By on August 11, 2017

Image: 1990 Bentley Hooper Empress II, via Craigslist

Back in June, Rare Rides profiled a different blue British beauty in the form of the Aston Martin Lagonda. Down in the comments section, TTAC reader Heino requested coverage of a Hooper-bodied Bentley.

Frankly, I forgot about the request in short order. But it sprang back to mind as soon as I saw the awkward visage of what would become today’s Rare Ride: a Bentley Hooper Empress II. Ready for a history lesson?

(Read More…)

By on August 6, 2017

Müller-Ötvös and Rolls-Royce Phantom

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited is on track to become the highest volume automaker in the world someday. Management is keeping it under wraps but volume has been exploding over the last few years. For 2014, the brand delivered a record 4,063 cars, up 12 percent on its volume for 2013 — closing the gap with Toyota’s 10.23 million global sales.

Unfortunately, Rolls’ five year volume streak didn’t last but it is creeping back up after some minor setbacks. For 2016, the brand announced its second highest ever annual sales result in the marquee’s 113-year history, up 6 percent on its 2015 results, for a total of 4,011 global sales. While it looks like the premium automaker has — once again — placed Toyota’s volume back in its sights, Rolls-Royce doesn’t want to get too cocky and has implemented a strategy that should keep the customers pouring in.  (Read More…)

By on June 15, 2017

Image: 2017 Rolls-Royce Sweptail, image via Rolls-Royce

Sweeping fender flares sculpted by hand, luggage trunks affixed to the rear by the help, and huge headlamps housed in metal spheres. These details come to mind when considering the old era of coachbuilding. Grand vehicles reflected personal touches and design cues requested by the customer, which the coachbuilder was all too happy to include in the vehicle in exchange for large sums of money.

This tradition is alive and well today at Rolls-Royce, which recently debuted a one-off bespoke coupe for an unnamed customer of taste and subtlety in design.

I present to you the Sweptail.

(Read More…)

By on April 4, 2017

sothebys-trump-ferrari

While Donald Trump seems to take a keen interest in the current state of the automotive industry, he doesn’t exactly come across as an car enthusiast. However, he is very rich and has had his share of obligatory Rolls, Benz, and Bentley-built vehicles over the years. And, like any exceptionally wealthy American male, he purchased a tomato red Ferrari, drove it infrequently, and then sold it off.

That car — a 2007 Ferrari F430 F1 Coupe — was auctioned by Sotheby’s over the weekend for a little less than one might expect. You would assume having the opportunity to say you owned “the president’s Ferrari” would add a substantial premium to the final sale price, but you’d be wrong. (Read More…)

By on June 16, 2016

The thing about really old car companies is that they seem to enjoy taking the gulf of time they’ve been in existence and projecting it into the future.

Rolls-Royce, the 110-year-old purveyor of rolling boutique enclaves for the horses and mahogany set, just looked ahead and saw something…intergalactic? (Read More…)

By on May 17, 2016

Rolls-Royce Zenith Edition

Like a Dreadnought-class battleship, the current generation of the hulking and insanely lavish Rolls-Royce Phantom is being mothballed, but it gets one final hurrah.

The folks behind the Spirit of Ecstasy are busy building — sorry, “crafting” — the ultimate Drophead Coupé and Phantom Coupé vehicles before those models slip the surly bonds of earth.

Just 50 will be made, and Rolls is naming the bespoke collection after those big 1970s televisions you saw in the back pages of National Geographic. (Read More…)

By on February 26, 2016

Round Door Rolls, 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Jonckheere Aerodynamic Coupe front 3/4, Petersen Automotive Museum, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

I’ve tangentially touched on the topic of this post, the famous art deco “Round Door Rolls-Royce”, before when discussing Audi advertising and some Detroit history. On my recent trip to Los Angeles to drive a McLaren 675LT (you think Jack Baruth is the only TTAC staffer who can swing the loan of a supercar?), I took the opportunity to visit the newly renovated Petersen Automotive Museum and the unusually bodied Rolls happened to be on display right where you walk into the building.

