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The stunning interior of the Moore Building in Miami’s Design District was the perfect setting for some of our Art Deco cars showcased during the opening of the recent Art Basel series of events in the US city. The exhibitions featured some 2,000 artists from leading galleries across the world, highlighting established talent with cutting-edge newcomers from across the visual and performance arts.
Three Rolls-Royce motor cars took centre stage at the Closing Ceremony on Sunday night. Sporting newly-designed badges for the first time in the company’s 108 year history, they featured perhaps the most collectable (and unobtainable) Rolls-Royce Bespoke items ever produced.
The Phantom Series II Drophead Coupés conveyed three coveted British artistes during the event, revealing each as the convertible roof gracefully descended.
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Designed to bring out the discreet power of the Phantom, the exterior of the 101EX featured a streamlined, reclined grille, flowing back into the aluminium bonnet and windscreen surround. The body was made of a unique carbon-fibre composite over the production Rolls-Royce aluminium frame, while the roofline is lowered in comparison to the original Phantom. The interior was designed to protect and cosset, and the high waistline emphasises the cocoon-like nature of the cabin. It features an intimate curved sofa in the rear, and introduced the Starlight headliner fibre optics, which are controlled by a dimmer. Meanwhile, the machined aluminium of the interior mirrors the solid hewn pieces used in the door handles and the oval exhaust pipes.
Eventually evolving into the Phantom Coupé, the 101EX was unveiled at the 2006 Geneva Motor Show. Designed as an uncompromising exploration of the possibilities for a modern grand tourer, the vehicle took the V12 from the existing Phantom. However, along with the sleeker and more rakish body, the 101EX emphasised the subtle power in the Phantom, placing a new focus on the driver. In addition to providing the basis for the Phantom Coupé, the 101EX directly inspired the Phantom Tungsten bespoke car, which featured the same brooding colour scheme with brushed aluminium bonnet.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Head of Exterior Design Giles Taylor shares his insight on how the design team tackled the Phantom Series II. The approach involved bringing a refreshed sense of purpose to the existing Phantom using a ‘sympathetic, contemporary, focused overlay in specific areas of the car’, while avoiding tampering with the timeless elegance and permanence of the original design.
Sir Henry Royce made these sketches – his last – two days before he died on 22 April, 1933, underlining his passion for perfecting his designs until the end. They are mounted on Sir Henry’s drawing board, in the Sir Henry Royce Memorial building, the home of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club.
Created in 2007 in the wake of praise for the 101EX experimental car – which evolved into the Phantom Coupé – the Phantom Tungsten took the same brooding colour scheme, designed in this case to accentuate the discreet power of the saloon. Finished in Darkest Tungsten, the high-tech ‘Xirallic’ paint features particles which sparkle in the sunlight, while contrast is provided by the brushed aluminium bonnet. In addition, the seven-spoke wheels are also taken from the 101EX, while the chrome-plated exhaust pipes also emphasis the power of the Phantom. The interior too takes cues from its experimental forbear, including the steering wheel which features metal spokes, and the fibre-optic Starlight headliner, which again first appeared on the 101EX.
The last of the Phantom Series I models (2003-2012) will come off the production lines at Goodwood this month. The final 25 cars feature a commemorative sterling silver plaque, signed by Rolls-Royce Chief Designer Ian Cameron, who was pivotal in the creation and evolution of the Phantom. The plaque bears several hallmarks which attest to its quality. These include the Rolls-Royce hallmark, the lion face issued by the London Assay Office, and the ‘925’ and lion body hallmarks – both of which guarantee the minimum 92.5% purity required for sterling silver. The final two refer to the year; ‘n’ is the date mark for 2012, while the crowned head is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee commemorative mark.
This two-tone bespoke Ghost is finished in Diamond Black with an Anthracite upper. Inside, the car features Seashell leather, with contrasting Black leather and stitching, along with a Black Stained Ash veneer with Silver pinstripe inlays.
Take a look round the workshop at the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club, where owners can learn how to keep their older models on the road with monthly maintenance seminars. Cars on display include a white 1977 Silver Shadow II, and a 20HP chassis, whose sectioned Thrupp and Maberly coachwork allows you to see through to the ash frame.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has been at Auto China 2012 over the last week. Our stand has seen the debuts of the Phantom Extended Wheelbase and Ghost Six Senses concept, while a beautiful 1927 Phantom I vied with them for attention as the crowds enjoyed the cars in Beijing.