Early in the 20th century, Rolls-Royce would create entirely bespoke vehicles, based on its customers desires, not based at all on existing vehicles. In more recent years, truly bespoke vehicles have become less and less possible, due to the shared architectures of vehicles, their unibody constructions, and the streamlined nature of assembly lines. Even the recent Rolls-Royce Sweptail from a few years ago, as incredible as it was, was based on a last-gen Phantom Drophead Coupe and shared its chassis with a BMW 7 Series. Now, the British brand has taken coachbuilder back to its roots a bit, with the new Rolls-Royce Boat Tail.
After the Sweptail was revealed, Rolls-Royce clients began to inquire about more bespoke, limited-edition models. In response, Rolls has created a new subdivision of the brand — Coachbuild. Through this Coachbuild division of Rolls-Royce, customers are offered the ability to commission their own extremely unique, entirely bespoke vehicles. For the Boat Tail, three customers were involved in the commission over four years.
The idea was that they’d all give their input, a single bespoke body would be made and then all three clients would get a highly customized version, with their own unique interiors and details. Only those three will be made, of course. Because all three clients shared a love for J Class yachts (I mean, who doesn’t?), they were used as inspiration for this new Rolls-Royce Boat Tail.
At the moment, only one of the vehicles is finished and Rolls is mum on the details of the other two. However, they should all share the same basic mechanical bits.
The new Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is built on the same Architecture of Luxury (AoL) chassis as the new Phantom, Cullinan, and Ghost, differentiating it from the BMW-based Sweptail. Its body is completely unique to any other Rolls, proving it to truly be a bespoke model. It’s a big car, too, at 5.8 meters long, and it will share Rolls-Royce’s 6.75 liter twin-turbo V12. Though, no other mechanical specs were provided.
Its design is truly unique, though. The classic Pantheon Grille is now more integrated into the front end, rather than being the centerpiece of it. Its headlights are slimmer and smaller, giving it a more subtle look than any other current Rolls.
In profile, the Boat Tail is nothing like any other existing Rolls-Royce product. For starters, it’s a convertible, which is a first for the new AoL chassis, since the current Dawn is still based on the old BMW 7 Series chassis. It also gets a wraparound windshield, which is supposed to evoke the visor on motor launches. The smooth body tapers off toward the rear, giving off — you guessed it — boating vibes.
With the roof down, it’s smooth and sleek. If you want some shade, though, a fixed canopy can also be installed.
On the “aft deck” of the Boat Tail is finished with a stunning Caleidolegno veneer, inlayed with vertical strips of stainless steel. The deck also opens up, to reveal storage for champagne, glassware, and even a popup umbrella, for an impromptu picnic. Incorporated into this hosting suite is a refrigerator, which can be set to specific temperatures for specific champagnes. Small cocktail tables also open up on either side and rotate to — an I’m not making this up — “mimic the offering of an attendant.”
Additionally, two stools are stowed underneath the hosting suite, which are made from carbon fiber and the same leather as the interior of the car. So they’re both light and comfortable.
This specific Boat Tail is painted in a light but deep blue, with metallic and crystal flake. To soften the look of the body lines, a finger was run across them before the paint was fully dried. The wheels also get accented in the same blue.
Inside, more of the exterior’s blue covers the seats and the dash, with the same wood as the aft deck being used for the trim. Rather than use the digital gauges of the new Phantom or Ghost, this Rolls-Royce Boat Tail gets analog gauges to match the custom watches that come with the car. Oh, I didn’t mention it comes with two custom Bovet 1822 watches, which can actually have their bands removed so the watches can be placed in the dashboard to act as the car’s clocks.
Without question, the Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is the most highly bespoke Roller in decades. Thank to the new all-aluminum, scalable architecture, Rolls was able to create a truly unique looking body, unlike any other existing Rolls-Royce. There are also two more Boat Tails to come, so stay tuned to see more Rolls-Royce Coachbuild goodness.
[Images: Adrian Gaut for WSJ. Magazine]