The British luxury automobile manufacturer has been at the epitome of automobile excellence and grandeur. For more than a century, Rolls Royce Bespoke has offered its owners to create a Rolls Royce according to their preferences and choices. This bespoke service appears to be familiar with luxury car manufacturers like Cadillac, Lincoln, and Packard. However, a Rolls Royce is more than a luxury car; it’s a luxury experience! The company has created thus created a separate wing called the Rolls Royce Coachbuild.
Coachbuild empowers clients to create full evocative expressions of personal taste. “Historically, coachbuilding had been an integral part of the Rolls-Royce story. The contemporary Rolls-Royce narrative has informed our guiding philosophy of Bespoke. But it is so much more. Rolls-Royce Coachbuild is a return to the very roots of our brand. It represents an opportunity for the select few to participate in the creation of utterly unique and truly personal commissions of future historical significance.”, said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce. Contemporary patronage in its truest form, Rolls-Royce spurred the modern coachbuilding movement in 2017 with the introduction of ‘Sweptail’, a one-off concept car.
The Transference of the Soul
The Rolls Royce Boat Tail represents a collaborative exploration of luxury, design, and culture between the marque and commissioning clients. After numerous requests to create a ‘one-off’ creation, Rolls Royce selected three patrons that ‘wanted to see something different with reference to the J-class yachts’ nautical design. Thus the brand decided to create three new Coachbuild using the architecture that underpins the Phantom, Cullinan, and Ghost, but the process highly personalized, reflecting the confluence between vision, capability, and ambition of the marque and each of the individual commissioning patrons. For this aspirational project, the company made more than 1,800 new pieces made for the car.
“Coachbuild provides freedom to move beyond the usual constraints. Normally, there is a natural ceiling to Rolls-Royce Bespoke by way of the canvas. At Rolls-Royce Coachbuild we break through that ceiling, embracing the freedom of expression afforded by coachbuilding to shape a concept directly with our commissioning patrons.”, said Alex Innes, Head of Rolls-Royce Coachbuild Design, Rolls-Royce.
The Rolls Royce Boat Tail is a success story of four years of paramount efforts and attention to detail with a quest to attain the patron’s dream with impeccable perfection. As the preliminary design proposal was penned by hand, the company created a full-sized sculpture in clay, allowing hand-crafted manipulation of the expansive surfaces to perfect its shape. The clients were invited to envisage the scope of the collaboration and influence its direction. The sculpture is digitally remastered, and the buck is created on to which aluminum sheets are hammer-formed by hand. The end product is a structure similar to that of a yacht building with an uninterrupted monolithic creation.
The Success Tale
At nearly 5.8m (19 feet) long, the Boat Tail enjoys a graceful and relaxed stance. The front profile is centered on a new treatment of Rolls-Royce’s iconic pantheon grille and lights. The grille becomes an integral part of the front end, which isn’t an applique; freedom of design bestowed only upon models within the Coachbuild portfolio. The roof of this unique car can be removed entirely rather than just being a convertible. The aft deck, a modern interpretation of the wooden rear decks of historical Boat Tails, incorporates large swathes of wood. Caleidolegno veneer is applied in a feat of Rolls-Royce engineering; the grey and black material, which is typically housed in the interior, has been specially adapted to be used on the exterior, with no compromise to the aesthetic. Indeed, it is at the rear where the nautical references become more apparent, and the Boat Tail becomes the first car from the brand to feature an umbrella and a cocktail table. At the press of a button, the deck opens in a sweeping butterfly gesture to reveal an intricate and generous hosting suite. Its complex movement was inspired by cantilever concepts explored by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. The rear also features a dedicated champagne compartment to hold the owner’s preferred bottle. The chest is appointed with the perfect accouterments for an authentic Rolls-Royce al fresco dining experience; one side dedicated to aperitifs, the other, cuisine, complete with cutlery engraved with the name ‘Boat Tail’, made by Christofle in Paris.
The exterior of Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is swathed in a rich and complex tone of the client’s favorite color – blue. This nautical connotation is subtle when in shadows, but the embedded metallic and crystal flakes bring a vibrant and energetic aura to the finish in sunlight. A finger was run over the definitive body line to achieve true perfection before the paint had thoroughly dried to soften its edges. The wheels are finished in bright blue, highly polished, and clear coated to add to Boat Tail’s celebratory character. A hand-painted, gradated bonnet, a first for Rolls-Royce, rises from a comparatively subdued deeper blue cascading onto the grille, providing a progressive but informal aesthetic and solidity of overall volume viewed from the front.
On the interiors, the leather reflects the bonnet’s color tone transition with the front seats swathed in the darker blue hue, recognizing Boat Tail’s driver-focused intent, while the rear seats are finished in the lighter tone. A soft metallic sheen is applied to the leather to accentuate its pairing with the painted exterior. In contrast, detailed stitching and piping are applied in a more intense blue inspired by the hands of the car’s timepieces. A brilliant blue is also found woven at a 55-degree angle into the technical fiber elements to be seen on the lower bodywork, precisely orientated to emulate the spill of a water’s wake.
In terms of power, the vehicle is based on the same platform as the Rolls-Royce Phantom, which has a 6.75-liter, 563-hp twin-turbo V12 engine.
A Sense of Occasion
Every Boat Tail is accompanied by a special medal of perfection that genuinely accentuates the entire experience of the car. A client who is a watch enthusiast has commissioned a unique timepiece from the BOVET 1822, which graces the interiors. Another client passionate about collecting pens has a particularly cherished Montblanc pen that will reside in a discretely placed, hand-crafted case of aluminum and leather in Boat Tail’s glove box. The instrument panel dials are adorned with a decorative technique named Guilloché, more commonly perfected in the workshops of fine jewelers and watchmakers. An elegant, thin-rimmed two-tone steering wheel then bears the colors of the commission. The last client is a connoisseur of fine wine. A double refrigerator has been developed to house the clients’ favorite vintages of Armand de Brignac champagne.
It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Rolls Royce Coachbuilt is an automobile equivalent of haute couture where the owner’s dream Rolls Royce would be realized even better!