In the verdant valleys by Lake Como, a car cruises along its meandering pre alpine roads, gleaming in the bright spring sun.
Curiously, in a land known for its conspicuous muscle cars, the car looks at home here, by the clear waters of the great lake, zipping by the cypress and laurel trees that thrive in this mild microclimate. At a cursory glance, it’s a rose gold marvel, paired beautifully with wood panels reminiscent of racing yachts. It’s a car influenced by and made for the Mediterranean mise en scène it’s in. Clearly, this car was not mass-produced in a factory. And clearly it belongs to someone.
If you look closely at the opulent mother-of-pearl flourishes across the dashboard, the Royal Walnut hosting suite and the exquisite and extremely rare whitewall tyres, the list of possible owners of this motor car dwindles dramatically. Very few individuals would have the personal history, material knowledge and dedication to artistic endeavour to warrant even the conceptualisation of such a car.
One Of A Kind
This is one of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ Boat Tail coach build commissions, one of three that has been ‒ and will ever be ‒ built. These commissions are built specifically for the client, incorporating into its design elements the client’s personality, tastes, métier, and even family history. “Coach build elevates our work as a House of Luxury into a new space; it is the haute couture of our industry,” says Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
“Far more than just a beautiful motor car, a coach built creation becomes a legacy that embodies something extraordinarily personal and emotionally resonant for each client.” As a matter of fact, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ artisans and designers were in constant dialogue with the client, the son of a pearling industry magnate, from day one.
Early in the commissioning process, he shared four pearl shells from his private collection with the Coach build designers. Their unique colour and complexity inspires the gorgeously complex exterior. The foundation of the coat is an amalgamation of oyster and soft rose, topped with large white and bronze mica flakes that gives this marque its pearlescent quality.
This addition allows it to shimmer in a subdued yet elegant manner under the Mediterranean sun. The closer you look, the more of the client’s personal history becomes infused with the car. From the unique crystal covered, cognac-hued bonnet to the grille, a subdued reimagining of the iconic Pantheon grille, to the Royal Walnut veneer of the rear deck, we can infer a discerning owner of refined, subtle taste, with a deep understanding of natural materials.
For example, it is not widely known that as Royal Walnut matures, its colour will gradually transition to a cognac shade. What gives away the man’s roots is perhaps the dashboard timepiece. It is made of mother-of-pearl from the client’s personal collection. The same material is used in the control switches and instrument dials, creating a strong visual and material connection between the car, the owner and his family heritage.
Work Of Art
Clearly, the Boat Tail is a collector’s item and a work of art. But it is also a storybook, its narrative expressed in materials, in the manner in which they are combined, and the deeply refined little flourishes that hide away in the interior. When the client commissioned the building of this new Boat Tail, it was specifically to commemorate his father and his family’s work in the pearling industry. And if you know where and how to look, this particular Boat Tail conveys that proud family history.
“In this case, there was an additional depth of feeling,” says Alex Innes, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ Head of Coach build Design. “Creating a motor car in honour of a revered client’s father and family history is an extraordinary privilege; a responsibility that we took very much to heart. The commissioning patron’s deep-rooted connection to Boat Tail is an inspiration ‒ the result far exceeds a means of conveyance to become, quite literally, a moving work of art.”
Müller-Ötvös agrees. “For the commissioning patron it offers the ultimate in individuality, self-expression and Bespoke service. For Rolls-Royce as a marque, it is both a return to our roots and a contemporary revolution, in which we deliver the impossible in conventional automotive manufacturing into a stunning reality.”
This new Boat Tail was unveiled at this year’s Concorso dʼEleganza, the highly exclusive expo for rare and vintage cars, where it was widely lauded and celebrated. And indeed, 2022 has been a great year for patrons of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars looking for bespoke expressions in their personal vehicles.
The 2022 Black Badge Ghost, for example, sports bespoke alloy wheels, striking Mandarin leather and noir styles for an extremely non-conformist, personalised expression, while the new, immaculately crafted Phantom II features a dashboard Gallery for patrons to display their favourite art.
Ultimately, you don’t turn to Rolls-Royce when you need to pick a car that matches your transportation needs. You turn to them to build a car that symbolises you. When it comes to Rolls Royce, you are the car’s raison dʼêtre.