusso
Sadly, the demand for fitted automotive luggage eventually began to decline, and despite a period making upscale picnic hampers for retailers such as Asprey, the lid finally came down on the Brexton business.
The appetite for automotive luggage eventually began to wane
On the 11th of March 2020, David Mason was in New York City pondering the idea of producing custom leather-goods to complement the Mason & Sons portfolio of bespoke apparel brands. He contacted his friend David Gandy to discuss the leather-goods idea and suggested making a prototype piece for his much-lauded Jaguar XK120 using the same spectacularly sumptuous hide that had been provided by the legendary Scottish tannery, Bridge of Weir, to upholster the interior during its restoration.
Bridge of Weir Leather have an unrivalled history in the supply motor hides
Gandy explained that his race-spec car was short on luggage space and was more likely to be able to accommodate a slim document folio than a small briefcase, but nevertheless they agreed to meet as soon as Mason returned to London, with a plan to visit the Jaguar at its storage facility and start the design process.
David Gandy's sublime Jaguar XK120
Unfortunately, within days, the global COVID-19 pandemic had sent the world into lockdown. Mason flew back to London on one of the last available flights, the Jaguar excursion was permanently parked, and the brakes firmly pressed on any kind of physical product development, but the ideas continued to drive on apace.
Little room for luggage in the cockpit
Precisely one year to the day from the original conversation, Mason pitched Gandy with the idea of a more ambitious project... a five-piece luggage set for his recently completed Porsche 356 resto-mod – and the first commission for the newly launched Brexton brand that Mason had acquired in the interim.
David Gandy's 1964 Porsche 356C
The car had been subject to a painstaking rebuild by Parry Chan at the renowned restoration specialists Lux Classics, with David overseeing every fine detail. He even engaged the services of his great friend and celebrated car designer Ian Callum to advise on the modifications.
Every detail carefully considered
It will come as no surprise that every aspect of the luggage design was to undergo close scrutiny. The set would be comprised of three hard-sided cases that would sit on the parcel shelf behind the front seats, a soft-sided case positioned up front below the bonnet, and a slightly more rugged piece with metal corners that would be strapped to a chrome luggage rack on the rear of the car.
Tan straps trim the soft-sided under-bonnet case
Tan leather with a tartan lining to match the interior would’ve been an obvious choice, but Gandy wanted to turn convention on its head and use the midnight blue paintwork colour of the car for the exterior of the cases, highlighted with straps and handles in tan. The tartan lining idea was also dropped in favour of a luxurious nubuck in the same shade of midnight blue as the exterior.
Hard-sided suitcase for the interior piped with tan hide
The challenge of recreating the correct shade of midnight blue hides was presented to the ever accommodating and amenable Scottish tannery Bridge of Weir. Parry Chan at Lux Classics provided a spray-off card of the paint used on the exterior of the car, and within weeks several leather samples were created by Bridge of Weir in different finishes, with David electing the most matt version amongst the options. Meanwhile, Parry set about sourcing and securing a luggage rack to the rear of the car.
Ready to onboard luggage
Bridge of Weir completed the manufacture of the hides required to make the luggage set, and production of the cases began. The set was completed a week ahead of the 2021 Hampton Court Palace Concours of Elegance, just in time to feature along with David's car as the centrepiece of Bridge of Weir's show-stand at the event.
Ready to load
In addition to the production of luggage for motorcars, Brexton offers a design service through Mason & Sons for bags and cases to complement the interiors of boats, yachts and private jets, assuring our clients that wherever they go, they will be travelling in style.
Ready to travel in style