Designer of Very Tall Cars Hits the Road, Leaves Rolls-Royce With a Blank Slate

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
designer of very tall cars hits the road leaves rolls royce with a blank slate

Don’t ask Corey Lewis about the new Rolls-Royce Phantom, as you’ll get a rundown of all the things wrong with it. Mainly, that it lacks grace and its flanks appear too tall.

Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but Giles Taylor, the design chief behind the revamped ultra-lux sedan and recently introduced “ high-bodied car” (Cullinan SUV) isn’t sticking around to craft another vehicle. Taylor’s leaving the company, placing the brand’s design future in limbo.

Rolls-Royce isn’t saying much about Taylor’s departure, only that the automaker’s head of design left to “pursue alternative business interests.”

“Taylor will leave the business with immediate effect,” the automaker announced Friday. “An announcement with regard to a successor will be made in due course.”

Taylor got his design start at Citroën in the early 1990s, moving on to Jaguar in 1999. There, he guided the flagship XJ sedan through its most significant redesign to date. An opportunity at Rolls-Royce arose in 2011 and Taylor jumped ship again.

With the second-generation Phantom, Taylor and his design team transformed a very traditional, very upright sedan into a slightly more modern version of itself. Unlike the current and previous-generation Jaguar XJ, there’s no mistaking the new Phantom for anything other than a Phantom. In creating the Cullinan, which borrows heavily from the new Phantom, Rolls-Royce ensured the automaker remains viable in the face of evolving consumer tastes.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Taylor at Rolls-Royce, however. As reported by Automotive News, the design boss clashed with executives over the brand’s future design direction. Taylor felt the move towards electrification called for major changes, but company brass — as far as we know — remain undecided.

“Aesthetic and spiritually we are in another transition with electric power, I believe we have to register externally the brand has changed,” he told the publication in March.

A source tells Automotive News that Taylor’s departure was amicable, and that he’ll remain in the automotive realm.

[Images: BMW Group]

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  • "scarey" "scarey" on Jun 09, 2018

    The only possible excuse for its slab-sided chunkiness is if it was hiding armor-plating underneath.

  • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Jun 09, 2018

    Actually saw a Wraith in the parking lot of a local strip mall! Guess even the 1%-ers need to head to the flower shop, or Little Ceasar’s Pizza once in a while!

  • Ehaase 1980-1982 Cougar XR-7 shared its wheelbase and body with the Thunderbird. I think the Cougar name was used for the 1977 and 1981 sedans, regular coupe and wagons (1977 and 1982 only) in an effort to replicate Oldsmobile's success using the Cutlass name on all its intermediates, although I wonder why Ford bothered, as the Granada/Cougar were replaced by the Fox LTD/Marquis in 1983.
  • Ken Accomando The Mark VIII was actually designed before the aero Bird, but FMC was nervous about the huge change in design, so it followed the Thunderbird a year. Remember, at this time, the 1983 Thunderbird was the first new aero Ford, with the Tempo soon following. It seems so obvious now but Ford was concerned if their buyers would accept the new aero look! To get the Lincoln buyers warmed up, they also debuted for the 1982 auto show season the Lincoln Concept 90…which really previewed the new Mark VII. Also, the new 1983 Thunderbird and Cougar debuted a little late, in Nov 1982, so perhaps that’s why they were left out of the full line brochures.
  • Tassos This is yesterday;s news, or even the day before. I reported it here yesterday, and commented on it. Do wake up.
  • 2ACL As far as manufacturers with US operations go? Current Focus or Fiesta. Honda e.As for those with no US operations, I've been intrigued by the Peugeot 508 Sport Engineered and Vauxhall Corsa Electric.
  • Tassos SNAAB shot itself in the foot when it BASTARDIZED its unique brand by BADGE ENGINEERING its vehicles with GOD DAMNED GM, OPEL, CHEVY, LANCIA and who knows what other automotive RIFF RAFF. I know of no Saab Enthusiast (they do exist) who felt sorry when the stupid maker went BANKRUPT.