As royalty, the rich and the famous have always sought that personal service which gratifies their wishes Rolls-Royce has responded in extending the bespoke concept of their cars, exemplified in the seemingly endless choices offered in meeting the wishes of its clients.
“Bespoke” signifies that its cars are tailored, as a bespoke suit, to fit the needs of the individual, hand-made to order, to present a vehicle that is unique, luxurious in its accessorising, and still with the excellence of motor engineering synonymous with the Rolls-Royce name. The excellence of that bespoke service means that Rolls-Royce is flourishing.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé
Innovation and Design
Launched at the Detroit Motor Show in 2006 the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé is unmistakably Rolls-Royce in its lines and styling, staying with tradition but there are subtle changes. The Phantom name is familiar but the Drophead Coupé is not a mere adaptation, a conversion of an existing model to a convertible. Echoes there may be of its precursor but this is a convertible re-thought. It maintains its graceful lines with hood up or stowed.
The long bonnet and larger wheels remain but it has a shorter body and yet retains simplicity of line, elegant and flowing. Being shorter adds to its agility. Self-levelling air struts facilitate precision driving especially when cornering whilst the front wishbone suspension allows for a smooth ride.
Two door, it seats four with the interior design maximising the accommodation and affording ample rear leg room. The coach doors facilitate getting in and out as well as allowing for the construction of the A-pillar to be unbroken, adding strength and rigidity.
Unique to the car is the picnic boot, again recalling the days of open-topped roadsters and wayside picnics. But it offers more, ease of access for luggage and two outdoor seats capable of accommodating two adults, spacious when the hood is up or down.
The aluminium front wings have been moulded by being heated to the critical temperature and then, sucked down over a mould, giving a wonderful smoothness of line, a process unique to the Rolls Royce Drophead Coupé. The grille has been redesigned, angled, to please the eye.
The all-aluminium spaceframe is light and hand-welded, adapted to the needs of open-topped motoring, reducing weight but promoting rigidity and strength. Torsional rigidity is vital to minimise the scuttle shake associated with most convertible cars and to help maintain the car’s dynamic composure.
The finest of materials, nature and craftsmanship respected
Natural materials are used wherever possible; wood, leather, chrome, brushed steel. It is innovative and challenging in its design, particularly of the interior, reminiscent of pre-war cars which used wood in their design. The interior decking draws upon the grace of the J-class racing yachts of the 1930s. It also brings to mind the 1924 Rolls-Royce Boattail in its use of wood in the build and nautical influence. Goodwood’s proximity to Southampton is not lost in the design.
Luxurious, sumptuous, the superlatives required are unending in considering each detail. Materials are selected for quality and to fulfil a particular function.
Practicality is not ignored. The all-weather surfaces of the interior are designed to cope with rain, from the smooth surfaces of the seats which can be easily wiped, to the sisal mats.
The hood is made from five layers of material, including cashmere, which deliver a high level of acoustic insulation. The soft-top has an advantage over a hard-top in that it requires a small space for storage. Run flat tyres further free up luggage space. No spare wheel or jack is required.
Brushed steel may be chosen for the bonnet and A-pillar which adds an appeal that is often seen in haute horology where polished and brushed steel are sometimes juxtaposed in the cases of watches. It is also a feature of the grille where the centre fins are polished and the surround is brushed. Machine brushing is used in the first stage but hand-polishing is used to achieve perfection in the grain, finish not time is of the essence.
Teak may be selected as a decking for the rear hood. The deck comprises 30 pieces of teak. Special oils add finish. The wood is selected from one tree to ensure a perfect match of shade and consistency of grain. When the deck is assembled grooves are hand-machined and caulked in black. The skills of the yacht builder and car designer are harnessed in harmony.
The craftsmanship is evident in every aspect, from the selection of materials, traditional and high- tech, to the hours devoted to achieving perfection. The grille has been redesigned, angled. The careful selection of leather to maximise the size of piece to get a perfect finish, to give flawless matching, wasting as little as possible whilst avoiding faults and blemishes.
A choice of nine new colours for the exterior have been produced, accompanied by a choice of six hood colours applied with care to achieve depth of colour and shine. Soft grained leathers are hand-stitched to add that sumptuous feel and the upholstery can be personalised, not only in choice of colour but by the addition of the client’s monogram to the headrests.
The sound system has been specially designed to offer the best acoustics possible in a convertible offering nine channels delivered through 15 speakers!
To achieve optimum strength and protection the windscreen surround and A-pillar have been carefully structured. The V12 engine delivers power assisted by the low centre of gravity which enhances stability. As the wind screen surround contribute to the roll-over protection system, further measures have been taken. Housed within the rear spaceframe structure is the concealed roll-over protection system. In the event of an accident rear head restraints are deployed almost instantaneously, to be held in place by a ratchet system. Crumple zones add to occupant safety and sides are strengthened to withstand impact. Further rigidity is given to the space frame by additional braces.
Safety has not been compromised for aesthetics but is paramount within the design. Thought has been given to all elements of design to maximise safety. The grille, for example, is designed to give way if a low-speed impact occurs. An integrated front bumper blends with the car’s lines but is less likely to cause harm in a collision.
Parking and manoeuvring are assisted by a camera set beneath the number plate and affording a view of the road on the car’s on-board monitor. The driving position affords a clear view of the road.
Nor has power and performance been lost. It has, however been harnessed.
The V12 provides power which delivers 60 mph in less than 6 seconds. The top speed is limited to 149 mph.
The latest four channel anti-lock system, together with emergency brake assist, plus a dynamic stability control system means Rolls-Royce can justifiable claim “the safest convertible car on the market”.
With the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, Rolls-Royce honours the past, maintains tradition but moves motor engineering and handcrafting forward to satisfy their clients who wish for those extras which come with being “Bespoke”.