British luxury motoring marque, Rolls-Royce represents the ultimate in bespoke, customised luxury cars for the super-wealthy around the world. While other carmakers also offer a lush array of high-spec leather, wood, machined alloy and crystal glass trim options to choose from, Rolls-Royce has, in the past, gone a step further and offered ‘coachbuilt’ bodywork, where the buyer could specify his or her own design requirements and the company would build an exclusive, one-off car based on an individual customer’s specifications. Terribly expensive, yes, but discerning billionaires can’t just be expected to park a regular Rolls-Royce Phantom in their driveway. After all, what if the neighbour also gets one in the same shade of Maharaja Gold? Quite the indescribable horror.
In a reassuring nod to its wealthy customers’ penchant for absolute exclusivity, Rolls has now unveiled the Boat Tail, a coachbuilt model commissioned by three of the company’s buyers. Three separate iterations of the Boat Tail have been created, with shared bodywork and different exterior and interior design elements, as specified by each of the three customers. ‘Boat Tail is unprecedented [and] is a distinct counterpoint to industrialised luxury,’ says Alex Innes, who heads coachbuilt design at Rolls-Royce.
Taking design references from the world of luxury yachts, the Rolls Boat Tail is an imposing vehicle; it is almost 5.8m long (that’s more than half a metre longer than a 2021-spec Mercedes-Benz S-Class) and the gently tapering back end is reminiscent of something you’d find moored at the YCM Marina in Monaco. The roof is removable, and inside the cabin, there’s open-pore wood and stainless-steel trim, a specially commissioned Bovet 1822 timepiece and even a Montblanc pen placed in a hand-crafted case of aluminium and leather. The instrument panel dials are embellished with ‘Guilloché,’ a decorative technique used by jewellers and watchmakers. A double refrigerator in the car is stocked with Armand de Brignac champagne vintages, should the owner be in the mood for a quick pre-lunch tipple.
‘The car should mark a sense of occasion and serve that occasion like nothing else,’ said those who commissioned the Boat Tail, and we presume their requirements have been fulfilled. ‘Historically, coachbuilding had been an integral part of the Rolls-Royce story. Rolls-Royce Coachbuild is a return to the very roots of our brand. It represents an opportunity for the select few to participate in the creation of utterly unique and truly personal commissions of future historical significance,’ says Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce.
Coming back to the Boat Tail, Rolls-Royce has not released any technical specifications and will not say how much the car costs. For those whom the car is targeted, the price probably doesn’t matter. For those who can’t, it’s a rumoured $28 million or a bit more than Rs 200 crore (before import duties) in the Indian context. Also, while there is no official word on the tech specs, it’s believed that the Boat Tail is powered by Rolls’ 6.7-litre twin-turbo V12, so power output should not be an issue.
The British company, which has now formally re-established its coachbuilding department, says that it will continue to offer extensive customisation opportunities to its customers. ‘We offer our customers the opportunity to create a motor car in which every single element is hand-built to their precise individual requirements,’ they say.