CAR sales are steadily falling, companies are merging and the world’s motor vehicle industry is generally facing gloomy times.
But things are a lot different in the high-end luxury market, where demand for something grand and glorious has reached new heights.
Global demand for the skills of the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective have hit a new record.
Tell the R-R folk what you want, and they will happily oblige with their one-of-a-kind builds, which can include anything from gold plating to diamond-studded starscapes — as long as you’re not in a great hurry for it.
“Our Bespoke designers masterfully translate global taste patterns into works of art, moving beyond automotive conventions to redefine the possibilities of luxury craft,” Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said.
All that is needed is a yearning to surround yourself “in perfectly appointed, personally curated statements of true luxury,” the exotically-named boss of Rolls-Royce said, going on to mention a trio of Phantoms that have just left the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex for new homes elsewhere on the planet.
“These are three very different Phantoms, each illustrating the extraordinary breadth of Bespoke personalisation available to patrons of our marque,” Müller-Ötvös said.
The three Phantoms have taken several years to bring to fruition.
There’s the Horology Phantom, created after a designer from the Home of Rolls-Royce travelled to La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland to meet master horologists to understand the complexities and exotic movements of contemporary timepieces.
The Horology Phantom is touched with elements redolent of fine timepieces.
Gold and silver hues set against the gunmetal lower and black upper two-tone exterior paint hint at the holistic theme of this car.
A gold and silver coloured hand-painted twinned coachline incorporates an intricate watch-inspired design, while the Spirit of Ecstasy, the figurine that has graced the bonnets of Rolls-Royce motor cars for over a century, is cloaked in 24-carat gold.
The fascia features the largest stainless steel and gold inlay ever made for Phantom and apart from a multiple layered stainless steel Gallery, it boasts aRolls-Royce clock set in a solid silver guilloché case.
A what case?
Guilloché is defined as “a decorative technique in which a very precise, intricate and repetitive pattern is mechanically engraved into an underlying material via engine turning.”
Then there’s the Digital Soul Phantom in a two-tone exterior colourway of Carrara White upper and Smokey Quartz lower is embellished with a gold coachline and gold plated Spirit of Ecstasy figurine.
The interior design echoes this colourway, Seashell and Dark Spice leathers are accentuated with gold stitching and monograms depicting the ‘RR’ emblem, but the Gallery was created in collaboration with Munich-based product designer Thorsten Franck, and “portrays an individual’s characteristics in a unique algorithm.”
Data is transcribed via 3D printing and the stainless steel has been plated in 24-carat gold.
The Arabian Gulf Phantom adopts the rich colours and historical narrative of pearl diving in the Middle East.
The Turchese (turquoise in common English) exterior hue is “evocative of the vibrant local waters, while the Andalusian White upper two-tone recalls the purity of natural pearls, alluding to the story within.”
An Arctic White coachline introduces a hand-painted Nautilus shell motif that is embedded into the fabric of the car’s interior design.
Open the doors and “the Gallery prominently portrays a sense of movement, inspired by swelling oceans.”
There’s also a mother of pearl clock which “punctuates the vibrant Turchese Gallery” and the picnic tables “provide a sense of delightful theatre with a supremely complex piece of marquetry incorporating generously applied Mother of Pearl and presented as though a hidden artwork is being discovered.”
A large swathe of colour matched Turchese leather sweeps across Phantom’s expansive roof, enveloping the occupant in an atmospheric cocoon, punctuated by the coveted starlight headliner consisting of 1344 hand-woven fibre optic lights.
Rolls-Royce doesn’t say how many of its Bespoke models are on order, or what mountains of money are involved, but if global demand has reached a new high, the Spirit of Ecstasy seems set to keep soaring.