At the top of the automotive game, there are few brands that can truly be considered the pinnacle of luxury. Each competes to offer their discerning customers a product that would make the competition envious. Once in a blue moon, a marque makes the playing field uneven by creating a one-off statement piece that is so exclusive, that mere money or influence become irrelevant tools of acquisition.
The latest iteration of the Boat Tail, The Next Chapter, is in fact one of only three that will ever be produced. Each one fundamentally different. It is an entirely hand-built car with body panels fashioned from vast, single sheets of aluminum. It is created and inspired by the racing yachts of the early 20th century. The unique story of this Boat Tail lies in the connection with the patron’s father and his origins in the pearl diving industry.
Rolls-Royce Coachbuild division is for the top one percent
Alex Innes, Head of Coachbuild Design, describes it as ‘The tale of two worlds: a modern motor car of contemporary design, made possible by historical techniques and time-honored craft. It is truly, one-of-a-kind.” And he is right, each Rolls-Royce Coachbuild motor car is entirely unique, designed, and hand-built for the patron.
Rolls-Royce clients are no stranger to the world of limitless personalization. As a matter of fact, in 2019, when I interviewed CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös in Dubai, one of my first questions was ‘Have you ever refused a personalization option from a client?’. To which he gave the rather long answer, ‘No!’
What separates personalization and Coachbuild is the level of involvement and unique outcome of each car. While the quote-unquote ‘ordinary’ Rolls-Royce customers can customize existing models by personalizing aspects of the interior and exterior. Coachbuild is an entirely A to Z process which happens only by invitation where the client works with the design team to create every detail of the car above the chassis.
Throughout its history, Rolls-Royce never stopped honoring the Coachbuild tradition. However, the most recent wave started with the Sweptail in 2017, which reportedly cost an estimated $12.8 million and debuted at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este the same year. The couple who owns the Sweptail also owns a 1932 Boat Tail.
Every Coachbuild project is bespoke, and for this Boat Tail, the client began the process by presenting Rolls-Royce designers with a selection of four pearl shells, personally chosen from his private collection for their unique color and complexity. These were to provide inspiration for the exterior color, which Rolls-Royce says is one of the most complex bespoke finishes ever created by the brand.
The stern, otherwise referred to as the rear deck, houses the most interesting ‘butterfly-design’ hosting suite, which comes in a rather elegant Royal Walnut veneer. Inlaid rose gold-plated pinstripes with a satin-brushed finish give the Boat Tail an even more out of the ordinary and sophisticated appearance. The Royal Walnut will over time, mature and eventually, the color tones will turn into a shade of cognac.
The Spirit of Ecstasy is fashioned in rose gold and elegantly stands over the imposing Pantheon Grille which is milled from a single, solid billet of aluminum.
Moving on to the palatial interior, the harmony of cognac and oyster-colored leathers and Royal Walnut veneer, with rose gold and mother-of-pearl accents throughout create a most welcoming appearance. The leathers, complete with a pearlescent finish, accentuate the surfaces and forms of Boat Tail’s seats and interior design. The transmission tunnel is formed from Royal Walnut veneer with rose gold pinstripes, which mirrors the rear deck and adds a most sincere glowing effect to Boat Tail’s interior.
The timepiece in the dashboard is supplied by the client’s own mother-of-pearl collection as are the control switches and instrument dials, all to create a visual and material bond between the car, the owner, and the patron’s family heritage.
The Rolls-Royce Boat Tail, The Next Chapter, is a tribute to the sheer elegance and creativity that can be achieved when the Coachbuild division and patron work hand in hand to produce a timeless automobile to be admired by generations to come.