Rolls-Royce has given us all a glimpse into the world of the rich and famous by revealing a host of ultra-exclusive cars it built for well-heeled buyers in 2021.
The quintessential British luxury marque unveiled five creations for clients from last year, with each boasting personalised features specifically requested by opulent owners and costing well over seven figures.
One of them is the world’s most expensive new car, the stunning Boat Tail, which cost a massive £20million. Three will be produced in total, and Rolls-Royce has now confirmed the second edition will be revealed at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este event on the banks of Lake Como in Italy in May.
Rolls-Royces with an extra-special touch: The iconic British marque has revealed some of its exclusive and bespoke models produced for opulent customers in the previous 12 months
Earlier this week, the British car brand confirmed it sold a record 5,586 motor vehicles in 2021, which is the most annually in its 117-year history.
Among these were a number of ‘whimsical and wonderful client commissions’ created using ‘undeniable advancements of bespoke manufacturing’, it says.
CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, added: ‘Rolls-Royce has once again demonstrated an innate understanding of craftsmanship, honing progressive and proprietary techniques amongst our highly skilled and talented team.
‘Artisans continue to further the realm of Bespoke feasibility; precious and rare materials are used with ingenuity to create world-class examples of excellence in their field.’
These are the five unique automotive creations for those with a money-no-object approach to purchasing customised cars.
1. Boat Tail – the world’s most expensive car
In May 2021, Rolls-Royce wowed the public with the unveiling of the ‘Coachbuild’ Boat Tail, one of three unique vehicles produced for a celebrity couple, reported – though never confirmed – to be Jay-Z and Beyonce.
A second example will make its global public debut at Villa d’Este this coming May and will likely look quite different to this ocean-inspired model.
Costing a massive £20million and featuring an umbrella that extends out of the back above a hosting suite, dining area and cocktail tables, it was heralded as the world’s most expensive new car.
It took Rolls-Royce exclusivity to an entirely new level: a purpose-built car with bespoke features and luxuries throughout.
A total of 1,813 exclusive new parts were created for the project which took four years, with the total amount of pre-production planning hours by engineers taking the equivalent of 20 years.
Measuring just under 5.8 meters long, the four-seater two-door Rolls-Royce Boat Tail was the first car built by Rolls-Royce’s Coachbuild department at the company’s boutique headquarters in Goodwood, Sussex.
Not just the most expensive new car ever, the Boat Tail is also the first to have its own extending umbrella and rotating cocktail tables
Measuring just under 5.8 meters long, the four-seater two-door Boat Tail is the first to be built by Rolls-Royce’s Coachbuild department at the company’s boutique headquarters in Goodwood, Sussex
Torsten Müller-Ötvös (pictured), Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO, at the unveiling of the incredibly bespoke Boat Tail in May 2021
The grand cruiser is inspired by the elegant J-Class yachts of the early 20th Century and the original ‘Boat Tail’ Rolls-Royces of 1920s and ’30s.
Under the bonnet of the Boat Tail is Rolls-Royce’s massive 6.7-litre V12 twin turbo-charged petrol engine developing around 570 horsepower and linked to an eight-speed automatic.
The company will say only that performance is ‘adequate’. But based on the claims for the current Phantom, expect 0-to-62mph acceleration of around five seconds with top speed governed at 155mph, but gas-guzzling fuel economy of around just 20mpg and CO2 emissions in excess of 300g/km.
