Following the success of the Swep Tail one-off in 2017, Rolls-Royce in collaboration with a selected group of patrons, deeply involved in all the design phases, decided to create a series of highly customized exclusive cars based on the same yacht-inspired concept, naming it “Boat Tail”.
Now the company has unveiled the first model in the Boat Tail line. It has also confirmed that the Coachbuilding division becomes a permanent fixture.
With a length of nearly 5.8 meters, this one-off takes inspiration from the 1932 Boat Tail, a car owned by the commissioning couple.
At nearly 5.8m long, the Boat Tail is characterized by a graceful and relaxed stance. The front profile is centered on a new treatment of Rolls-Royce’s iconic pantheon grille and lights. The grille becomes an integral part of the front end, not an applique: a progressive treatment that softens Rolls-Royce’s familiar formality.
A strong horizontal graphic with deep-set daytime running lights forms Boat Tail’s intense brow line and frames classical round headlamps.
In profile, the wrap-around windscreen recalls the visor on motor launches, while the gentle rearward lean of the A-pillar, the large, crisp volumes at the front and the tapered rear create a gesture that recalls a motor launch rising out of water under power.
A progressive negative sculpture in the lower bodyside creates a lithe impression, while making an historical reference to the running boards of prominent heritage Rolls-Royce designs.
Viewed from the rear, the body resolves in a gentle sharpening of the form. As with the front, a horizontal emphasis is established at the rear with wide, deep-set lamps – a break from the expected vertical Rolls-Royce lamp design.
At the rear the nautical references become more apparent. The aft deck, a modern interpretation of the wooden rear decks of historical Boat Tails, incorporates large swathes of wood. Caleidolegno veneer – a grey and black material typically housed in the interior, has been specially adapted to be used on the exterior.
The open pore material features a linear wood grain which is visually elongated by brushed stainless steel pinstripe inlays, serving as an optical nod to the typical wooden construction of yachts – both old and new.
The company’s wood specialists have manipulated and book-matched the grain so as to contract with the geometry of the car. The veneer treatment extends to the lower transom area resolving the taper and overall volume astern. This bold truncation is a subtle reference to the hull lines of classic Boat Tail bodies.
From the rear, one perceives a strong graphical composition marked by further horizontal emphasis, accentuating Boat Tail’s great width. Deep-set lamps establish a dramatically low reference point, evoking the dipped stern and proud bow of a motor launch under power and on plane.
An explicit architectural influence is discovered in Boat Tail’s unconventional fixed-canopy roof. Adding to the sculptural form, the sweeping roofline concludes in delicate structural elements that touch down on the rear, redolent of flying buttresses. A temporary tonneau is stowed for static transitory shelter.
The exterior of Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is swathed in a rich and complex tone of the client’s favourite colour – blue. The hue, with an overt nautical connotation, is subtle when in shadows but in sunlight, embedded metallic and crystal flakes bring a vibrant and energetic aura to the finish.
To ensure the smoothest possible application when rendering the exterior, a finger was run over the definitive body line before the paint had fully dried to soften its edges. The wheels are fnished in bright blue, highly polished and clear coated to add to Boat Tail’s celebratory character.
A hand-painted, gradated bonnet, a first for Rolls-Royce, rises from a comparatively subdued deeper blue which cascades onto the grille, providing a progressive but informal aesthetic and a solidity of overall volume when viewed from the front.
The interior leather reflects the bonnet’s colour tone transition with the front seats swathed in the darker blue hue, recognising Boat Tail’s driver focused intent, while the rear seats are finished in the lighter tone. A soft metallic sheen is applied to the leather to accentuate its pairing with the painted exterior while detailed stitching and piping is applied in a more intense blue inspired by the hands of the car’s timepieces. A brilliant blue is also found woven at a 55 degree angle into the technical fibre elements to be seen on the lower bodywork, precisely orientated to emulate the spill of a water’s wake.
The fascia is distilled in its appearance, purposefully reduced to provide a modern aesthetic. This minimalist canvas accentuates the jewel like features of the completely unique BOVET 1822 timepieces specifically commissioned by the client for Boat Tail.
