The coach built era is making a comeback with luxury and design being taken to extremes with new bespoke creations by car-makers. Enter Rolls-Royce.
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We have seen the likes of Ferrari having a separate department with its personalization program. There its best clients create their dream car and where one’s imagination is the only limit. However, off late, McLaren, Bentley and Aston Martin are also happily creating one-off cars tailor made for the customer.
In many ways it harks back to the time when coach built cars were the norm with the wealthy. Back then the chassis was to be the blank canvas on which the whims and fancies of the client were to be catered to.
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Rolls-Royce used to make bespoke cars for its clients in its early years. In many ways its customization department for cars like the Phantom enables the customer to choose a specific kind of leather or create a bespoke interior amongst other additions.
The Boat Tail is a bit different. It is the product of the “Rolls-Royce Coach build” program along with the marque returning to its roots. This bespoke convertible marks the return of coach building and it is now a permanent part of the Rolls-Royce portfolio.
The Boat Tail, rumored to be owned by Jay Z and Beyoncé, is the result of a four year collaboration between the client and Rolls-Royce.
Clients take part in the design process
The ethos behind the Boat Tail is embedding nautical design into automotive forms. J-Class yachts are known for their hand craftsmanship. Having a sense of design purity hence, three clients wanted the essence of a yacht to be captured on a car. Thus Rolls-Royce came up with “Boat Tail typology”.
It is where coachbuilders would graft the hull forms of sailing boats onto the rolling chassis of a Rolls-Royce. The three clients loved the idea. It was decided that three cars would be made sharing the same body but each would be highly personalized.
The first such Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is one such car. As is with bespoke creations, the clients are part of the design process right from the start. That includes forming the full sized sculpture in clay. From there on, the aluminum body was hand crafted and was shaped to represent a boat tail. At nearly 5.8 m long, the Boat Tail is very much mimicking the proportions of a yacht and has smooth surfacing. The front has the pantheon grille and lights which echo the modern day Rolls. But the side and long rear section is very much reminiscent of a yacht.
The interior similarly is lavished with large swathes of wood. Then you get brushed stainless steel pinstripe inlays, serving as an optical nod to the typical wooden construction of yachts. The veneer extends to the lower transom area resolving the taper and overall volume astern. A reference to the hull lines of classic Boat Tail bodies.
Some wonderful details include a hand-painted, gradated bonnet, bespoke BOVET 1822 timepieces specifically commissioned by the client, a deck which opens up a suite to a double refrigerator which has been developed to house vintages of Armand de Brignac champagne.
Amidst all this we forget that the Boat Tail would not be parked inside an art museum but would be driven and hence is a fully homologated, road-legal motor car. It also has no less than 1813 new parts.
At an estimated price of $28 million, the Rolls-Royce Boat Tail then takes art and the humble automobile to an altogether different stratosphere.