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ROLLS-ROYCE HISTORY

  •  A unique moment of historical symmetry for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars occurs on 4th May 2020
  • Date marks the anniversary of first meeting between founders The Hon Charles Rolls and Henry Royce in Manchester, England on 4th May 1904
  • Also marks the 2020 resumption of production at Goodwood‑based manufacturing plant

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, “We are living through historic times. Our primary focus is, of course, on safely resuming production at The Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex; but in marking this amazing anniversary, we are taking a moment to reflect on what 117 years have taught us.”

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars records another chapter in its long story today. It was on this day in 1904 that The Hon Charles Rolls first met Henry Royce at the Midland Hotel, Manchester – an encounter after which the motor car, and the world of luxury, would never be the same again. It is with a fitting sense of historical symmetry that production resumes at the Home of Rolls-Royce today, 4th May, on the anniversary of Rolls first declaring of Royce, “I have met the greatest engineer in the World”.

Together, Rolls and Royce shared a vision to make the future of motoring extraordinary. Henry Royce, an engineer, had a desire for perfection and an innate work ethic that later became the pillar of Rolls-Royce philosophy; “Take the best that exists and make it better.” Charles Rolls, an aristocrat, was an accomplished motorist, experienced in selling imported foreign motor cars. His business partner, Claude Johnson, stepped into the role of Managing Director of Rolls and Royce’s venture and expanded the fledgling company’s reputation.

The company they founded has faced extraordinary challenges and difficulties throughout its 117‑year history. Though still in its infancy, Rolls-Royce endured in 1918 when the greatest pandemic of the 20th Century, Spanish Flu, swept the world. A decade later, it again stood firm when the Great Depression laid waste to the global economy. Over the years that followed, Rolls‑Royce has withstood the shocks of economic and political crises at home and overseas, embodying calm and constancy in a tumultuous, uncertain world.

In its more recent history, the company weathered the financial crash of 2008 and came out the other side more resilient and determined than ever. The marque has always risen to every challenge with ingenuity, commitment, courage and solidarity, so while Covid-19 is possibly the biggest test Rolls-Royce has ever faced, it’s certainly not the first.

For the current generation of the Rolls-Royce family, working from home has been a new experience. For Sir Henry Royce, however, it was entirely normal. Indeed, some of his most influential designs were produced in the private studio he maintained at his home – Elmstead – at West Wittering, just eight miles from the present-day manufacturing plant and global Head Office.

Royce clearly found inspiration and creative energy in the peace, quiet and solitude that working away from the bustle of the office and factory provided. Famously, while walking on the nearby beach one day, he sketched the initial design for the R-series aero engine in the sand with his walking-stick. A later development of that design, the Merlin, would earn everlasting acclaim as the engine which powered the legendary Supermarine Spitfire.

Royce’s home studio was also the birthplace of another, perhaps less storied engine that nevertheless occupies an important place in the annals of aviation achievement. In 1919, his Eagle VIII provided the power for the first-ever transatlantic flight, from St John’s, Newfoundland to County Galway in Ireland, by British adventurers Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Brown. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars commemorated the centenary of their astonishing feat, and the engine that made it possible, in the spectacular Wraith Eagle VIII Collection Car, limited to just 50 examples, released in 2019.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, “We are living through historic times. Our primary focus is, of course, on safely resuming production at The Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex; but in marking this amazing anniversary, we are taking a moment to reflect on what 117 years have taught us.”

He added, “As a company, we can draw strength from the knowledge that although Rolls-Royce has faced uncertainty many times over the years, it has emerged more resilient and confident, with its fundamental principles unaltered. Our present challenges may be unprecedented, but as we look to the future, I am confident there is no company in the world better prepared to overcome them.”

Rolex 2018 Monterey Car Week Recap

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Presented by Rolex Fast Facts:

• 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta owned by David and Ginny Sydorick claimed the Best In Show Award at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

• Other finalists for Best In Show were a 1929 Duesenberg J Murphy Town Limousine owned by the Lehrman Collection of Palm Beach, Florida; and a 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Figoni Fastback Coupé owned by Robert Kudela of Chropyne, Czech Republic.

• David was awarded a steel and yellow gold Rolex Datejust 41.

• “This car is one of only five built and it has recently been completely restored, taking a huge amount of effort and dedication from all those involved,” said Sydorick. “It feels great to win at Pebble Beach today and receive a Rolex watch, I look forward to wearing it proudly.”

