Rolls-Royce recently unveiled the next chapter of its Boat Tail coachbuilt commission – one of just three that have been, and ever will be made – at Concorso d’Eleganza, Villa d’Este, on the shores of Lake Como. Commissioned by a patron whose family business origins are in the pearling industry, it pays homage to his father and family heritage with its bespoke exterior finish and interior detailing inspired by mother-of-pearl.
“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,” says Alex Innes, Head of Coachbuild Design at Rolls-Royce.
The essence of Rolls-Royce Coachbuild is that each commission tells a story entirely unique and personal to its owner, reflecting their own history, tastes and sensibilities. A Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is entirely hand-built, with the body panels fashioned from vast, single sheets of aluminium to create the distinctive outline inspired by the racing yachts of the early 20th century.
The Boat Tail revealed at Concorso d’Eleganza is a masterwork of restraint, sophistication, elegance and attention to detail. At the onset of its commissioning process, the client presented Rolls-Royce Coachbuild Designers with a selection of four pearl shells, personally chosen from his private collection for their unique colour and complexity. The shells provided inspiration for the exterior colour, which is one of the most complex Bespoke finishes ever created by Rolls-Royce.
The foundation of the colour is a shimmering blend of oyster and soft rose, with large white and bronze mica flakes adding a unique pearlescent quality that changes subtly under different light conditions. The contrasting cognac-coloured bonnet, created specifically for this Boat Tail, contains fine bronze and gold coloured aluminium mica flakes complete with a layer of crystal and iced matt clear coat, adding significant warmth and depth to the car’s appearance. The technical fibre lower sills of Boat Tail incorporate a rose gold woven thread.
The rear deck, which houses Boat Tail’s unique ‘butterfly-design’ hosting suite, is swathed in Royal Walnut veneer, inlaid with rose gold-plated pinstripes with a satin-brushed finish to ensure a sensitive and sophisticated appearance. The Royal Walnut was specifically selected by the client for its beautiful properties as it matures over time. This material will gradually transition to the tonal properties of the cognac colour.
From above, one observes a harmonious balance and satin effect of the iced bonnet and tactile wooden rear deck, in contrast with the high-gloss front and side perspectives. From the front, the Pantheon Grille, milled from a single, solid billet of aluminium, is graced with a Spirit of Ecstasy fashioned in rose gold.
The interior is a beautifully curated combination of perfectly matched cognac and oyster-coloured leathers and Royal Walnut veneer, with rose gold and mother-of-pearl accents throughout. The leathers, complete with a pearlescent finish, accentuate the surfaces and forms of Boat Tail’s seats and interior design. The transmission tunnel is formed from Royal Walnut veneer with rose gold pinstripes, drawing a direct visual reference to the rear deck and adding a glowing warmth to Boat Tail’s interior.
The centrepiece of the dashboard is a timepiece made from mother-of-pearl, chosen and supplied by the client from his own collection. Its fascia is pure and minimal in its appearance so as not to detract from the precious material. The same prised substance graces the control switches and instrument dials, creating a strong visual and material connection between the car, the owner, and his family heritage.
After unveiling the latest Boat Tail at Villa d’Este, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös observed: “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.”