It’s a striking looking car, to say the least, and a multiple show winner undoubtedly worthy of historical note. Almost more interesting than the car, though, is the way its tale is presented and what that teaches us about the way ideas get entrenched, how a single facet of a story can obscure its context. (Read More…)

By on November 25, 2015

P90133146_highRes_rolls-royce-wraith

“Rolls-Royce sold 4,000 cars last year.”

Carlos, a handsome, Cuban gentleman sitting across from me wanted to make sure that I understood this fact. He said it so intensely that I never even thought to question his number (which was accurate). “Four thousand. That’s it. Do you know how many of them were sold to people on my street?”

I shook my head.

“Six.” He leaned back in his chair for dramatic effect, puffing on a cigar that had been handcrafted by one of Castro’s own private cigar maker’s proteges. “Six. That’s why I have to have the latest one. That’s why I have my friend, Manuel, looking for a very specific car for me.”

(Read More…)

By on September 8, 2015

Rolls Royce Dawn

Rolls-Royce took the cover off its new Dawn convertible (see what we did there?) Tuesday in an online reveal ahead of its debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show.

The car, which is powered by a 6.6-liter V-12 that produces 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque married to a ZF 8-speed transmission, is Rolls-Royce’s answer to what we’ve all been asking: How can I be even more noticeable in my Roller?

Here’s your answer: A 22-second folding “silent ballet” droptop with open-pore wood tonneau, hand-stitched leather everywhere, 16 speakers and self-closing doors.

(Read More…)

By on August 4, 2015

Wraith_Music_Front_3Q_STU_EXT_01_v8_R4_CROPPED

The latest creation as part of Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke Collections might as well have come from the Fox-body-loving garage of our own Sanjeev Sajeev Mehta. Showered in a svelte shade of heavy-metal brown, this Wraith ‘Inspired by Music’ model is just as inspired by the Brown Car Appreciation Society as it is Rock & Roll.

(Read More…)

By on April 21, 2015

01 - Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinMost of these Junkyard Finds come from big chain-owned self-service wrecking yards that have fast inventory turnover and plenty of fresh cars at all times. This means that I’m going to see lots of Volvo 240s in California, lots of old Subarus in Colorado, and millions of acre-feet of Tauruses and Sables everywhere. Oddball high-end stuff shows up, too, like the occasional Maserati or every Jaguar XJ-S ever made, but you just aren’t going to see a Rolls-Royce in this type of yard… until now. (Read More…)

By on April 10, 2015

2016-Land-Rover-Range-Rover-SVAutobiography-106-876x535

Though Bentley and Rolls-Royce are adding ultra-luxury SUVs to their collections, Jaguar Land Rover has no plans to put one above Range Rover.

(Read More…)

By on April 9, 2015

 

While designing top-dollar luxury cars was a rare success during my year at CCS, it’s gotta be tough to get these into production.  Consider competition from lower-rung manufacturers, namely those parent companies owning the likes of Rolls Royce. How much shared engineering is forced upon them?  What financial (beancounting) and legal (pedestrian safety, carbon emission) design constraints are forced upon the uber-luxury Transportation Designer?

Design directives get muddy in any vehicle, yet weak design is intolerable at a $354,000 price tag. (Read More…)

By on April 1, 2015

Rolls-Royce-Wraith-Inspired-by-Film-3

Bringing the first press day of the 2015 New York Auto Show to a close in cinematic fashion comes the Rolls-Royce Wraith ‘Inspired By Film’ edition.

(Read More…)

By on February 19, 2015

2014-rolls-royce-wraith-left-view

Rolls-Royce made it official Wednesday: The automaker is entering the premium SUV game with its own SUV, or, rather, “high-bodied car.”

(Read More…)

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