This car is the result of a new department – Rolls-Royce Coachbuild
June 3, 2021: To fulfil some extraordinary client commissions, in conjunction with its few special clients, Rolls-Royce has initiated a distinct department within the company, Rolls-Royce Coachbuild.
This new division is a highly distilled expression of Rolls-Royce Bespoke and is reserved for those who look to move beyond existing constraints. It is based on a true commission model and represents a collaborative exploration of meaningful luxury, design and culture between the marque and its commissioning client.
The first result of Coachbuild is Rolls-Royce Boat Tail.
Rolls-Royce Boat Tail, unveiled recently, is a curation of exceptional thoughts, concepts and items. The commissioning patrons, a successful couple who are highly proficient in the appointment of Rolls-Royces, truly personify connoisseurship; their luxury curation is an artform in itself. Their proposition was purposefully self-indulgent. Their desire was to create a response to a life of hard work, success achieved, and celebration required. Their Rolls-Royce Boat Tail should be joyful, a celebratory car to enjoy with their family.
At nearly 5.8m long, its generosity of proportion and clarity of surface present a graceful and relaxed stance. The front profile is centred on a new treatment of Rolls-Royce’s iconic pantheon grille and lights. A strong horizontal graphic with deep-set daytime running lights forms Boat Tail’s intense brow line and frames classical round headlamps, a design feature recalled from the design archives of Rolls-Royce.
In profile, nautical references are very suggestive. The wrap-around windscreen recalls 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 create a gesture that recalls a motor launch rising out of water under power. A progressive negative sculpture in the lower bodyside creates a lithe impression, while making an historical reference to the running boards of prominent heritage Rolls-Royce designs.
It is at the rear where the nautical references become more apparent. The aft deck, a modern interpretation of the wooden rear decks of historical Boat Tails, incorporates large swathes of wood. Caleidolegno veneer is applied in a feat of Rolls-Royce engineering; the grey and black material which is typically housed in the interior, has been specially adapted to be used on the exterior, with no compromise to the aesthetic.
The open pore material features a linear wood grain which is visually elongated by brushed stainless steel pinstripe inlays, serving as an optical nod to the typical wooden construction of yachts – both old and new.
The exterior of Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is swathed in a rich and complex tone of the client’s favourite colour – blue. To ensure the smoothest possible application when rendering the exterior, a finger was run over the definitive body line before the paint had fully dried to soften its edges. The wheels are finished in bright blue, highly polished and clear coated to add to Boat Tail’s celebratory character.
A hand-painted, gradated bonnet, a first for Rolls-Royce, rises from a comparatively subdued deeper blue which cascades onto the grille, providing a progressive but informal aesthetic and a solidity of overall volume when viewed from the front.
The interior leather reflects the bonnet’s colour tone transition with the front seats swathed in the darker blue hue, while the rear seats are finished in the 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 inspired by the hands of the car’s timepieces. A brilliant blue is also found woven at a 55 degree angle into the technical fibre elements to be seen on the lower bodywork, precisely orientated to emulate the spill of a water’s wake.
The fascia is distilled in its appearance, purposefully reduced to provide a modern aesthetic. This minimalist canvas accentuates the jewel like features of the completely unique BOVET 1822 timepieces specifically commissioned by the client for Boat Tail. Collecting pens is another of the clients’ great passions. A particularly cherished Montblanc pen will reside in a discretely placed, hand-crafted, case of aluminium and leather, in Boat Tail’s glove box.
The instrument panel dials are adorned with a decorative technique named Guilloché, more commonly perfected in the workshops of fine jewellers and watchmakers.
In response and in reflection of the commissioning couple’s character, the rear deck inconspicuously houses a highly ambitious concept never seen before in the automotive world. At the press of a button, the deck opens in a sweeping butterfly gesture, to reveal an intricate and generous hosting suite. Its complex movement was inspired by cantilever concepts explored by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava.
The hosting suite creates a celebratory focal point for a shared occasion and affords ample opportunity to reveal the individuality of the clients’ tastes and desires. Hinged towards the centre line, the synchronised balletic opening movement reveals a treasure chest of moving parts that offer themselves to the host at a precise angle of 15 degrees.
The chest is appointed with the perfect accoutrements for a true Rolls-Royce al fresco dining experience; one side 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’ favourite vintages of Armand de Brignac champagne. Elegant cradles were created to stow the specific bottle size within the refrigerator, the surrounds are highly polished and colour matched to the bottle.
In a delightful twist and to heighten the languid experience of Boat Tail, a unique parasol is housed beneath the rear centre line in anticipation of fine weather. A telescopic movement opens this beautiful and whimsical canopy inversely, ensuring effortless deployment.
Cocktail tables, which elegantly rotate to mimic the offering of an attendant, open on either side of the hosting suite providing access to two contemporary, minimalist stools, which are discretely stowed below. Designed by Rolls-Royce and created by Italian furniture maker Promemoria, the slim-line interlocking stools are formed from the same technical fibre found on the exterior of the car. The interior blue Rolls-Royce leather provides the stools’ suitably comfortable seating materials.
To fulfil the clients’ extraordinary ambitions, 1,813 new engineering parts were created specifically for the cars. While designs were being finalised with the clients, the marque’s body-in-white, with its scalable aluminium spaceframe architecture, was completely reconfigured to support Boat Tail’s generous proportions, a process that took eight months in itself. As ever, the 15-speaker Bespoke Rolls-Royce Audio System was intended from the motor car’s inception, but the spaceframe architecture was exploited differently. Rolls-Royce’s existing product portfolio use a specially designed sill section of the architecture as the resonance chambers for the sound system’s bass speakers. In Boat Tail, the entire floor structure is utilised, creating an exceptional audio experience for the client.
To support the complex requirements of the hosting suite to the rear of Boat Tail, a unique electronic treatment was required. Five electronic control units (ECUs) were created for the rear of the car alone – a process that required a completely redesigned, dedicated wiring harness, which was the product of nine months of intensive research and development. Only then was it possible for the aft deck lids to open to an appropriate 67-degree angle, incorporate a highly secure locking mechanism and integrate a total climate control system to the rear hosting suite to preserve any cuisine stowed on board.
The inside temperature of the hosting suite was a specific consideration. Boat Tail was created in anticipation of fair weather, so measures needed to be taken to ensure that heat absorption did not adversely affect the contents of the suite, which could include food, liquids and of course champagne. To that end, two fans are mounted in the lower section of the hosting suite to dissipate heat.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce, concluded, “Boat Tail is the culmination of collaboration, ambition, endeavour, and time. It was born from a desire to celebrate success and create a lasting legacy. In its remarkable realisation, Rolls-Royce Boat Tail forges a pivotal moment in our marque’s history and in the contemporary luxury landscape."