Posts tagged with "2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith"

Rolls-Royce Landspeed Collection image for use by 360 Magazine

ROLLS-ROYCE LANDSPEED COLLECTION

RECALLING A FORGOTTEN HERO

“It’s human nature to want to go further, do more, be greater than ourselves. The innate desire to extend horizons and define new limits is an instinct we’ve always understood at Rolls-Royce; and we have acted upon it once again with our new Landspeed Collection.

“The Collection, which includes both Wraith and Dawn Black Badge, celebrates someone with exactly that dauntless, fearless, pioneering spirit. His name was Captain George Eyston, a Cambridge University graduate, racing driver, gifted inventor and engineering genius. In the late 1930s, he broke the world landspeed record three times with his car Thunderbolt, powered by two Rolls-Royce R V12 aero engines. He was a true hero from an age of epic endeavours; yet both he and Thunderbolt have been all-but forgotten for more than 80 years.

“With this Collection, we have revived Eyston’s memory and retold his remarkable story. Throughout Wraith and Dawn Landspeed, clients will find numerous subtle design elements and narrative details that recall and commemorate his amazing achievements, grand vision and exceptional courage.”

–Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Rolls-Royce has been associated with world speed records on both land and water for more than a century. But while the exploits of Sir Malcolm Campbell are well documented and widely known, another British hero who set three landspeed records using Rolls-Royce engines has been largely overlooked by history.

Now, after more than 80 years, Rolls-Royce recalls this hero’s inspiring exploits. With the new Wraith and Dawn Black Badge Landspeed Collection, the marque uncovers and retells the remarkable story of the redoubtable Captain George Eyston, and his extraordinary car, Thunderbolt.

Born in 1897, George Eyston was fascinated with motorsport from childhood, racing both cars and (under an assumed name) motorcycles while still at school. His degree in engineering at Trinity College, Cambridge, was interrupted by the Great War, in which he served with distinction, rising to the rank of captain and winning the Military Cross. He spent the 1920s and 30s developing and driving racing cars; a talented inventor, he also held a number of patents, particularly in the field of supercharging.

In 1935, Eyston was among the first British racers to travel to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where he set new 24-hour and 48-hour endurance speed records. He subsequently received the Segrave Trophy, awarded to ‘the British national who demonstrates Outstanding Skill, Courage and Initiative on Land, Water and in the Air’.

In 1937, he returned to the Flats and went on to set three world landspeed records with Thunderbolt. This extraordinary machine had three axles, eight wheels and weighed seven tonnes, earning it monikers such as ‘behemoth’ and ‘leviathan’ in contemporary reports. The body was made from aluminum and, in its original form, had a blunt, heavyset profile topped with a large triangular tail fin.

CELEBRATING ACHIEVMENT, INNOVATION AND COURAGE

The Rolls-Royce Landspeed Collection draws inspiration from George Eyston’s remarkable life and record-breaking feats. It also has strong aesthetic links to the unique, otherworldly landscape of the Bonneville Salt Flats where Thunderbolt made him, albeit briefly, the fastest man on Earth. The Collection Car duo is presented in a specially created two-tone finish, which marries Black Diamond Metallic with a new Bespoke color, Bonneville Blue. This specially developed hue bares particular significance to the Collection, with a color that transitions under sunlight from light blue to silver, illustrating the reflections of both the vast sky over Bonneville and the crisp salt flats on Thunderbolt’s aluminum body.

Thunderbolt was powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce R supercharged 37-liter, V-12 aero engines, each producing well over 2,000 horsepower. Around only 19 of these engines were ever made: indeed, they were so rare that Thunderbolt’s engines had a previous career in the Schneider Trophy-winning Supermarine S6.B seaplane that would lay the foundations for the legendary Spitfire.

Today, Thunderbolt’s two R engines are preserved at the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon and the Science Museum in London. The car itself, however, has been lost. After being exhibited at the 1940 Centennial Exhibition in New Zealand, it was placed in storage, but was sadly destroyed in 1946 when 27,000 bales of wool, housed in the same building, caught fire.

HOLDING THE LINE

Eyston set his records on the International Speedway, a specially compacted section of the Bonneville Salt Flats 10 miles (16km) long and 80 feet (24m) wide. The terrain is perfectly level in all directions and shines brilliant white in the sunlight: the absence of landmarks and ferocious glare combines to make holding course and judging distance extremely difficult at high speed.

