In 2013, Rolls-Royce was approached by one of its most valued customers with a very particular request. A connoisseur and collector of distinctive, one-off items including super-yachts and private aircraft, this gentleman came to Rolls-Royce to realise his vision of a one-off luxury motor car like no other. He had his own idea of a two-seat vehicle that would feature the swept-tail just like that of certain Rolls-Royces from the 1920s, and a large panoramic glass roof. That’s how the unique Rolls-Royce Sweptail was born.
Billed as the automotive equivalent of Haute Couture, Rolls-Royce Sweptail is designed and hand-tailored to fit a specific client, who established a close rapport with the design department led by Giles Taylor, Director of Design at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. The flashy ambiance of the 1925 Phantom I Round Door built by Jonckheere; the svelte tapering glasshouse, dramatic dash to axle proportion and up-sweep of the rear departure angle of the 1934 Phantom II Streamline Saloon by Park Ward; the elegantly falling waist-rail, swept tail coachwork of the 1934 Gurney Nutting Phantom II Two Door Light Saloon, and the flowing roofline, rising departure angle, and again the swept tail coachwork of the 1934 Park Ward 20/25 Limousine Coupé were all considered by today’s Rolls-Royce designers in the creation of this very distinctive motor car.
The Sweptail features the largest grille found on any modern era Rolls-Royce. It is milled from solid aluminium before being painstakingly polished by hand to a mirror finish. The key feature of the vehicle is an uninterrupted glass roof, one of the largest and most complex ever seen on a motor car of any marque. From the leading edge of the windscreen, the roofline accelerates as it fires backwards towards the rear of the motor car, overshooting the boot lid edge to emphasise its length. Inspired by the world of racing yachts, the coup de gras of the rear features a raked stern. Seen directly from behind, the rear taper contrasts strongly with the front of the motor car, shaping a completely new perception of a dramatic Rolls-Royce Coupé. The underside of the motor car was designed to deliver the visual of a progressive upward sweep at the rear departure angle of the car, culminating in the swept-tail that gives ‘Sweptail’ it name.
The interior of Rolls-Royce Sweptail was conceived in a classic two-seat GT configuration, reflecting the touring nature of its exterior body lines. It is dominated by polished Macassar Ebony veneer that adorns the dashboard and open-pore Paldao, light Moccasin and Dark Spice leathers that adorn the seats, armrests and dashboard top. Sitting under the rear opening backlight through which it can be accessed, there is a highly polished hat shelf which is inset with luggage rails. Behind the occupants, a feature named the Passarelle flows from the rear edge of the windscreen to resolve in a teardrop as it connects to the hat shelf to join all interior volumes.
Concealed in the outboard walls on either side of the motor car, behind the opening of the coach doors, are two identical panniers. Each pannier, when activated, deploys forward to present the owner’s bespoke made attaché case which has been carefully packaged to exactly house his personal laptop device. The cases themselves have been hand-constructed from lightweight carbon fibre, wrapped in the finest leather that matches the interior of ‘Sweptail’ and detailed with machined aluminium and titanium clasps and locks. These attaché cases are twinned with the full set of luggage also developed by Rolls-Royce Bespoke for ‘Sweptail’. The luggage resides in the trunk of the motor car, a trunk beautifully clad in the same wood as the hat shelf and inset with polished aluminium luggage rails.
The coup de gras of this one-off masterpiece is as personal to the owner as every other feature of ‘Sweptail’. The entire centre console now houses a one-off hand-built mechanism that, at the touch of a button, will deploy a bottle of the client’s favorite vintage champagne and two crystal champagne flutes. As the lid of the chiller opens, the mechanical action articulates the bottle to the perfect position for the owner to pick up.