'Hand Built in Goodwood, England' is a plaque that adorns every Rolls Royce ever made, staying true to their coachbuilding heritage. While every Rolls is a hand-crafted marvel of engineering, some are just more special than others.
In 2017, Rolls Royce was commissioned to construct a one-off luxury car built to the owner's whims and fancies. The Sweptail, as its known, was the most expensive new vehicle made at RM52.8 million. We say "was" because this started a trend on one-off coachbuilt commissions of Rolls Royce, which has culminated into our topic of discussion today, the Rolls Royce Boat Tail.
Now part of the House of Rolls Royce, the re-established Coachbuild department was commissioned by a very tasteful (and very wealthy) client to build them an extension of their personality. An automobile that caters to their lavish lifestyle, the Rolls Royce Boat Tail was designed after extensive curation with the clients.
Sharing the Rolls Royce Phantom's platform, the Boat Tail is a custom two-door four-seat speedster with a removable top. At nearly 5.8 metres long and weighing in at over three tonnes, this road-yacht is powered by the signature 6.75-litre twin-turbo V12 engine, producing 563hp and an immense 900 Nm of torque from just 1,700rpm. A ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic transmission sends drive to the rear wheels. No 0-100kph times here as this is a Rolls Royce, such trivial matters are not of concern to the discerning few.
Rolls Royce Coachbuild empowers clients to create evocative expressions of their personal taste, egging you to create a statement piece that is uniquely you. And a unique statement piece, the Boat Tail truly is.
While most modern cars are edgy and angular, there's not a crease nor crevice on the clean and smooth exterior of the Boat Tail. The once prominent Pantheon grille has been recessed into the custom front fascia with the expansive bonnet overlooking it. Headlights, too, have been custom made to blend into the new face of Boat Tail. Based on the hull design of J-Class yachts, the aptly named Boat Tail has a side profile tapers towards the rear following nautical hydrodynamic cues.
The slender and sleek Aft Deck is where the Boat Tail shows its Coachbuilt origins. Being the first example of a modern Rolls-Royce to use veneer on the exterior, the Hosting Area is a marvel of automotive engineering and is truly one-of-a-kind. The wooden surface, set with stainless steel pinstriping, is hinged in the centre like butterfly wings and open up at the push of a button.
Opening up at an aesthetically pleasing 67 degrees, the compartments holding provisions for dining on one side and another for drinks are unveiled. The integrated cocktail tables are finished in matching veneer unfurl via piano hinges.
Porcelain and cutlery on the dining side are by Christofle and are engraved with the 'Boat Tail' name. Over on the drinks side, the in-built champagne fridge and cradles have been custom-designed to fit the clients' favourite vintages of Armand de Brignac champagne. Presented to guest at precisely 15 degrees, Rolls Royce Coachbuild says this represents "a genteel and quintessentially British expression of service."
Rolls Royce has tested the Boat Tail through the rigours of daily commutes, as well as high speed runs, to ensure that all the additional accoutrements and custom creations stay intact and fully functional for the clients' pleasure.
Still staying at the tail-end of the Boat Tail, the Hosting Area is complimented with a pair of custom-designed stools, which are discretely stowed below. Made from carbon fibre, the stools were designed by Rolls-Royce and created by Italian furniture maker Promemoria.
No Rolls Royce would be completed without an in-built umbrella, but the Boat Tail takes it a step further with a custom made parasol housed beneath the rear centre line of the deck lid. The telescopic movement specific to this parasol allows effortless and elegant deployment for an authentic Rolls-Royce al fresco dining experience.
While the exterior is highly bespoke, the interior of Boat Tail is recognisably Rolls Royce, albeit with a few bespoke touches. While sticking to their elegant minimalism ethos, Rolls Royce has adorned the dashboard fascia with acres of veneer, giving a very classic and old-charm feel to the interior. Finished in blue leather with a lighter hue than the exterior, modern digital dials are now replaced with analogue ones even though the digital infotainment screen and rotary controller are still present. A 15-speaker Bespoke Audio system does the job of providing aural pleasure within the Boat Tail.
In displaying absolute attention to detail and craftsmanship of the highest order, the client has commissioned a pair of bespoke timepieces with a specific display holder on the dashboard fascia itself. Rolls Royce collaborated with Swiss watchmaker House of BOVET 1822 to create bespoke his and hers two-faced watches specifically for the Boat Tail. It can be worn on the wrist or placed on the dash as the Boat Tail's clock.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce, said, "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 realisation, Rolls-Royce Boat Tail forges a pivotal moment in our marque's history and in the contemporary luxury landscape."
The Rolls Royce Boat Tail is the purest form of client-led design, challenging the 117 year-old marque to "show me something that I have never seen before." Being part of a trio of the bespoke fleet, each with its own unique character and costing £20 million (approximately RM116 million) apiece, the Rolls Royce Boat Tail is a statement piece in the history of Roll Royce, marking Coachbuild's return to the upper echelons of bespoke luxury.
Watch the video to see how Rolls Royce Boat Tails came to be: