Rolls-Royce Motor Cars recently unveiled their newest Boat Tail coachbuilt commission – one of only three that will ever be made.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Chief Executive Officer Torsten Müller-Ötvös stated, “Coachbuild elevates our work as a House of Luxury into a new space; it is the haute couture of our industry. For the commissioning patron it offers the ultimate in individuality, self-expression and Bespoke service. Far more than just a beautiful motor car, a coachbuilt creation becomes a legacy that embodies something extraordinarily personal and emotionally resonant for each client. For our designers, too, Coachbuild provides unparalleled creative freedom; opportunities to take design, materials, engineering and craftsmanship to the very highest levels. 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.”
Recently, at Concorso d’Eleganza, Villa d’Este 2022 held on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy, they unveiled the Boat Tail. It is a masterpiece of sophistication, restraint, attention to detail, and simple elegance.
At the heart of the Rolls-Royce Coachbuild is that each commission is unique and that it reflects the preference, sensibilities, and history of its owner. The Boat Tail was commissioned by a client whose family business has expanded from the pearling industry that was his father’s business.
Internationally educated and is widely travelled, the client has a varied tastes and influences. A known patron of the arts, the client also has a sizable collection of classic and modern cars that are kept in a dedicated private museum.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Head of Coachbuild Design Alex Innes shared, “Every Rolls-Royce Coachbuild commission is, of course, incredibly special; but in this case, there was an additional depth of feeling. 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.”
Completely hand-built, the body panels of the Boat Tail used vast, single sheets of aluminum to distinctive outline that is reminiscent of the racing yachts of the early 20th century. In every angle, this moving work of art is completely unique.
The Boat Tail projects a certain sophistication coming from the clients’ extensive and personal knowledge of luxury. For the overall design aesthetic is restrained. Each material was carefully chosen with their specific details that is highly personal while also paying homage to the client’s father.
At the start of the commissioning process, Rolls-Royce Coachbuild Designers were presented with a variety of four pearl shells by the client. From his private collection, it was personally selected for their distinct color and complexity. These same shells were the inspiration for the exterior color of the Boat Tail and it is one of the most complex Bespoke finishes that Rolls-Royce has ever created.
The color’s foundation is a shimmering mixture of oyster and soft rose. They added large, white and bronze mica flakes and it created this unique pearlescent quality that ever so subtly changes colors in different light conditions. The bonnet was given a contrasting cognac color specially made for the Boat Tail. It also had fine bronze and gold colored aluminum mica flakes and a layer of crystal and iced matt clear coat giving the appearance of the Boat Tail some depth and palpable warmth. The Boat Tail’s technical fiber lower sill incorporate a rose gold woven thread.
Housing the Boat Tail’s one of a kind ‘butterfly-design’ hosting suite, the rear desk was given a Royal Walnut veneer inlaid with rose gold-plated pinstripes. It was also given a satin-brushed finish to guarantee a sensitive and sophisticated look. The client specifically chose the Royal Walnut because its beautiful properties are more evident as it matures over time. It is a material that will slowly evolve towards the tonal properties of the cognac color.
From above, one can see a perfect balance and satin effect of the iced bonnet and the tactile wooden rear deck, a stark contrast to the high-gloss front and side perspectives.
Looking at the Boat Tail at the front, the main feature is still the Pantheon Grille. It has been milled from a single, solid billet of aluminum, with the rose gold Spirit of Ecstasy sits front and center.
For the interior, it features beautifully matched cognac and oyster-colored leathers and Royal Walnut veneer, and throughout the interior are rose gold and mother-of-pearl accents. The leathers have a pearlescent finish that highlights the surfaces and forms of the seats and interior design of the Boat Tail. Royal Walnut veneer with rose gold pinstripes is used on the transmission tunnel creating a direct visual reference to the rear deck, while also producing a glowing warmth to the interior of the Boat Tail.
The dashboard is adorned with a centerpiece in the figure of a timepiece made from mother-of-pearl. It was chosen and given by the client from his own collection. The fascia is pure and minimal, so it does not take attention away from the precious material. The same substance was used on the control switches and instrument dials, creating a strong visual and material connection between the car, its owner, and his family heritage.
Alex Innes, Head of Coachbuild Design, said, “Boat Tail is a step-change in ingenuity and creative liberty. Building a motor car by hand offers a new realm of exploration and possibility: we can accomplish things and resolve challenges that normal industrialised methods would prohibit. This is the tale of two worlds: a modern motor car of contemporary design, made possible by historical techniques and time-honoured craft. It is truly, one-of-a-kind.”