Unlike most convertibles with a roof that stows away at the touch of a button, the Boat Tail has an ‘unconventional’ single-piece carbon-fibre and canvas removable fixed-canopy roof
The £20m Boat Tail convertible grand tourer is the first of an exclusive trio of highly personalised nautically-based limousines – the second will be showcased this coming May
The rear deck opens like a pair of butterfly wings, providing under-cover storage for luxurious items – and two rotating cocktail tables that extend from the back of the vehicle
Boat Tail at a glimpse
Production volume: 3
Built: Goodwood, Sussex, by Coachbuild’ department
Seats: 4 Doors: 2
Engine: 6.75 litre twin-turbo V12
Gears: 8-speed automatic
Top speed: Governed to 155mph
0 to 62mph: Approx 5 seconds
Fuel-economy: Circa 20mpg
CO2 emissions: More than 300g/km
The most eye-catching features centre around the Boat Tail’s ‘aft deck’ – a modern interpretation of a yacht’s wooden rear deck in a special grey and black Caleidolegno wood veneer that is ‘visually elongated’ using brushed stainless steel pinstripe inlays.
At the press of a button this rear deck opens up like sweeping ‘butterfly wings’ to reveal an intricate ‘hosting suite’ for alfresco entertaining and displaying ‘a treasure chest of moving parts’.
To the left is a double refrigerator with special cradles to securely stow two bottles of champagne at a precise temperature.
The section also provides space for four glasses, napkins and other accoutrements.
The right side is focussed on fine dining with a bespoke alfresco picnic and cuisine section with temperature controlled food warmers and cutlery made by Christofle of Paris.
Two pop-out cocktail tables open out – one at each side – and rotate elegantly ‘to mimic the offering of an attendant’ for aperitifs and dining.
The rear aft deck houses a number of stunning features. To the left is a double refrigerator with special cradles to securely stow two bottles of champagne at a precise temperature
The right side is reserved for fine dining pieces with a bespoke alfresco picnic and cuisine section with temperature controlled food warmers and cutlery made by Christofle of Paris
Most dramatic of all is the sun shade parasol on an extending telescopic arm. It emerges, on demand, from the rear centre line beneath the opening rear deck wings ‘in anticipation of fine weather’
Two matching slim-line interlocking stools, designed by Rolls-Royce and created by Italian furniture maker Promemoria, use the same carbon-fibre and blue leather from the car and are stowed inside.
Most dramatic of all is the sun shade parasol on an extending telescopic arm. It emerges, on demand, from the rear centre line beneath the opening rear deck wings ‘in anticipation of fine weather’. The interior is also cooled to maintain constant temperatures regardless of weather.
Rolls-Royce even modified the cabin so that a pair of personalised ‘his and hers’ watches could be inserted into the dashboard to become the motor’s clock.
2. Wraith Kryptos – the car with a code to crack to win a prize
The Wraith Kryptos is a collection of cars produced from 2020 to 2021 with a hidden code that – if cracked – will lead its fortunate few customers to a prize
Attempts to resolve the puzzle have originated from around the world but Rolls-Royce says not one person has cracked it yet
If you have £258,000 to spend on a two-dour luxury coupe, then look no further than the Wraith and its 6.6-litre V12 engine that produces 624bhp, can accelerate from rest to 62mph in 4.4 seconds and has a limited top speed of 155mph.
But what if you want one that’s keeping a secret from you, its extremely rich keeper?
Last year saw the British boutique car maker deliver the final in a series of Wraith ‘Kryptos Collection’ cars, which is described as its ‘most mysterious series ever’.
The collection – launched in 2020 – conceals hidden cyphers, embedded in the design of the car.
These would be impossible to spot with an unknowing eye, but for Rolls-Royce clients with a curious mind there lies a code that must be solved and with it, a one-of-a-kind prize can be claimed.
Attempts to resolve the puzzle have originated from around the world with deeply complex theories and tomes of analysis sent to the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood for consideration. Yet the code has still not been cracked.
3. Cullinan 50th – the car built for a country
This one-of-a-kind Cullinan SUV was produced to celebrate the United Arab Emirates’ historic Golden Jubilee that was celebrated last year
The exterior, finished in Crystal over Arctic White, was adorned with a hand-painted double coachline – the upper line in Hotspur Red, the lower Fame Green – and a special 50th motif
The tailored interior mirrors the exterior in the same tones, including the UAE’s emblem embroidered on each headrest
When Rolls-Royce announced the Cullinan, a few jaws hit the ground. An SUV with a starting price of £264,000 that looks the size of a tank and weighs over 2.5 tonnes cannot be sniffed at. But this behemoth of a luxury motor is the ideal large canvas for a one-off design.