Collecting pens is another of the clients’ great passions. An exclusive Montblanc pen will reside in a discretely placed, hand-crafted, case of aluminium and leather, in Boat Tail’s glove box.
The instrument panel dials are adorned with a decorative technique named Guilloché, more commonly perfected in the workshops of fine jewellers and watchmakers. An elegant, thin rimmed two-tone steering wheel then bears the colours of the commission.
The tactility of the open pore Caleidolegno is brought into the cabin. Anthracite in colour, the veneer brings modern strength and depth to offset the softness of the light blue and metallic sheen.
The wood is applied to the lower cabin and floor area, reminiscent of wooden hull forms, again, at 55 degrees, perfectly book matched on centre line providing a uniform appearance when viewed from either side.
The Hosting Suite
At the press of a button, the deck opens in a sweeping butterfly gesture, to reveal an intricate and generous hosting suite. Its complex movement was inspired by cantilever concepts explored by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava.
The hosting suite creates a celebratory focal point for a shared occasion and affords ample opportunity to reveal the individuality of the clients’ tastes and desires.
Hinged towards the centre line, the synchronised balletic opening movement reveals a treasure chest of moving parts that offer themselves to the host at a precise angle of 15 degrees.
The chest is appointed with the perfect accoutrements for a true Rolls-Royce al fresco dining experience; one side dedicated to aperitifs, the other, cuisine, complete with cutlery engraved with the name ‘Boat Tail’, made by Christofle in Paris.
A double refrigerator has been developed to house the clients’ favourite vintages of Armand de Brignac champagne. Elegant cradles were created to stow the specific bottle size within the refrigerator, the surrounds are highly polished and colour matched to the bottle.
To fulfil the clients’ extraordinary ambitions, significant engineering challenges were overcome in the development of Rolls-Royce Boat Tail. Indeed, 1813 completely new parts were created specifically for the cars. Time, patience, dedication and passion were the project’s hallmarks. To complete the preliminary engineering phase, prior to the commencement of production, a total of over 20 collective years were expended.
While designs were being finalised with the clients, the marque’s body-in-white, with its scalable aluminium spaceframe architecture, was completely reconfigured to support Boat Tail’s generous proportions, a process that took eight months in itself. As ever, the 15-speaker Bespoke Rolls-Royce Audio System was intended from the motor car’s inception, but the spaceframe architecture was exploited differently. Rolls-Royce’s existing product portfolio use a specially designed sill section of the architecture as the resonance chambers for the sound system’s bass speakers. In Boat Tail, the entire floor structure is utilised, creating an exceptional audio experience for the client.
To support the complex requirements of the hosting suite to the rear of Boat Tail, a unique electronic treatment was required. Five electronic control units (ECUs) were created for the rear of the car alone – a process that required a completely redesigned, dedicated wiring harness, which was the product of nine months of intensive research and development. Only then was it possible for the aft deck lids to open to an appropriate 67-degree angle, incorporate a highly secure locking mechanism and integrate a total climate control system to the rear hosting suite to preserve any cuisine stowed on board.
Indeed, the inside temperature of the hosting suite was a specific consideration. Boat Tail was created in anticipation of fair weather, so measures needed to be taken to ensure that heat absorption did not adversely affect the contents of the suite, which could include food, liquids and of course champagne. To that end, two fans are mounted in the lower section of the hosting suite to dissipate heat. To confirm this and to ensure that Boat Tail’s hosting suite will acquit itself in all climates, it has been rigorously and successfully tested to 80 degrees Celsius and -20 degrees Celsius.
As Boat Tail is a fully homologated, road-legal motor car that was created to be driven, it was only fully released by the marque once it had undergone the same rigorous dynamic testing as all other Rolls-Royces, including high speed analysis to ensure the contents of the rear hosting suite are sufficiently fastened and therefore silent under power. Indeed, each client has stipulated that they wish to drive their Boat Tail immediately upon receipt.
TIMELESS PASSION – A COLLABORATION WITH BOVET 1822
In a move that further demonstrates the clients’ visionary approach to contemporary patronage, two great luxury Houses with a common pursuit of perfection have been brought together at the clients’ behest. World-class craftspeople from the House of BOVET 1822, which was founded on the philosophy of ingenuity and engineering, were called upon to work hand-in-hand with Rolls-Royce’s own masters in their field.
