Sunday 18th March 2018
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Rolls-Royce goes Bespoke with three Phantoms. Image by Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce goes Bespoke with three Phantoms
Geneva show sees trio of specially-designed Rolls-Royce Phantoms, plus an Aero Cowling for the Dawn.
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What's all this about?

The Rolls-Royce stand at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show included three Bespoke Phantoms - one standard-wheelbase and the other two long-wheelbase models - as well as an extended carbon fibre and aluminium tonneau cover for the Dawn drop-head grand tourer, this item called the Aero Cowling.

What's so special about the three Phantoms?

Each of them is a unique example of the Rolls-Royce flagship. And each of them has a special Gallery on board.

Sorry, Gallery? As in, an entire art display?

Well, yes, but if you want something the size of a small museum, then we think you've got your hopes up a bit too much. The Gallery on the Phantom VIII is the toughened-glass section of the dashboard. It's where well-heeled owners can have anything they like displayed, to make their cars as bespoke as is humanly possible.

OK, so which Phantom is first up?

Let's deal with The Gentleman's Tourer, the short-wheelbase Roller. Commissioned by a R-R customer, this pays homage to the Phantom II Continental Saloons of the 1930s. These were always short-wheelbase, four-door cars in which the gentrified folk of the inter-war era preferred to drive themselves and a few friends across Europe, or the US of A - with no chauffeur required.

The 2018 iteration is therefore finished in a look that's supposed to speak of long-distance durability, outside and in, rather than showy elegance that's suited to the forecourts of the world's most expensive hotels. Thus, the coachwork is rendered in unique Iced Gunmetal with a satin silver bonnet, because the owner likes high-end military aircraft and that's what this appearance is supposed to evoke. The 22-inch alloy wheel centres are also Iced Gunmetal, while inside there's a Black, Selby Grey and Anthracite colour scheme and a Cascade Steel Gallery. Which is made of ruthenium.

Ruthenium? Isn't that a precious metal?

Quick, get this person a medal. Preferably one made of ruthenium. Yes, indeed, part of the platinum group of metals, this is one of the rarest substances on the planet. Just 20 tonnes of ruthenium are mined each year, compared to 2,500 tonnes of gold. So you can see how exclusive this Rolls' dashboard truly is.

Oh, how the other half live. OK, what about the LWB Phantoms?

Whispered Muse is by London-based designer Helen Amy Murray, in which she reinterprets the original drawings for the Spirit of Ecstasy, by Charles Sykes, for the interior finish. Much silk and rose gold is used, while the actual grille-mounted Spirit of Ecstasy herself on this particular Phantom is finished in rose gold - a first for the company.

And the blue Roller, if you please?

This one's called A Moment In Time and is a joint effort between the Based Upon Collective, also from London, and the Rolls-Royce Design team. A swath of silk was dragged through a tank of water, weight and suspended, then photographed to show what the material looked like as it swirled in the fluid. Based Upon and R-R Design then rendered this flowing sculpture in wax to make sure they were happy with it, before rendering the final item for the Phantom's Gallery in a piece of metal machined from a solid billet of aluminium. It is supposed to look like the Spirit of Ecstasy's shawl, draped over the car at high speed. Oh, and the car's luscious exterior paintwork is Blue Crystal over Milori Sapphire Bespoke, a paint scheme never before seen on a Rolls-Royce.

Right, enough of the Phantoms. What's this Dawn Aero Cowling about, then?

The hand-made, extended tonneau cover for the open-top Rolls extends from the front of said tonneau, which is where the car's hood is stashed when folded, to the backs of the front seats. It features two cowls that are wrapped in leather and which also feature hide-lined storage compartments for odds and sods, while the cowls themselves are aerodynamically optimised to maximise interior comfort, top down, for the occupants. Rolls-Royce says this turns the Dawn into a 'two-seater, roadster-style motor car', without actually sacrificing the rear space which the convertible possesses.

Matt Robinson - 6 Mar 2018

Earlier articles featuring 2018 Rolls-Royce Phantom

2017-11-22: First drive: Rolls-Royce Phantom
2017-07-27: Rolls-Royce unveils grandiose Phantom VIII to the world    - Rolls-Royce road tests
- Rolls-Royce news
- Phantom images

2018 Geneva Show stars. Image by Rolls-Royce.2018 Geneva Show stars. Image by Rolls-Royce.2018 Geneva Show stars. Image by Rolls-Royce.2018 Geneva Show stars. Image by Rolls-Royce.2018 Geneva Show stars. Image by Rolls-Royce.

2018 Geneva Show stars. Image by Rolls-Royce.2018 Geneva Show stars. Image by Rolls-Royce.2018 Geneva Show stars. Image by Rolls-Royce.2018 Geneva Show stars. Image by Rolls-Royce.2018 Geneva Show stars. Image by Rolls-Royce.

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