May 29, 2017
Rolls-Royce unveils bespoke 'Sweptail' - is it the world's most expensive new car?
This bespoke Rolls-Royce would take a fair chunk out of the weekend's Lotto winners who pocketed $27 million. Dubbed the "Sweptail", this luxurious beast is touted to be the world's most expensive new car with an whopping estimated price tag around NZ$18 million. Unlike many other motoring creations in the marketplace, there will only ever be one Sweptail.
It has been four-years in the making for an unnamed but discerning customer who had his own idea for a two-seat Rolls-Royce.
The owner, said to be one of the carmaker's "most valued customers" (if he wasn't he certainly will be now) and a connoisseur and collector of distinctive, one-off items including super-yachts and private aircraft.
Rolls-Royce said the client was inspired by the beautiful coachbuilt Rolls-Royces of the 1920s and 1930s.
"... the desire was for a coachbuilt two seater coupe featuring a large panoramic glass roof. As a connoisseur of Rolls-Royces, he was inspired by many of his favourite cars from the marque's golden era of the early 20th Century, as well as many classic and modern yachts," the carmaker said.
According to the company, inspiration was found in the grandeur, scale, flamboyance and drama of the 1925 Phantom I Round Door built by Jonckheere; the svelte tapering glasshouse, dramatic dash to axle proportion and up-sweep of the rear departure angle of the 1934 Phantom II Streamline Saloon by Park Ward; the elegantly falling waist-rail, swept tail coachwork of the 1934 Gurney Nutting Phantom II Two Door Light Saloon, and the flowing roofline, rising departure angle, and again the swept tail coachwork of the 1934 Park Ward 20/25 Limousine Coupé were all considered by today's Rolls-Royce designers in the creation of this very distinctive motor car.
The two-seater coupe also features an uninterrupted panoramic glass roof, one of the largest and most complex ever seen on a motor car of any marque and allows the cabin to be flooded with natural light, animating a host of beautifully handcrafted materials and componentry.
"It is a Rolls-Royce designed and hand-tailored to fit a specific customer," said Giles Taylor, director of design at Rolls-Royce.
"This customer came to the House of Rolls-Royce with an idea, shared in the creative process where we advised him on his cloth, and then we tailored that cloth to him. You might say we cut the cloth for the suit of clothes that he will be judged by.
"Our job was to guide, edit and finely hone the lines that would ultimately give our client this most perfect of Rolls-Royces."
One of the design features is centred on a new treatment of the iconic grille, the largest of any modern era Rolls-Royce. The grille was milled from solid aluminium before being painstakingly polished by hand to a mirror finish.
The interior meanwhile is dubbed "regal but modern" featuring polished Macassar Ebony and open-pore Paldao woods and leathers. Being a two-seater, the area normally set aside for rear seats becomes an expanse of wood creating a mid-shelf with an illuminated glass lip, and a hat shelf.
There are also two other features secreted inside. Concealed in the outboard walls on either side behind the opening of the doors are two identical panniers which, when activated, deploy forward to reveal a bespoke made attache case which has been packaged to exactly house his personal laptop device. The cases themselves have been hand-constructed from lightweight carbon fibre, wrapped in the finest leather that matches the interior and detailed with machined aluminium and titanium clasps and locks.
These attache cases are twinned with a full set of luggage also developed by Rolls-Royce for Sweptail.
And finally, the champagne to christen such a deal. The entire centre console now houses a one-off hand-built mechanism that, at the touch of a button, will deploy a bottle of the client's favourite vintage champagne – the year of his birth – and two crystal champagne flutes. As the lid of the chiller opens, the mechanical action articulates the bottle to the perfect position for the owner to pick up.
Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos gushed over the car, saying: "Sweptail is a truly magnificent car. It exudes the romance of travel for its own sake, and immediately places 'Sweptail' in the pantheon of the world's great intercontinental tourers. Rolls-Royce's history as the world's leading coachbuilder is at the very core of its identity as the world's leading luxury brand."
The car was unveiled at the Concorso d'Eleganza at Villa d'Este, Lake Como in Italy on Sunday (NZT).
by DOUG SAIL