H. J. Mulliner & Co. is a well-known British coachbuilder. The Mulliner family can trace their coachbuilding history back to 1760, building coaches for the Royal Mail in Northampton. Mulliner now is the personal commissioning department for Bentley.
There were at one time four separate companies trading with the name Mulliner, all seem to have descended from the original family:
- Arthur Mulliner based in Northampton;
- Mulliner based in Liverpool who also opened a showroom in Brook Street, Mayfair, London jointly with Arthur Mulliner trading as Mulliner (London) Ltd.;
- H.J. Mulliner who bought the Mayfair showroom;
- Mulliners of Birmingham.
Henry Jervis Mulliner founded H.J. Mulliner & Co. in 1900 in the Mayfair area of London where the factory was set up. This was probably the premises previously occupied by Mulliners (London) Ltd. The location was convenient as his clients, the nobility could afford his services. One of the early clients was C.S. Rolls who had a body built on a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost for his own use.
In 1906 the works moved out of Mayfair to Chiswick and shortly afterwards H.J. Mulliner sold his interest in the company to John Croall and retired. The family connection was maintained as Croall employed H. J. Mulliner's brother in law Frank Piesse to run the company.
Although bodies were fitted to other chassis, by the 1930s virtually the entire output was being fitted to Rolls-Royce and Bentleys.
Arthur H Mulliner was the son of F Mulliner who set up the original Mulliner company making mail coaches in Northampton. Arthur H's son Arthur Felton Mulliner (born 1859) took the company into the construction of motor car bodies and by 1900 they had built over 150 mainly on Daimler cars. In 1907, as well as the Northampton works, a new sales office and factory was opened in Long Acre, London. Business boomed during the 1920s with orders for bodies on Armstrong Siddeley and Vauxhall cars being exhibited at the 1920 London Motor Show.
In the 1930s although orders for the more traditional makers such as Rolls-Royce and Bentley continued, large production runs from the middle market makers were proving harder to get and in 1939 the company was sold to the car distributor Henlys who closed the coachbuilding business but kept the sales and marketing operation which lasted until 1976.
- A-Z of British Coachbuilders. Nick Walker. Bay View Books 1997. ISBN 1-870979-93-1