“The ability to personalise almost every aspect of their motor car is one of the main reasons our patrons come to us. But we know some wish to go further still. In 2017, we stunned the world with our first fully coachbuilt motor car of the modern era, the spectacular Rolls-Royce Sweptail. This was, by definition, an entirely unique commission; but in our minds, it was the start of a journey.
We have formally re-established our Coachbuild department for those patrons who wish to go beyond the existing restraints, and explore the almost limitless possibilities this opens up for them. We are able to offer our customers the opportunity to create a motor car in which every single element is hand-built to their precise individual requirements, as befits our status as a true luxury house.”
With that quote from Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Rolls-Royce announces the commissioning what we at The Pursuitist consider one of the most beautiful coach-built automobiles in history, the Rolls-Royce Boat Tail.
With the launching of the Boat Tail, Rolls-Royce Coachbuild becomes a permanent fixture in the vast portfolio of bespoke options for Rolls-Royce clients.
“Coachbuilding is a highly distilled expression of Rolls-Royce Bespoke and is reserved for those who look to move beyond existing constraints. It is based on a true commission model and represents a collaborative exploration of meaningful luxury, design and culture between the marque and its commissioning client. The results become pivotal moments in time that create a future historical legacy, advancing designs which in turn define an era, extending influence far beyond the original intended purpose of a mere means of transportation. Rolls-Royce Coachbuild is contemporary patronage in its truest form,” said Alex Innes, Head of Rolls-Royce Coachbuild Design.
This means that Rolls-Royce can now align their motor cars with a lifestyle in which the client’s investments in luxury, from property, clothing and jewellery to works of art, yachts or private aircraft are personal, individual and unique.
Presenting the Boat Tail
At nearly 19 feet long, the Boat Tail makes quite a statement. The front profile features a new treatment of Rolls-Royce’s iconic pantheon grille and lights. The grille is now flanked by deep-set daytime running lights and classic round headlamps, a styling feature from the Rolls-Royce design archives.
The side view offers nautical references. The wraparound windshield pays styling homage to the windshields on vintage motor launches like the iconic mahogany Chris Craft, while a sculpted lower bodyside creates a lithe impression, making an historical reference to the running boards of prominent heritage Rolls-Royce designs.
But it’s at the rear where the nautical references become even more apparent. The aft deck, a modern interpretation of the wooden rear decks of historical Boat Tails, incorporates large swaths of Caleidolegno wood veneer.
The open pore material features a linear wood grain which is visually elongated by brushed stainless steel pinstripe inlays.
Additionally, deep-set taillamps establish a low reference point, evoking the dipped stern of a motor launch under power and on plane.
The Boat Tail features a removable fixed-canopy roof with gorgeous flying buttresses. If inclement weather is encountered while the roof is removed, a temporary tonneau can be temporarily fitted.
The incredible uniqueness of the Boat Tail is revealed when one opens the split rear deck to expose the “Hosting Suite.”
At the press of a button, the deck opens in a sweeping cantilever motion to reveal bespoke chests 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.
A double refrigerator was developed to house wine or champagne at the correct temperature for preferred vintages. Highly-polished cradles were created to stow the specific bottle sizes within the refrigerator.
A classic design element of contemporary Rolls-Royce motor cars is the stowage of Rolls-Royce umbrellas in the doors, and in anticipation of possible poor weather, a unique umbrella is housed beneath the rear-center line in anticipation of sunny weather. A telescopic movement opens the unique canopy inversely, ensuring effortless deployment.
Cocktail tables, which rotate to mimic the offering of an attendant, open on either side of the hosting suite providing access to two contemporary, minimalist stools, which are discretely stowed below. Designed by Rolls-Royce and created by Italian furniture maker Promemoria, the slim-line interlocking stools are formed from the same technical fiber found on the exterior of the car.
Inside, the Boat Tail is all Rolls. Thousands of Bespoke options are available to clients, while the initial commissioning was executed with blue leather throughout.
The dashboard is distilled in its appearance, providing a modern aesthetic. Unique timepieces from renowned horologists BOVET 1822 were specifically commissioned for Boat Tail clients. A pair of reversible tourbillon timepieces are featured, each designed to be worn on the wrist; used as a table clock, pendant or pocket timepiece; or placed within the dashboard as the Boat Tail’s timepiece.
Inside the glove box, a Montblanc pen in a hand-crafted aluminium and leather case, extends the full luxe treatment Rolls-Royce clients have come to expect and demand in their bespoke luxury motorcars.
The instrument panel dials are adorned with a decorative technique named Guilloché, more commonly perfected in the workshops of fine jewelers and watchmakers.
The cost of bespoke craftsmanship is not an issue for those who wish to acquire specialized items for their treasured collections. The Roll-Royce Boat Tail as currently commissioned carries a price tag of more than $25 million.
The Rolls-Royce Boat Tail was commissioned to “mark a sense of occasion and serve that occasion like nothing else.”
Torsten Müller-Ötvös concluded, “Boat Tail is the culmination of collaboration, ambition, endeavour, and time. It was born from a desire to celebrate success and create a lasting legacy. In its remarkable realization, Rolls-Royce Boat Tail forges a pivotal moment in our marque’s history and in the contemporary luxury landscape.”
Pursuitist automotive and lifestyle contributor Brian Armstead has been involved in print, radio, web and television for over 47 years. Brian has traveled to 79 countries. He is a North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year (NACTOY) Juror.