Following the House of Rolls-Royce’s recent announcement of the highest annual results in its 115-year history, the marque reflects on some of 2018’s finest examples of Bespoke engineering, design and craftsmanship. Rolls-Royce ignores mass-luxury ‘tick-box’ options in favor of Bespoke creations that no other manufacturer can hope to achieve.
2018 will be remembered as one of the most ambitious years for the marque’s Bespoke Collective, the specialized unit at Goodwood, West Sussex, UK. Customers are offered almost limitless opportunities to bring their own personal vision to their Rolls-Royce motor car. The brand has an expertly honed understanding of the super-luxury market’s requirement for personally tailored and finely crafted items that are more frequently found in the world of watchmaking, yachts, architecture and private aviation.
Rolls-Royce Phantom ‘Whispered Muse’ is a contemporary masterpiece that reinterprets Charles Sykes’ original drawings of the Spirit of Ecstasy, the legendary Rolls-Royce radiator mascot. Whispered Muse’s design embraces Phantom’s unique glass ‘Gallery’, an area in which to exhibit unique works of art and design, by incorporating a sculpted silk adaptation of the Spirit of Ecstasy, created by British artist Helen Amy Murray. The feminine form of the ‘Graceful Little Goddess’ is echoed throughout the Bespoke treatment of the motor car. As a finishing touch, the Spirit of Ecstasy is crafted from Rose Gold – a first for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ Bespoke division.
An impressively creative twist on Dawn delivers an important narrative that pays homage to Czech and Slovak airmen who served in RAF squadrons No. 312 and No. 313 during the Battle of Britain. The livery of Spitfires used by these Czechoslovak Squadrons inspired Dawn’s solid Grey exterior and Black coach line. Inside, the door flight on the driver side carries the motto of the 313th Squadron: “Jeden Jestráb Mnoho Vran Rozhání” (“One hawk chases away many crows”), while the passenger side commemorates the guiding principle of the 312th Squadron: “Non-Multi Sed Multa” (“Not many, but much”). Intricate embroidery on the headrests depicts the badges of the two squadrons and between the rear seats, there is an interpretation of the Rolls-Royce Merlin engine that powered famous fighter planes like the Hurricane and the Spitfire.
Another outstanding example of Rolls-Royce’s pinnacle motor car is a highly Bespoke Phantom known as the ‘Gentleman’s Tourer’, which presents an aesthetic carefully tailored for trans-continental Grand Touring, echoing a grand tradition of the past. The interior is a masculine, operational space, created for long, ultra-luxurious journeys. One feature in particular highlights the technical modernity of this motor car, the Gallery is fashioned from ruthenium, a precious metal from the platinum group, never before used in a car. With only 20 tons mined annually worldwide, compared with 2,500 tons of gold, this is an especially precious addition to a contemporary Phantom.
Google’s Vice President of Engineering and a well-known car enthusiast, Benjamin Treynor Sloss, took delivery of a very personal Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge at 2018’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance. The Bespoke Collective at Rolls-Royce reinterpreted the yellow-and-blue color scheme favored across the rest of his collection, inspired by the colors of the Modenese flag. A new, intense deep yellow named ‘Superflare’ is paired with the darkest of navy blues named ‘Pikes Peak Blue’ – due to Mr. Sloss’s interest in that king of timed hill climbs. The vivid color scheme is continued throughout the interior, with the seats, dashboard, tonneau cover and rear seat ‘waterfall’ clad in Navy Blue leathers, highlighted with Bright Yellow seat piping and stitched Double-R headrest logos.
A Bespoke Phantom was delivered in 2018 to a renowned collector, Michael Fux, during Monterey Car Week. The Phantom was his eleventh Bespoke model from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, following the ‘Dawn in Fuxia’ that was handed over during Pebble Beach 2017. As with a number of his other cars, the Phantom is finished in a truly unique paint color, which is his alone to use – ‘Fux Intense Fuxia Pearl’, the ultimate in individualization. Carrying over some of his favorite hues from earlier cars, the interior is trimmed in a combination of vibrant purple ‘Fuxia’ and ‘Arctic White’ leather. This striking Phantom joins Mr. Fux’s collection of more than 140 unique motor cars, which he uses to help raise funds for his charity – the Michael Fux Foundation – providing support to children and their families at the Miami Children’s Hospital.
In 2018 Rolls-Royce paid homage to the original Silver Ghost with the creation of 35 Bespoke examples, the ‘Silver Ghost Collection’. These motor cars boast carefully-considered references to the past: a solid sterling-silver Spirit of Ecstasy, a hammered-copper insert that pays tribute to the material in the original’s engine bay, and the newly created hallmark ‘AX201’, a tribute to the famous registration plate. Further references to the model’s heritage include open-pore Tudor Oak veneer with silver inlays throughout the cabin and a Bespoke coach line that incorporates 100% pure silver particles.
Rolls-Royce unveiled Adamas in 2018, its first-ever Black Badge Collection, comprising 40 Wraiths and 30 Dawns. The character of these motor cars is reflected by the Adamas name, meaning ‘untameable’ or ‘invincible’, with the resilience of a diamond. These Wraiths and Dawns showcase a darker side of contemporary craftsmanship, with unbreakable carbon structures woven into the motor cars to create a beguiling beauty that captures the rebellious spirit of Black Badge. For the first time, the Spirit of Ecstasy is formed from machined aerospace-grade carbon fiber, while the dashboard clock is encrusted with laboratory-grown black diamonds.
Wraith Luminary Collection, a ‘highly charged’ series of just 55 Wraiths presented a world-first for Bespoke craftsmanship. On opening the coach doors, the owner is met by a truly innovative statement of modern luxury, with intricately perforated Tudor Oak wood veneers admitting light from an array of 176 LEDs. The wood is sourced from the forests of the Czech Republic, selected for its depth of color and the density of the grain structure.
Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke engineers developed a unique shooting star headliner, adding a playful aspect to the configuration of the 1,340 fiber optic lights. Further technical mastery is showcased through a unique stainless steel hand-woven fabric used to highlight sections throughout the cabin, including the area on the doors.
In 2018 a special Dawn was built as well. A Bespoke, lightweight ‘Aero Cowling’ tonneau cover is fixed in position over the rear seat area, creating a roadster-style motor car that can still be converted to a full four-seater when desired. Crafted from ultra-lightweight carbon fiber and aluminum, the Aero Cowling is sculpted to funnel airflow for enhanced comfort, less turbulence and noise, and can be matched to your personal specification of a Dawn. This is one bespoke creation that can be ordered by other customers.
The Rolls-Royce Viewing Suite is automatically deployed at the touch of a button. Two rear-facing, beautifully contemporary, fine leather chairs and a cocktail table gracefully emerge from within the rear compartment – creating a luxurious viewing platform from which to take in the surroundings; whether that be a sporting engagement or some of the world’s most breath-taking vistas, an airshow or a polo match. The launch of this feature previewed the near-limitless opportunities for enhancing Cullinan with highly Bespoke modules to suit all manner of lifestyle requirements.