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Geneva: Rolls-Royce shows its bespoke appeal

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Apparently one never simply buys a Rolls-Royce, so with no specific new product to launch at Geneva the British luxury brand is instead showing off the efforts of its bespoke division.

Three different versions of the latest Phantom, launched six months ago, are displayed at the Swiss show. Each has been specifically ordered for a customer and each apparently demonstrates “why Rolls-Royce is a Luxury House in the business of motor cars and the by-word for Bespoke.”

Gentleman’s Tourer

‘The Gentleman’s Tourer’ was modelled to evoke the Phantom II Continental saloons of the 1930s, which were seen as tourers for long journeys across the continent. The Geneva car boasts bespoke ‘iced Gunmetal’ paint and a satin silver bonnet, created especially to appeal to an interest in high-performance aircraft by the car’s buyer. Inside it is upholstered in various shades of black, grey and Anthracite leathers with the stand-out feature a detailing in Ruthenium – a precious metal platinum derivative of which only 20 tonnes is mined each year.

The other two cars are both extended wheelbase Phantoms, dubbed ‘Whispered Muse’ and ‘A Moment in Time’. They are the first two new Phantoms commissioned with interior ‘galleries’ created by individual artists.

Whispered Muse

The gallery in Whispered Muse was created by London-based designer Helen Amy Murray. Inspired by the original Charles Sykes drawings for the Spirit of Ecstasy symbol of Rolls-Royce, it uses various silks to create a sculpted effect, as well as Piano Seashell veneer on the interior surfaces, created by hand polishing for 12 hours. The seats are also clad in a Seashell leather shade.

On the outside, the paintwork is again bespoke, with a newly-developed crystal effect over the two-tone Selby Grey and Palais Nemaskar Dawn bespoke paint. Creating the finish involved ten layers of paint, with the last being a layer of glass-infused clearcoat to create the crystal effect. Rose Gold is also used extensively, with the Spirit of Ecstasy finished this way for the first time.

A Moment in Time

If that sounds like a lot of effort… The process of creating A Moment in Time began by pulling a broad strip through a tank of water, the strip weighted and suspended to control the effect. This was captured on camera and the resulting fluid form analysed by the Rolls-Royce design team and design specialists Based Upon. It was then recreated in clay to create a wax sculpture and the final version machined from a solid billet of aluminium, then polished to accentuate its curvature.

This car’s interior uses a Piano Milori Sapphire veneer, hand-polished for 12 hours, and of course, the exterior paintwork is again bespoke, a newly-created Blue Crystal over Milori Sapphire paint with a mere six layers including the final clear coat infused with blue glass to create the blue crystal effect.

Two-seat Dawn

Also debuting on the Geneva stand is an aero cowling for the Rolls-Royce Dawn, which is effectively an extended tonneau cover over the rear seats and turning it into a two-seat roadster.

The hand-made unit comprises two cowls that extend upwards behind the front seats and each includes leather-lined storage compartments. The tonneau cover is made in carbon fibre and aluminium and the lid of each cowl is covered in leather.

Of course, Rolls-Royce would never be so vulgar as to indicate the price of such conversions. But consider that the Phantom starts from beyond a quarter of a million pounds, even before the bespoke department gets involved…

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.