IF THE ROLLS-ROYCE DAWN, INSPIRED BY THE CURVES OF ACTRESS ANITA ECKBERG, WAS DESCRIBED AS THE ‘SEXIEST CAR EVER’ THEN THE NEW BOAT TAIL MUST SURELY GIVE IT A RUN FOR ITS MONEY.
This month we’re breaking with tradition and, rather than the regular test drive, we’re bringing you a sneak peek at the iconic British marque’s latest baby – the product of a four-year collaboration with three very special customers and inspired by the detailing found on J-Class yachts, themselves things of great beauty married with ultimate performance.
The utterly unique coachbuilt Boat Tail commission heralds the adoption of Coachbuild as a permanent fixture in the future portfolio at the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ head office and manufacturing plant, at Goodwood, West Sussex, UK, the only place in the world where the company’s super-luxury motor cars are hand-built.
The Boat Tail represents a collaborative exploration of luxury, design and culture between the marque and commissioning clients, empowering them to create potent, evocative expressions of personal taste. Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce, explains: “Rolls-Royce Coachbuild clients are intimately and personally involved at each step of the creative and engineering process. We work in harmony with the client to gain complete fluency in the nuances of their character and personality. We carefully translate these qualities into the elements with which they wish to imbue their commission. This is authentic luxury. This is contemporary patronage in its truest form. This is Rolls-Royce Coachbuild.”
The Dawn of A Movement
In 2017, the celebrated Rolls-Royce Sweptail defined the dawn of the contemporary coachbuilding movement. Sweptail set a new waterline of potential and ignited a fascination among a rarefied cohort: collectors, patrons of the arts and commissioning clients of now-iconic architecture. A number of these women and men approached Rolls-Royce to discover if they too could collaborate on a unique commission, one that was even more profound – one that provided an elevated sense of curation.
Among them, three potential patrons shared a deep appreciation of contemporary nautical design. J-Class yachts were often referenced as points of inspiration, both for their purity of form and their requirement for hand craftsmanship at the highest level.
This client-led creative expression coincided with a long-held ambition of the design team at Rolls-Royce to create a contemporary expression of the Boat Tail typology, where coachbuilders would graft the hull forms of sailing boats onto the rolling chassis of a Rolls-Royce. The commissioning patrons agreed demanding: “Show me something that I have never seen before.”
The Transference of Soul
Cutting-edge engineering technologies within Rolls-Royce are fused with the artistic practice of coachbuilding to exploit new possibilities. The clay sculpture is digitally remastered, from which the buck is created on to which aluminium sheets are hammer-formed by hand. Employing ageold individual hand skills and craft, a living canvas is created from metal – honing and optimising the aluminium body, creating a clarity of surface and continuation of line that is not achievable by machine alone. The process is akin to yacht building, easing the transference of soul into the creation. Slowly, vast sheets of metal transform into the sculptural representation of Boat Tail. A truly pure form is created: uninterrupted by panel breaks, dramatic in its curvature, monolithic in scale and formed from one seemingly endless surface.
A Celebration of Success
The first Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is a curation of exceptional thoughts, concepts and items, which culminate to form the client’s perfect experience. 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. The grille becomes an integral part of the front end, not an appliqué; a freedom of design bestowed only upon models within the Coachbuild portfolio. 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.
The exterior is swathed in a rich and complex tone of the client’s favourite colour – blue. The hue is subtle when in shadows but in sunlight, embedded metallic and crystal flakes bring a vibrant and energetic aura to the finish. 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. The interior leather reflects the bonnet’s colour tone transition with the front seats swathed in the darker blue hue, recognising Boat Tail’s driver-focused intent, while the rear seats are finished in the lighter tone.
A Sense of Occasion
“This car should mark a sense of occasion and serve that occasion like nothing else.” Such was the brief of Rolls-Royce Boat Tail’s commissioning patrons. In response and in reflection of their 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.
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.
Timeless Passion – A Collaboration with BOVET 1822
Two great luxury houses with a common pursuit of perfection have been brought together at the clients’ behest. World-class craftspeople from the House of BOVET 1822 were called upon to work hand-in-hand with Rolls-Royce’s own masters in their field. As esteemed and passionate collectors of both the Swiss-based House of BOVET and Rolls-Royce, the patrons’ vision was to create exquisite, ground-breaking timepieces for their Boat Tail. In an act of tireless endeavour and genuine collaboration, the houses have come together to re-imagine Rolls-Royce’s iconic centrepiece, the dashboard clock.
An Engineering Marvel
Significant engineering challenges were overcome in the development of Rolls-Royce Boat Tail. In fact, 1,813 completely new parts were created specifically for the cars. As Boat Tail is a fully road-legal motor car created to be driven, it was only fully released once it had undergone the same rigorous dynamic testing as all other Rolls-Royces, including high speed analysis to ensure the contents of the rear hosting suite are sufficiently fastened and therefore silent under power. Indeed, each client has stipulated that they wish to drive their Boat Tail immediately upon receipt.
For more information, please call
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Doha on 4406 5625.