The mechanically minded clients sought to break new ground in horology. As esteemed and passionate collectors of both the Swiss-based House of BOVET and Rolls-Royce, their vision was to create exquisite, ground-breaking timepieces for their Boat Tail. In an act of tireless endeavour and genuine collaboration, the Houses have come together to re-imagine Rolls-Royce’s iconic centrepiece, the dashboard clock.
The result is an accomplishment never before realised in either industry. Two fine reversable timepieces, one for the lady and one for the gentleman, have been designed to be worn on the wrist, or, placed front and centre within Boat Tail’s fascia as the motor car’s clock.
The two-sided timepieces required Rolls-Royce and BOVET 1822 to work side by side over the course of three years to develop a ground-up remastering of the Amadeo convertible system, the most complex undertaken to date. The result is a true reflection of BOVET’s mastery, allowing for the bespoke tourbillon timepieces’ inclusion in the motor car.
Pascal Raffy, owner, BOVET 1822, commented, “I am so proud of the BOVET 1822 team, who worked in tandem with the elite design team at Rolls-Royce to produce something spectacular. These two pieces, and the mounting system, are completely unique and unlike anything we have ever done before.”
The story behind the creation of these remarkable works of art, and a detailed exploration of their mechanisms, together with information on the precious materials, unique micro-sculptures and the vast complexity of the watch carrier will be shared via a press release on 8 June, 2021 at 1pm BST.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, concluded, “Boat Tail is the culmination of collaboration, ambition, endeavour, and time. It was born from a desire to celebrate success and create a lasting legacy. In its remarkable realisation, Rolls-Royce Boat Tail forges a pivotal moment in our marque’s history and in the contemporary luxury landscape.”
“Today marks a seminal moment for the House of Rolls-Royce. We are proud to unveil Rolls-Royce Boat Tail to the world, and with it, the confirmation of coachbuilding as a permanent fixture within our future portfolio.
“Historically, coachbuilding had been an integral part of the Rolls-Royce story. In the contemporary Rolls-Royce narrative, it has informed our guiding philosophy of Bespoke. But it is so much more. 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.
“Rolls-Royce has carefully listened to its closest clients, each of whom has expressed a desire to deepen their relationship with the brand by creating ambitious, personal statements of true luxury. Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is not a concept created to be retrospectively sold.
“Quite the contrary. Rolls-Royce believes in complete authenticity and Boat Tail is the culmination of a four-year collaboration with three of our most special clients.
“Rolls-Royce Coachbuild clients are intimately and personally involved at each step of the creative and engineering process. We work in harmony with the client to gain complete fluency in the nuances of their character and personality. We carefully translate these qualities into the elements with which they wish to imbue their commission.
“Only the House of Rolls-Royce can offer its Coachbuild clients the inimitable opportunity to commission a product of future historical significance, that is as fundamentally unique as they are – and then participate in every detail of its creation.
“This is authentic luxury. This is contemporary patronage in its truest form. This is Rolls-Royce Coachbuild.”
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce
“Rolls-Royce Boat Tail challenges the notion of what a motor car is and creates a new definition of what a motor car means. Boat Tail exists far beyond a mere means of transport. It is not just the method to reach a destination, but the destination itself. It is an ambition realised with a remarkable cohort of women and men who empowered the marque to create a concept of extraordinary scope.
“Coachbuild provides freedom to move beyond the usual constraints. Normally, there is a natural ceiling to Rolls-Royce Bespoke by way of the canvas. At Rolls-Royce Coachbuild we break through that ceiling, embracing the freedom of expression afforded by coachbuilding to shape a concept directly with our commissioning patrons.
“With Boat Tail we have achieved this. We have created a trio of exceptional cars which, although they share a common body style, are each imbued with the unique, highly personal imprint of the commissioning patron, thereby telling differing stories. Boat Tail is unprecedented. Boat Tail is a distinct counterpoint to industrialised luxury.”
Alex Innes, Head of Rolls-Royce Coachbuild Design, Rolls-Royce