• Rolex has been a sponsor of the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance since 1997 and the Tour d’ Elegance in 2007.

• 234 cars participated in this year’s show.

• Following the judging, nine-time Le Mans winner and Rolex testimonee Tom Kristensen said: “The collection of historic automobiles and world-renowned concept cars at Pebble Beach creates an event like no other. It has been a privilege to be part of the judging team, and to get so close to these amazing machines and meet their owners. The Best of Show Award represents excellence and timeless elegance – values that I closely identify with Rolex – while recognizing and preserving the greatest cars in the world. This event is an absolute must for all car lovers.”

• Cars competed in 27 judged classes as well as for four Elegance awards and 22 special awards.

• Other show highlights included a 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Windovers Limousine owned by His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singhji of Marwar-Jodhpur, Jodhpur, India, that won the Montagu of Beaulieu Trophy and a 1937 Cadillac Series 90 Hartmann Cabriolet owned by Jim Patterson of Louisville, Kentucky, which won its class and the Gwenn Graham Most Elegant Convertible Elegance Award.

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Fast Facts:

• 551 genuine and period-correct competition cars competed.

• Nissan, and its US predecessor Datsun, was celebrated throughout the event, as the brand became the first Japanese manufacturer to be honored at the Reunion.

• Since 2001, Rolex has partnered in this cornerstone event during Monterey Car Week, united by values of tradition and innovation that have shaped the watchmaking and automotive worlds.

• During Picnic in the Paddock, legends of the sport, Sir Jackie Stewart, fellow Rolex Testimonee Tom Kristensen and FIA Formula 1® Drivers’ World Champion Mika Häkkinen, recounted motoring anecdotes that will live long in the memories of those who attended.

• Rolex Testimonee Sir Jackie Stewart first competed at Laguna Seca in 1965 and this year celebrates a 50-year partnership with the Swiss watch brand. The Scottish legend said: “It is an honor to witness these incredible motor racing cars compete as they were built to; from the early 20th Century right the way through to the 1990s, they truly tell the story of the heritage and evolution in our sport. The highest standards of precision and engineering on show link Rolex and the Reunion, while underlining Rolex’s commitment to motor sport globally.”

• Nissan’s long-term involvement in motor sport was exhibited, from the 1971 Datsun 510, to the Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo – the 1994 Rolex 24 At DAYTONA winner – and the 2019 Formula E Nissan racing car.

• Notable Nissan drivers and team owners were present, including John Morton, Peter Brock and Steve Millen, along with comedian Adam Carolla who drove his 300ZX Turbo formerly owned by Paul Newman.

• Meanwhile, legendary chassis from Lotus, Lola, McLaren, AAR and Surtees formed part of the 50th anniversary of Formula 5000.

Photo by Rolex

Rolls-Royce Monterey Car Week

“Monterey Car Week is one of the world’s premier luxury motor car events, so it is fitting that we showcase the finest Bespoke motor cars in the world here, and also debut Cullinan, the Rolls-Royce of SUVs, to the American public. From the primacy of Phantom to the power of Cullinan, the Rolls-Royce presence at 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has never been more compelling, and these Bespoke Rolls-Royces will grace these lawns as classics for generations to come.” … Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

The Rolls-Royce Cullinan makes its American debut to the public at this year’s Monterey Car Week as the marque showcases a stunning array of Bespoke motor cars, each one a classic in the making. In addition to Cullinan, the Rolls-Royce of SUVs, the brand will present a splendid selection of individual creations at events throughout the week and deliver two very high profile commissions to their owners, live at events throughout the week.

Cullinan – the Rolls-Royce of SUVs debuts to its American public

The most anticipated motor car of 2018 will adorn the lawns at Monterey Car Week events including Friday’s ‘Quail, A Motorsports Gathering,’ The Concept Lawn of the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance on Sunday and at Rolls-Royce’s own private collectors events throughout the week.

Unveiled to the world in May of this year, four Cullinans will be positioned around the peninsula in a variety of color and Bespoke configurations for its future customers to discover. Rolls-Royce will show for the first time in North America a Cullinan with Iguazu Blue exterior. The stunning Charles Blue interior is offset with Scivaro Grey highlights and open Paldao veneer. The other Cullinans on display are adorned in Magma Red and Darkest Tungsten.