This spectacular, one-of-a-kind, example was created for a country, marking the United Arab Emirates’ historic Golden Jubilee in 2021.
The exterior, finished in Crystal over Arctic White, is adorned with a hand-painted double coachline – the upper line in Hotspur Red, the lower Fame Green.
The effect was completed with a coachline motif in the colours of the national flag with a matching pinstripe for the wheel-centres.
The tailored interior mirrors the exterior in the same tones, including the UAE’s emblem embroidered on each headrest.
Though the real showstopper pieces are the gold 50th anniversary motif inlaid in the fascia, a rear ‘waterfall’ and picnic tabletops. The interior cabin also features a spectacular Starlight Headliner with a unique Shooting Star configuration in a green-coloured hue.
4. Wraith in Pebble Paradiso – the ‘take your feet off the dashboard’ Rolls-Royce
This colour, ordered by a Shanghai-based client, is called Pebble Paradiso blue and is exclusive to the customer
The standout feature is the baby girl’s footprints on the dashboard – a tribute to the client’s long sought-after bundle of joy
A Shanghai based client commissioned this unique Wraith in a colour named Pebble Paradiso blue – to create the customer’s very own ‘Shanghai seaside inspired paradise’.
A hand-painted coachline in a Seashell hue features a delicate orchid motif, symbolising her passion for elegance.
But it’s on the inside that this car really stands out: it features artwork of a baby girl’s footprints on the Piano White dashboard, a tribute to the client’s long sought-after bundle of joy.
The two-tone interior features Charles Blue and Seashell in natural grain leather. A Bespoke Starlight Headliner continues the celebration with a personalised constellation paying tribute to her daughter.
Coastal hues, the infinite love of a child and the elegance and grace of orchids signify the client’s overarching way of life – her Wraith is her favourite place to escape to.
5. Phantom Koa – the Rolls-Royce with a ‘one in a million’ interior
This might look like any ‘ordinary’ Rolls-Royce Phantom on the face of things, but inside it contains a unique feature…
Phantom Koa is the first Rolls-Royce Phantom to incorporate Koa wood, a rare species of tree that grows only on Hawaiian soil
The unique Koa tree grows only in Hawaii and is protected in State and National parks. It can only be harvested from private agricultural land which makes it truly rare for it to feature in a motor car
Rolls-Royce’s range-topping Phantom limousine will set owners back a pretty penny. A massive £363,000, in fact. But that price will easily rise into the millions when you ask for it to be kitted with a cabin material that’s almost impossible for anyone to get their hands on.
Phantom Koa is the first Rolls-Royce to incorporate Koa wood – a rare species of tree that grows only on Hawaiian soil. Last year, authorities in the country arrested five men for allegedly cutting down and taking koa trees in state parks and forest areas without state permits – and face jail time for their transgression!
The inspiration to use the protected wood in a Rolls-Royce came from car enthusiast Jack Boyd Smith Jr and his wife Laura, who have developed a fascination for Koa having spent significant amounts of time in Maui – as you do, if you’re a holidaying millionaire.
The unique Koa tree grows only in Hawaii and is protected in State and National parks. And it can only be harvested from private agricultural land. That means to find a source to use as a material for a car is ‘truly rare’.
A Rolls-Royce ‘Wood Specialist’ [yes, Rolls-Royce has its own in-house timber expert division] described the find as a ‘one in a million chance’.
After three years of collaboration with the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective, Mr Smith’s Bespoke commission now features in his personal collection of more than 60 unique motor cars in the JBS Collection Museum.
Some links in this article may be affiliate links. If you click on them we may earn a small commission. That helps us fund This Is Money, and keep it free to use. We do not write articles to promote products. We do not allow any commercial relationship to affect our editorial independence.