George Eyston himself, commented, “On the salt bed, which has to be carefully prepared by dragging, we paint one or more black lines along the whole length. These lines act as guides and prevent the driver straying; for errors of a few feet in steering might culminate in disastrous results. You see, you might drive a few feet away from the absolute line, something else might happen and you get a few feet more and, believe me, you will never get back”.

As he recognized, deviating from the speedway would have been extremely hazardous, particularly given Thunderbolt’s enormous weight. In response, Eyston’s team painted darkened track lines on the salt surface for Eyston to follow – effectively his sole means of keeping Thunderbolt straight at over 350 mph. This simple yet ingenious idea is recalled in the Landspeed Collection by a subtly perforated dark detail in the upper-center of the steering wheel, which continues through the centerline of the driver’s seat, accentuating both Wraith and Dawn’s driver focused appeal.

The Bonneville Salt Flats may appear smooth; but in fact, they’re seamed with tiny fissures. This distinctive texture is perfectly reproduced, digitally retraced from the surface itself, in the wooden veneer of Landspeed Collection’s fascia and console lids. The interior references continue with Thunderbolt’s unique silhouette, and the records it achieved, depicted on the polished, anodised aluminum surface of the Landspeed Collection’s front tunnel. Dawn Landspeed additionally celebrates George Eyston’s vision with the outline of the Silver Island mountains, which dominate the Bonneville horizon, engraved on the upper ‘waterfall’ between the rear seats.

According to the history books, Eyston’s third and final landspeed record of 357.497 mph stood for 341 days. In the new Collection Cars, it is commemorated for all time, engraved into the housing of the dashboard clock alongside the name ‘Bonneville’, in homage to where the record was set.

Thunderbolt was originally left unpainted, which caused an unexpected problem. During the first record attempts, the photo-electric timing equipment was unable to detect the polished alumunium body against the searing white of the Salt Flats’ surface, making accurate timing impossible. Eyston’s brilliantly simple solution was to paint a large black arrow with a yellow circle on the side, to heighten visibility when traveling at great speed. Bright yellow accents throughout the Landspeed Collection, including two-tone yellow and black bumper inserts, pay tribute to this vision.

The clock’s design recounts this theme. Based on the instrument dials from Thunderbolt, with yellow and black details, black-tipped hands are inspired by the arrows painted on the original car’s exterior.

The allure of the Bonneville Salt Flats draws not only record-breakers, but astronomers, too. Stargazers prize this vast, unpopulated wilderness for its exceptionally dark night skies, which create perfect conditions unspoiled by artificial light.

In Wraith Landspeed, the Starlight Headliner perfectly recreates the heavens as they appeared over the Flats on 16 September 1938, the date on which Eyston and Thunderbolt set their third and final world landspeed record. The constellations are precisely marked using 2,117 individually placed fibre-optic ‘stars’, the largest number of stars in a Rolls-Royce Wraith Starlight Headliner ever featured.

During his lifetime, George Eyston received three significant honors. He was awarded the Military Cross (MC) while serving in the Great War; in 1938, after his record-breaking runs with Thunderbolt he was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest civilian decoration; and in 1948, he received the Order of the British Empire (OBE).

These honors are marked in both Wraith and Dawn Landspeed with a subtle detail in the driver’s door, made in the same Grosgrain weave silk and colors to match the original medal ribbons. The armrests on both the passenger side and below the ribbon detail are specially padded to give them the comfortable ‘club armchair’ quality that Eyston favoured in his driving seats, much to the amusement of his fellow racers.

Production of Landspeed Collection cars is strictly limited to just 25 examples of Dawn and 35 of Wraith, all of which have already been allocated to customers.

In closing, Mr Müller-Ötvös said, “Rolls-Royce has been synonymous with adventure, daring and pushing boundaries throughout its history. We are delighted that with the Landspeed Collection, we can add another hitherto unsung hero to the illustrious roll call of pioneers associated with our great marque. With his vision, boldness, determination and genius for innovation and invention, George Eyston embodies so much of what makes Rolls-Royce unique. These cars are a fitting and long overdue tribute to a truly inspiring character.”

