You’ve probably already seen the Rolls-Royce Vision NEXT 100 concept car, a car that looks like a 1930’s designer’s vision of the future. It’s easily one of the most fascinating and polarizing concept cars in recent memory, regardless of how people feel about it. However, what you most likely haven’t seen is just how cars like the Rolls-Royce Vision NEXT 100 are made, as most mortals haven’t. Well, we recently spent a day in Goodwood to give you fellow readers a look inside one of the most incredible factories in the world.
The seven acre factory in Goodwood almost acts as a massive showroom for the Rolls-Royce brand. Built down low into the ground and with an entirely grass-covered roof, the Goodwood factory peacefully blends into the beautiful countryside. Tall glass surround the entire building and, along with skylights, fills the entire factory with natural light, which makes for a serene working environment. It’s impressive, but subtle. Just like the cars made inside of it.
Inside the factory, everything is white, gray and clean. Perfectly clean. It almost looks as if they perform surgery there instead of build cars. There isn’t a drop of oil anywhere on the floor. It’s fitting how clean and sterile the environment is because what the Rolls Royce engineers and craftsmen do is as close to precision as surgery.
Each Rolls-Royce is built with incredible precision and attention to detail. The amount of work, much of it done by hand, that goes into building each Rolls-Royce is simply astonishing. There are eight areas of production, as the Goodwood plant handles both manufacturing and design, with two working shifts.
The process in which a Rolls-Royce is built is long and extremely thorough. It isn’t so much putting engines and transmissions is cars that takes time, that’s the easy stuff. It’s hand crafting parts of the interior, inspecting every piece of leather to make sure there are absolutely no blemishes, hand painting most of the car and assembling all of the minute details, such as the ‘starlight’ headliner. Each car takes weeks at least to create. The fastest car that Rolls can make is the Ghost, which takes a minimum of 30 days and 60 hands to make. The Phantom takes a minimum of 45 days. Some Rolls-Royces can even take up to a year.
Most of what takes so long is the intense customization involved with building a Rolls-Royce. It’s pretty well known in the car world just how extensive Rolls Royce’s customization program is. However, until you see what actually goes on and how much these workers do, it’s almost impossible to actually understand.
Some of the simple painting of the car is done by machine, but a lot of it is hand sprayed. Rolls-Royce has over 14,000 paint colors to choose from but will make literally anything a customer wants. Rolls-Royce can and even will match the color of a customers lipstick or anything of the like. Then all of the tiny details, such as the coach line and any other striping, is done by hand by one man. And this one man can paint anything on the car, from floral designs to initials. He has a steady enough hand that he simply doesn’t make mistakes. In fact, he can’t make a mistake, because Rolls-Royce uses special paint that immediately bonds with the car, so any mistake could ruin the paint job of a $500,000 car.
Inside the car, the leather is had from Scandinavian bulls only, as bulls don’t get pregnant so their skin doesn’t get stretch marks and the Scandinavian climate doesn’t promote a lot of bugs that bite the bulls skin. Rolls-Royce also only gets leather from bulls that have already been killed for food and do not specially kill any animals for leather. That probably won’t make any vegans feel better, though. The leather can also be dyed in a simply ridiculous variety of colors, however the seat upholstery can only be done in leather, as nothing else holds together as well. But, for trim, door panels or anything else that can come in leather, a wide variety of materials can be had, such as alligator or ostrich leather.
For the interior wood, the veneers are sourced from all over the world and many different woods are available. Customers can even source their own wood, for instance one customer wanted wood from a tree that fell in his yard. Rolls-Royce made that happen. But Rolls can also use other materials than wood and can use anything really. If a customer dreams it, and can afford it, a customer gets it. Rolls-Royce can even embroider anything a customer wants into the seats, door panels or pretty much anywhere else.
The headliner is also impressive. The starlight headliner is home to hundreds of LEDs that give the driver an impression of a starry sky. Each starlight headliner is assembled by hand and is a meticulous process that takes dozens of man hours to finish. Customers can also customize the lights so as to resemble certain constellations in the sky. It takes each associate three months training to be able to work on the starlight headliner. It’s so impressive, 50 percent of all Rolls customers get it.
Each Rolls-Royce is meticulously assembled and crafted by some of the finest men and women in the industry. Buying a Rolls-Royce is an experience in itself and a privilege for anyone who has the fortune of doing so. While many cars on today’s market are supremely luxurious, such as the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes-Benz S Class, Mercedes-Maybach and Bentley Mulsanne, Rolls-Royce creates and sells luxury like no one else.
The Goodwood Rolls Royce place is among the most impressive manufacturing plants in the world, if not the most impressive, and in it the most impressive luxury cars in the world are made.