A tenth Bespoke creation for collector Michael Fux

On Friday, Mr. Müller-Ötvös will present a very special Rolls-Royce Phantom to renowned collector Michael Fux. This is the tenth special Bespoke Creation presented to Mr. Fux at Pebble Beach for his collection of more than 140 unique motor cars. The Phantom joins Mr. Fux’s collection of motor cars that he uses to help raise funds for his charity, The Michael Fux Foundation, to provide support for children and their families at the Miami Children’s Hospital.

Black Badge Bespoke – The alter ego of Rolls-Royce personalization

This year’s Pebble Beach will play host to the alter ego of Rolls-Royce Bespoke as the marque demonstrates the breadth of its Black Badge Bespoke offer. Proving that a Black Badge Rolls-Royce need not only be black in color, four different Collections will move through the Black Badge color spectrum: The Umbra Collection; Adamas Collection; The Paradisio Collection and The Nebula Collection.

Fusing the extraordinary competence of the Bespoke craftspeople from the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, England, with the rebellious spirit of Black Badge is for the risk-taker who is not afraid to embrace a bold and progressive statement of true and modern luxury, in its darkest form.

Umbra Black Badge Collection – Dawn, Ghost and Wraith

Black Badge Umbra, the extreme embodiment of the eponymous darker side of Rolls-Royce debuts this week at the Rolls-Royce Villa at Pebble Beach. The Umbra Collection comprises Dawn, Ghost and Wraith, and feature Matte Black exterior finish, fully darkened chrome including a darkened Spirit of Ecstasy and 21 inch carbon alloy wheels. The Anthracite interior is starkly offset with Mugello Red and Black highlights. All three commissions feature a stunning technical fiber fascia and interior accents as well as custom Black Badge Bespoke Starlight Headliners and Bespoke ‘Pebble Beach 2018’ treadplates.

Dawn Black Badge Adamas Collection

Dawn Black Badge Adamas is another creation from the darker side of the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective. Inspired by the ‘untamable’ and ‘invincible’ nature of a diamond, Adamas celebrates the darker side of contemporary craftsmanship, expertly weaving a dark aesthetic of unbreakable carbon structures into an extremely limited collection of only 30 Dawn Black Badge cars. Dawn Black Badge Adamas is clothed in an enticing two-tone color scheme of hypnotic Aphrodite Red over Black. These are the first two-tone Black Badge cars. These colors, as though touched by darkness, have a deep color transition, providing a mesmerizing iridescent effect.

The Spirit of Ecstasy, previously cast in steel, silver and gold, is for the first time in history formed in machined carbon fiber. 88 Bespoke laboratory-grown diamonds form the Black Badge infinity symbol set beneath the Bespoke analogue clock. As a final touch, when one enters or alights from the atmospheric cabin of Adamas, illuminated tread plates read ‘Black Badge Dawn Adamas – One of Thirty’, reminding the occupant of the power and rarity of this Collection.

The Paradisio Collection – Dawn, Ghost and Wraith

Turning up the color spectrum, the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective has specially created the boldest Black Badge Collection ever imagined for this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Paradisio Collection of one Dawn, one Ghost and one Wraith features a newly-developed solid exterior paint called Pebble Paradiso Blue, inspired by the location of The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and its beautiful blue surroundings of water and clear Californian sky. These cars are also reminiscent of the exploits of those adventurers who partook in the 1913 Alpenfahrt driving such classic Rolls-Royces as the James Radley 1913 Silver Ghost with its solid blue paintwork. The exterior is offset by a mandarin coach line, twin bonnet pinstripes and pinstripes on the wheel-centers.

The interiors of the three cars vary in design. Ghost, which is more focused on the rear passenger’s comfort, reflects this visually with a more intimate and cool Black and Charles Blue leather color-way off set by Charles Blue and Mandarin stitching and a Black and Charles Blue two-tone steering wheel. Wraith and Dawn add more Mandarin into the interior color palate, increasing the visual heat and driver’s intent of the cockpit.

The centerpiece of the Black Badge cabin is the aerospace-grade aluminum-threaded carbon fiber composite surfacing – material often seen on the surfaces of stealth aircraft. This futuristic material has been reinterpreted at Goodwood to become the world’s most innovative new super-luxury material. Polished to a high sheen, this surface reflects the twinkling lights of the beautifully created Starlight Headliner wrought in Ghost and Wraith and the stars firmament once the Mandarin hood of Dawn is folded away.

