Rolls-Royce used to be the king of coachbuilding, particularly when horse-drawn carriages outnumbered motor cars in the UK. But for such an extensive history of hand-built vehicles, we haven't seen a one-off from the brand since the stunning Sweptail in 2017, which cost a cool £10 million.
Today the company is announcing a return to form with the aptly named Rolls-Royce Coachbuilding department, whose first project is the beautiful Boat Tail you see here.
Commissioned by an exceptionally wealthy client, the Rolls-Royce Boat Tail – as its name suggests – draws its inspiration from the sea. It's essentially a racing yacht on wheels, extending out to 19 feet long (5.8 metres), with a few overtly nautical touches like a wraparound windscreen and a beautiful two-tone blue exterior. Designers hand-painted the dark blue hue on the bonnet, which extends to the bumper, separated only by a wood veneer on the "aft deck," while the rest of the body wears a lighter baby blue. Even the wheels wear a two-tone combo of dark and light blue.
The roof is a fully removable cloth canopy that connects to the wooden rear deck. It doesn’t fold mechanically – the owner's assistant has to detach it by hand – but there is a temporary tonneau top stored in the boot for any unexpected inclement weather while out on the road.
Two-tone blue leather that matches the exterior covers the seats and steering wheel, with a lacquered wood veneer on the dash mimicking the rear deck. The instrument panel wears a unique braided texture known as Guilloche, which is common in the construction of fine jewellery and watches, and a brilliant blue finish weaves into the technical fibre trim on the dash.
Accessories aplenty adorn the cabin as well. The "hosting suite" under the rear deck hides a double champagne fridge designed specifically for the client's preferred vintages. Silver cutlery with engraved "Boat Tail" emblems are housed on the opposite side, along with matching porcelain plates with platinum rims. For additional fun in the sun, a parasol and two cloth stools pop out of the rear deck, as do two cocktail tables on either side.
Rolls-Royce doesn't list specifics on the powertrain, but it's safe to assume that the brand's famous 6.7-litre V12 lives under the bonnet. That engine produces 563 bhp (420 kilowatts) in the Cullinan and Phantom and up to 600 bhp (447 kW) in the Black Badge models.
All told, the project took four years to develop, which means the company started building the Boat Tail shortly after debuting the Sweptail in 2017. "It was born from a desire to celebrate success and create a lasting legacy," says CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos. "In its remarkable realisation, Rolls-Royce Boat Tail forges a pivotal moment in our marque's history and in the contemporary luxury landscape."