Speed, style and science, the automobile industry saw a drastic shift when Rolls-Royce entered the automobile sector. One century later, the brand is still a flag bearer and continues to redefine luxury and the motorcar experience
By: Nikita Vivek Pawar
Posted on: December 10, 2019
The wings of the Spirit of Ecstasy are a memoir of the scope and expanse of the brand. Rolls-Royce is more than just another motor company. The brand has made automobiles a luxury experience unparalleled and exquisite only to them. The 116–year-old company has transformed motorcars into a symbol of luxury and sophistication. And the journey has been as epic as their products are.
When it all began
Some people are destined to meet and create great history. Charles Rolls and Henry Royce met on the evening of May 4, 1904. Beginning a revolution, this meeting changed the automobile industry forever. Their unconventional minds and thought processes led to the creation of Rolls-Royce. They used the engines derived from that of airplanes to boost the speed and response time. And in 1907, the first ever Rolls-Royce automobile ran 23,127 kms almost non-stop!
The company then went on to revolutionise the automobile industry with an eye to precision and experimenting with designs. The company time and again redefined a mere mode of transport to a status symbol and further created a niche market for themselves. The company even produces aircraft engines alongside car engines now!
The Game of Thrones
In 1973, Rolls-Royce was nationalised and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited was formed. Corniche was the first car made under the new RR Limited company with a two-door, front-engine, rear wheel drive five-seater, as a coupé and convertible. The company then was acquired by Vickers plc in 1980. Eight years later, it was time for a change in the reign. BMW was seen as the only potential contender as it already supplied internal combust engines and other components to the company, but the tables turned when Volkwagen outbid BMW with $430 million.
The company was then divided with Volkswagan gaining the automobile operations while BMW acquired rights to the RR logo and name. The company’s future was now in able hands. The Rolls-Royce Phantom was the first product offered for sale in 2003. A four door sedan that broke all benchmarks of technology and science. Since then, the company has expanded its product line to include extended wheelbase, two-door coupé, and convertible versions of the Phantom sedan, as well as the smaller Ghost four-door sedan, Wraith two-door coupé, Dawn convertible, and the Cullinan SUV.
Eye for detail
What differentiates Rolls-Royce from any other automobile manufacturing company is taking account of the consumer’s expectations and preferences. Rolls-Royce tapped into that way before any other company could fathom. Proudly welded by hand, it takes about two months for a Rolls-Royce car to be completely ready. Being originally from England, where the rains are uncalled and completely unpredictable, Rolls-Royce is equipped with Teflon coated umbrellas that are built into the doors and pop out with the touch of a button. In the newer Rolls-Royce models, the umbrella compartments come with assigned dryers to fasten the drying process. Rolls-Royce’s doors are heavier than most car doors, hence, once inside, you can press the DOOR button which automatically closes the door!
The $40 million worth hood ornament ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ has been the most sought after automobile ornament. In order to prevent the prospect of theft, the ornament is now retractable into the grill, controlled by a remote controller. The coach line on every Rolls-Royce is hand painted by Mark Courts, the only person responsible for painting the coach line and takes about 3-4 hours to draw the 5 meter long coachline.
Rolls-Royce also values the choice of colours, without restricting the patron to a limited palette, the company offers over 44,000 hues for exteriors and interiors for Rolls Royce Phantom. The extravagant interiors of the Rolls-Royce take about 8-11 bulls and 17 days to wrap! To ensure maximum privacy, peace and comfort, every Rolls-Royce uses 130 kilograms of sound proofing material to have the minimum impact of peripheral sounds and noises.
Vision for future
The best part about Rolls-Royce is that they value innovation and exclusivity. Rolls-Royce Bespoke is a separate wing of the company that relentlessly works on making dream cars come true. Right from the conceptualisation to the assembly, the consumer has veto in everything. The process is not time restricted or budget strained, and the company allows a rare and desirable union of the consumer and the artisan. The colour that is used for the final product is named and patented after the patron’s name. Along with Bespoke, Rolls-Royce also has a platform called Muse, a stage where people can present their art, design and innovation.
If not said enough, Rolls Royce is considered as the epitome of luxury and affluence. The car is supposed to be chauffeur-driven while the patron devours the uber copious feel of the car. Rolls-Royce believes the chauffeur plays a rather important role in the entire experience, thus, the Rolls Royce White Glove service. It is a driving coaching programme to train chauffeurs to understand the expectations and mannerisms required. It also includes the code of conduct and things to do while receiving and departing the patron.
Strange but true!
There are numerous stories online that will list down the most bizarre stories and facts about brands and companies. Rolls-Royce has a few of its own. The regal status that Rolls-Royce enjoys is primarily because it was a royalty preferred car. Royals from across the globe wanted to have a Rolls-Royce of their own. The Indian King, Jai Singh, bought 10 Rolls-Royce cars to collect garbage after being outraged by the salesman who thought the king couldn’t afford the car. Adding to the bizarreness is the fact that Osho, the cult leader, once had 94 Rolls Royce in his personal collection. And then, the Rolls-Royce Sweptail holds the title of most expensive car in the world - a Rolls Royce Bespoke project, and the owner still remains anonymous!
Rolls-Royce is the only automobile producing company in the world that has more than 65% of its total production still running on the road. Talk about quality and precision! But then, do you think the luxury car would be seen as often as Toyota or Ford? Well, it can. Hong Kong has the largest number Rolls-Royce running on its roads. The city has been reported as the city with highest intensity of Rolls-Royce cars across the globe.
The ever-evolving automobile company is progressing towards Artifical Intelligence, better efficiency, alternate energy resources, and of course, a true luxury experience. Indeed, a marvel of the industry!