Nebula Collection – Dawn, Ghost and Wraith

Nebula is a suite of Black Badge Ghost, Wraith and Dawn motor cars which draw influence from spacecraft and aerospace technology, drawing visual references from technical spacecraft to the soaring vistas of the earth’s atmosphere, whilst paying homage to the pioneers of the 20th century and challenges the space and technology entrepreneurs of the 21st century. Men and women who push the technology envelope to explore space, honor the pioneers of land and space flight from Charles Rolls to the elite brotherhood of astronauts.

The exterior is enveloped in Iced Selby Grey, a flat grey hue, reminiscent of the ultra matt aesthetic of the heat shields of great, technical, space craft themselves. Inside, the interior colorway features Selby Grey and Black leather, offset against high contrast Sunset accents in the format of a two tone steering wheel, piping and stitching. The contrast masterfully imbues the impression of color imparted by a space shuttle fuel tank. This is perfectly offset against a technical fiber fascia, a sought-after aesthetic found in many Black Badge motor cars.

The Rolls-Royce clock embodies the Nebula theme in miniature. A depiction of a portion of the night sky in the Northern Hemisphere in March are backlit on the clock’s face, encircled in the accent ‘Sunset’ color, providing the impression of viewing the stars through the window of a space craft.

A repeated hexagonal motif has been expertly embroidered into the rear of each motor car, reflective of the honeycomb structure used in some of the most ambitious and technologically advanced aerospace developments, from space telescope mirrors to space station windows. Speaker covers most commonly bestow a jewelry-like impression on the interior of a Rolls-Royce, however in this iteration, they have adopted a blackened aesthetic, to further the technical feel once more.

ROLLS-ROYCE ANNOUNCES ‘THE JOHN LENNON PHANTOM V’ RETURN

Today, Rolls-Royce has announced that it will celebrate the 50th anniversary year of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in its own way by bringing the colourful Rolls-Royce Phantom V, famous for being owned by John Lennon, back home to London for the British public to see.

Currently owned by the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada, ‘The John Lennon Phantom V’ will travel from Canada to London to join ‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ – A Rolls-Royce Exhibition, at Bonhams on Bond Street, an area visited regularly by Lennon in the late 1960s in this very car.

Members of the public will be able to see ‘The John Lennon Phantom V’ at Bonhams from 29 July to the 2 August.

‘The John Lennon Phantom V’

On June 3, 1965 – the same day that Edward H White left the capsule of his Gemini 4 to become the first American to walk in space – John Lennon took delivery of something rather special. It was a Rolls-Royce Phantom V in Valentine Black. He would later say that he always wanted to be an eccentric millionaire, and the Phantom would become an important step towards that dream.

Lennon had the Phantom V customised in true rock-star style. The rear seat was converted to a double bed, a television, telephone and refrigerator were installed, along with a ‘floating’ record player and a custom sound system (which included an external loud hailer).

Then, in April 1967, just as the recording of the game-changing Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was finishing, Lennon asked Surrey coachbuilders, JP Fallon, to give the Phantom a new paint job. The freshly-painted Phantom was unveiled days before the worldwide release of Sgt. Pepper’s on 1 June and it seemed part of the overall concept of the album.

The new colour scheme is often described as ‘psychedelic’ and certainly the colours, particularly the dominant yellow, reflected the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. But look carefully and you will see it is no random swirl, but a floral Romany scroll design, as used on gypsy caravans and canal barges, with a zodiac symbol on the roof. 

The Phantom V was used regularly by Lennon until 1969 (Lennon also owned a slightly less conspicuous all-white Phantom V). Having used it, pre-paint change, to collect his MBE with his bandmates in 1965, he then used it again in 1969 to return his MBE to the Palace, in protest against, among other things, the Vietnam War. The car was shipped to the USA in 1970 when Lennon moved there and was loaned out to ferry other rock stars around such as The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and The Moody Blues. In 1977, after a period in storage, donated by billionaire Jim Pattison to the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

‘The Great Eight Phantoms’ – a Rolls-Royce Exhibition, will take place at Bonhams international flagship saleroom and galleries in New Bond Street, London, from 29 July to the 2 August. You can follow the progress of this story on social media by using http://www.press.rolls-roycemotorcars.com/rolls-royce-motor-cars-pressclub/article/detail/T0272363EN/rolls-royce-announces-the-great-eight-phantoms%E2%80%99-%E2%80%93-a-rolls-royce-exhibition-will-be-at-bonhams-and-sir-malcolm-campbell%E2%80%99s-phantom-ii%E2%80%99-will-be-third-great-phantom-to-join-exhibition