Following the announcement of the return of Rolls-Royce Coachbuild earlier this week, the Marque revealed the bespoke division’s first finished project – Rolls-Royce Boat Tail. The $28 million (£20 million) vehicle becomes the most expensive new car in the world.
In 2017, Rolls-Royce unveiled the Sweptail that defined the dawn of the contemporary coachbuilding movement. The $13 million one-off coupe ignited a fascination among collectors and patrons who approached Rolls-Royce to discover if they could also collaborate on a unique commission. Among them were three clients who shared a deep appreciation of the nautical design of J-Class yachts. Their creative expression coincided with an ambition of the design team at Rolls-Royce to create a contemporary expression of the Boat Tail typology. It was decided that three cars would share a common body, but each would then be individually, highly personalized. That’s how Rolls-Royce Boat Tail was conceived.
The first Rolls-Royce Boat Tail was commissioned by a globally successful couple who wanted to create a celebratory car to enjoy with their family. The striking convertible takes its name from a 1932 Rolls-Royce Boat Tail from the couple’s private collection.
The front profile of nearly 5.8m long Boat Tail is centered on a new treatment of Rolls-Royce’s signature pantheon grille and lights. A horizontal graphic with deep-set daytime running lights frames classical round headlamps. The wrap-around windscreen is inspired by the visor on motor launches, while the gentle rearward lean of the A-pillar, the large, crisp volumes at the front and the tapered rear recall a motor launch rising out of water under power.
At the rear, the nautical references become more apparent. The aft deck, a modern take on the wooden rear decks of historical Boat Tails, features large swathes of wood. Caleidolegno veneer is applied in a feat of Rolls-Royce engineering. The grey and black material has been specially adapted to be used on the exterior. Deep-set lamps evoke the dipped stern and bow of a motor launch. The sweeping roofline ends in delicate structural elements that touch down on the rear, redolent of flying buttresses.
The exterior of Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is wrapped in the client’s favorite color – blue. The wheels are finished in bright blue. A hand-painted, gradated hood, a first for Rolls-Royce, rises from a comparatively subdued deeper blue that cascades onto the grille.
Inside, the front seats are covered in a darker blue hue, while the rear seats are finished in a lighter tone. A soft metallic sheen is applied to the leather to accentuate its pairing with the painted exterior while detailed stitching and piping is applied in a more intense blue. A brilliant blue is also found woven at a 55 degree angle into the technical fibre elements to be seen on the lower bodywork.
The fascia, which was reduced to provide a modern aesthetic, features the completely unique BOVET 1822 timepieces specifically commissioned by the client for Boat Tail. As collecting pens is another of the clients’ great passions, a Montblanc pen is housed in a discretely placed, hand-crafted, case of aluminium and leather, in the car’s glove box. The instrument panel dials are decorated with a decorative technique named Guilloché. An elegant, thin-rimmed two-tone steering wheel features the colors of the commission.
The rear deck of Rolls-Royce Boat Tail houses a bold concept never seen before in the automotive world. At the press of a button, the deck opens in a butterfly gesture, to reveal an intricate and generous hosting suite. It features a treasure chest of moving parts that offer themselves to the host at a precise angle of 15 degrees. Appointed with the perfect accouterments for an al fresco dining experience, the chest’s one side is dedicated to aperitifs, the other, cuisine, complete with cutlery engraved with the name ‘Boat Tail’, made by Christofle in Paris.
A double refrigerator has been developed to house the clients’ favorite vintages of Armand de Brignac champagne. A unique parasol is housed beneath the rear centerline. A telescopic movement opens it inversely, ensuring effortless deployment.
Cocktail tables open on either side of the hosting suite and provide access to two highly contemporary minimalist stools. Designed by Rolls-Royce and created by Italian furniture maker Promemoria, the slim-line interlocking stools are formed from the same technical fiber found on the exterior of the car.