 

Rolls-Royce Landspeed Collection image for use by 360 Magazine
Rolls-Royce Landspeed Collection image for use by 360 Magazine
Rolls-Royce Landspeed Collection image for use by 360 Magazine
Rolls-Royce Landspeed Collection image for use by 360 Magazine
Rolls Royce Illustration by Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith

By: Krishan Narsinghani × Vivek Lalchandani × Emily Bunn × Vaughn Lowery

360 Magazine had the opportunity to drive the highly anticipated 2021 Rolls Royce Wraith Black Badge across Los Angeles. Bespoke from the Rolls Royce family, the Wraith distinguishably has a sportier handling as compared to other models. The souped-up luxury coupe delivers a smooth yet powerful drive. Turn up the radio and listen to members of the world of hip-hop praise driving the vehicle themselves. Who would want a chauffeur when you can climb behind the wheel of the Wraith yourself?

Design

With special detailing to the trim, plus black badge symbols, the Wraith is no joke when it comes to design. The phantom grill and the dark chrome spirit of ecstasy figure at the front of the car is a signature distinction of Rolls Royce vehicles. The rippling 21” carbon alloy composite wheels are detailed with the requisite black exterior detailing. The iced Selby Grey exterior of the Wraith, mixed with the interior’s red accents and metal appointments throughout, elevate the majesty of the car. As we drove along the coast of California, the Wraith glistened with a golden coat from the sun. In addition to the interior, the cabin is ultra-luxurious, and includes leather floor mats for those who embark on a slightly grittier driving experience.

Technology

The technology inside the Wraith crafted to create an out-of-this-world driving experience. While seated in the vehicle, drivers need not a sunroof to watch the stars because with the Wraith’s galaxy lights, the night sky is shining within finger’s tips reach. These lights create a stunning, serene atmosphere that makes inhabiting the Wraith feel astronomical glitzy. However, if you’re looking for more luxury, utilize the Wraith’s heat and cool controlled, massage chair seats. Recline and relax as you tune into the 1,300-watt Bespoke Audio System, which uses an 18-channel amplifier with 18 speakers throughout the vehicle for the optimal listening experience. Easily surf between radio channels using the touch dial to navigate through the touchscreen dashboard, which provides navigation systems and access to all of the car’s multimedia features. When you decide to start your journey in the Wraith, comfortably situate yourself into the car and allow the electronic-closing doors to do the heavy lifting for you. The backup and side cameras provide 360 views of the car, so you can feel safe and in control as you start your next adventure.

Performance

Rolls Royce stuck to their roots when it came to driving the Wraith. The black badge is powered by a silky smooth 6.6 liter turbocharged V12 engine that outputs 623 horsepower and 642 lb/ft torque, up from the 605 lb/ft the regular Wraith puts out. While those numbers sound incredible, the car also weighs in just over 5375 lbs, or in other words, almost as much as a Cadillac Escalade. Needless to say, drivers won’t be winning many races against most other cars, which have 600+ horsepower. The advantage of driving a Rolls Royce is the smoothness though, which is exactly where the Wraith delivers with transmission performance and power. Shifts are almost imperceptible, causing the Wraith to sometimes feel like an electric vehicle. Power from the V12 builds with absolutely no vibrations in the cabin.

Ergonomics

When it comes to suspension, the Wraith rides like a dream. Literally, sometimes you may need to pinch yourself to make sure you’re still awake. Noise, vibration and harshness are almost completely eliminated. The near 123 in. wheelbase ensures the ride is incredibly smooth and planted. All power is pushed to the rear wheels with air suspension standard on all four corners. This gives the Wraith the most ideal suspension setup for a long distance cruise. Drivers will wield an immense amount of power, a beautiful hand-crafted interior, and a suspension that allows you to have fun maneuvering corners, while maintaining stability on any type of pavement.

The 2021 Wraith is not for the car enthusiast, but is perfect for the everyday, casual driver who prefers comfort over aggressive driving dynamics. This ultimate grand touring machine starts in at $338,000 base price, however buyers can pay to customize more of the car’s features. Our Black Badge tester retails at $485,325. If you’re looking for a suave ride and prestigious interior, the Wraith is worth the wait.

To learn more about the 2021 Rolls Royce Wraith, visit Rolls-Royce’s website.

Photography by: Jeff Langlois

2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith by Vaughn Lowery for 360 Magazine2021 Rolls Royce Wraith shot by Jeff Langlois for 360 Magazine