Rolls-Royce automobiles have an expansive lifetime and eventually become timeless classics embodying good taste, beauty, and luxurious perfection. In terms of timeless elegance, the Phantom is regarded as the ultimate expression of this.
In 2017, the eighth-generation Phantom made its debut, and in the creation of this new expression, Rolls-Royce designers and engineers were implored by the requests of the clients that Rolls-Royce inhibit themselves from making any major changes to the already iconic motor car.
To answer the client demands, Rolls-Royce made only the slightest of design changes, embellishments, and adaptations to the new series. The design team ensured that certain features should be preserved and protected.
A New Expression
One of the first and most important design feature that they knew they had to keep was the commanding presence of the Phantom. They further enhanced his feature by adding a new, polished, horizontal line between the daytime running lights above the Pantheon Grille. This gives the Phantom a more modern assertiveness, showing its driver-focused character.
There was also a subtle geometric change to the Pantheon Grille that made the ‘RR’ Badge of Honor and Spirit of Ecstasy stand out more especially when viewed from the front. First seen in Ghost, the design team also added illumination to the grille. For the headlights, they added intricate, laser-cut bezel starlights, creating not just a visual connection with the Starlight Headliner inside, it also adds a bit of surprise and delight to the Phantom’s night-time presence.
For the side profile, the Phantom has kept the Rolls-Royce signature short front and long rear overhang, with the long wheelbase and broad c-pillar, with the latter part giving more privacy for its occupants. The silhouette of the Phantom has kept the elegant key lines starting from the Spirit of Ecstasy running towards the rear tail. From the front fender, the ‘split-belt’ line starts and then it gently curves towards the rear door, showcasing the car’s long dash-to-axle proportions, then it gently falls towards the lantern-like rear lamps. A strong shadow is created by the heavily undercut ‘waft line’, a visual signal of the marque’s unmatched ‘Magic Carpet Ride’.
A suite of new wheels further enhanced the side profile of the Phantom. Available to commission is a 3D, milled, stainless steel wheel with triangular facets in a fully or part-polished finish. As an alternative, the Phantom can also have a truly elegant disc wheel, reminiscent of the 1920s Rolls-Royce motor cars. Perfectly embodying the sense of flight on land, the disc wheel is produced in both polished stainless steel and black lacquer.
Some Phantom clients have previously requested to have a darkened chrome grille surround, black bonnet reins, side frame finishers, and windscreen surround, so Rolls-Royce responded to this by having these features available to commission. This design aesthetic has allowed Rolls-Royce to transform the Phantom to have the darkest of dark appearances or the lightest of light.
The sumptuous interior of the Phantom is practically unchanged. They did make the steering wheel slightly thicker, to be more connected and to give immediate point of contact for the owner-driver.
Phantom and Phantom Extended were given their own distinct characteristics representing two different seats of power. Mostly favored by the growing number of clients who wish to drive themselves is the Phantom. Those who prefer to command from the rear seat, there is the Phantom Extended which gives a super-luxurious chauffeur-driven experience.
With the introduction of the Phantom comes the debut of ‘Rolls-Royce Connected’. Whispers is a Rolls-Royce private-members’ Application, the app enables the owner to send an address directly to the motor car, allowing seamless navigation to an event, dealership, restaurant, or even the Home of Rolls-Royce itself.
Whispers also displays the security status, motor car’s location, and current ‘health’ condition of the Phantom using ‘Rolls-Royce Connected’. At the touch of a button, the owner can get in contact with a preferred dealership for any information about the car or for any servicing needs.
The ‘Poles of Luxury’
As one of the most prominent products of Rolls-Royce, the Phantom attracts an elite set of clienteles. Most of these are determined, demanding, established, successful in their chosen field, and often in the public eye. It is nor surprising that the Phantom has had the most ambitious and challenging bespoke commissions that Rolls-Royce has ever undertaken.
Each resulting creation can be considered to be an artistic masterpiece in its own right. It also shows a bigger picture, since it was introduced, the Phantom has always been whatever the client wants it to be. The Phantom is not only the ‘best car in the world’, but it is also the best car for the client and their needs.
There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ Phantom client. Representing the ‘poles of luxury’, the clients can be from the younger generation or old, modern or traditional, self-made of from long-established wealth. Unsurprisingly, their commissions also show a full spectrum of interests and influences. On one side, the Phantom is given a subversive and almost rebellious character, youthful, daring, and dynamic. On the other end of the spectrum, the Phantom is the embodiment of timelessness and luxury.
For the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collection, the challenge is to accommodate this ever diverse characteristics and desires of the clients for only one exemplary product. Knowing this, Rolls-Royce designed the eighth-generation Phantom to be a ‘blank canvass’ for bespoke personalization. It can become whatever the client wants it to be, reflecting their true individual character and style.
The great strength and appeal of the Phantom is that it enables their clients to express themselves to have cars that embodies the ‘poles of luxury’ or defining luxury in their own terms. Whatever their definition of luxury may be, they are assured that the Phantom itself is the ‘best car in the world’ technically, aesthetically, materially, and dynamically.
Phantom Platino: The Return of the Textiles
To introduce the Phantom Series II and to showcase the bespoke capability of Rolls-Royce, they have created a new bespoke masterpiece, Phantom Platino. It was named after the platinum, after the precious metal’s silver-white finish.
In 2015, the Serenity was launched. It was a truly bespoke Phantom with an interior that was hand-painted and hand-embroidered in silk. The Phantom Platino continues the exploration of fabric interiors by Rolls-Royce. Embodying the next level in this significant journey, the Phantom Platino introduced materials aside from leather, an area of exploration for Rolls-Royce, and shows a greater acceptance for alternative interior upholsteries.
Reminiscent of the formative days of the marque, the front seats of Phantom Platino are wrapped in fine Rolls-Royce leather. The rear seats are wrapped in fabric.
The Platino’s beautiful tone-on-tone interior was created using two different fabrics. One fabric came from bamboo fibers which was selected for its lustrous finish, and the other was created in an Italian mill for its durable and luxurious appearance.
Both materials have an original repeating pattern that was based on an abstract interpretation of the Spirit of Ecstasy. The design is smaller and woven into the fabric of the silken textile to create a more visually stimulating finish. It can also be seen in the Gallery of the Phantom, directly on its line of sight, and its also on key touchpoints like the armrest and center console.
Larger icons were embroidered on the bamboo fabric, presenting a tufted appearance that is typically found in interior design. This material, which is more resilient, was placed on the lower elements of the interior as it endures the most contact.
This design is also seen on the dashboard timepiece of the Phantom. Showcasing a contemporary use of a traditional material, a 3D printed ceramic was used on the surround. The tonal properties of the interior, set into an iced finish woodset, bring the Phantom to a completely new level of opulence.
The Starlight Headliner is the largest canvas in the Phantom. It has a truly unique design made specifically for the Rolls-Royce Platino. The ‘stars’ were positioned to draw the eyes rearwards, with the addition of whimsical shooting stars following the sweeping arc of the pattern.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Chief Executive Officer Torsten Müller-Ötvös shared, “We are acutely conscious of our clients’ esteem for and love of their Phantoms. They felt it could not be improved; but while naturally respecting that view, we believe it is always possible, indeed necessary, to gently go further in our pursuit of absolute perfection.”
“The subtle changes we have made for the new Phantom Series II have all been minutely considered and meticulously executed. As Sir Henry Royce himself said: ‘Small things make perfection, but perfection is no small thing’.”