16 January 2024 |
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Rolls-Royce Amethyst Droptail Coachbuild Modern Art

The Coachbuild division is about creating unique automotive art expressions that reflect the personality and heritage of the “patrons” invited to own a piece of Rolls-Royce history as long as they have the patience to follow a painstaking process that takes up to 4 years.

“Our contemporary movement of cochbuild is about creating something beautiful that’s emotionally resonant and intellectually stimulating. The Amethyst Droptail sensitively captures the cultural heritage and the family legacy through quiet artistry, sophisticated details and exceptional craft. Rolls-Royce Droptail is our most profound statement of this applied art to date.” This is how the speech of Alex Innes – head of Rolls-Royce Coachbuild design – manages to transport the audience into an area most people didn’t know existed in the times of modern cars. But this is exactly what Rolls-Royce did since the moment it decided to officially go back to a craft it mastered so well one century ago.

For me it is not the first time I get inside the rarefied concept of the British car legend’s most exclusive department, as I have also witnessed the presentation of the previous accomplishment named Boat Tail.

But for the Amethyst Droptail, the story marks a new and rare chapter where the brand allowed for changes in areas where symbols are preserved in their original form since the first days of existence, like the iconic front grille. The Amethyst was chosen as being the favourite stone of the client but a Roadster with the RR badge? Indeed, this time the patrons wanted a car for two, a fast and agile model that would fit the sport category, something that has been seen only once at Rolls-Royce, one hundred years ago. So how do you transform something opulent and massive into a slim and fit Roadster? You start with proportions and you bend details like the grille that now incorporates the “eyebrow” defined by the aerodynamic headlights. The same grille also borrows the brushed finishing technique from the world of horology underlining the owner’s connection with the world of watches. Then you make a narrow window area and place it over a minimalistic profile where badges were deconstructed and moved from sight. In the back you get to observe the largest wooden surface area ever to have been manufactured by the house’s artisans with Calamander Light – a textural, open-pore wood – that actually stretches across the motor car’s fascia, doors, shawl panel, cantilevered “plinth” centre armrest and after deck. For the wood, a rigorous testing process made sure that the interior veneer will resist extreme light and temperature variations to meet the owners’ desire to take their car to their residences found in different parts of the world. The rear section is the world’s only aerodynamically functional wood surface on a new roadgoing motor car. The deck generates downforce to improve stability at high speeds.

Colour is another example of imagination and excellence. Paying homage to the client’s home region, Amethyst Droptail features a unique duotone exterior inspired by Globe Amaranth — a desert wildflower which grows near one of their homes. This duotone finish captures the multiple stages of the flower’s bloom.

Everything that defines the unique personality of the car follows the unique personality of the owners and this is to be felt also by the desire to keep indicators as simple and analogic as possible. When thinking of complexity and refinement, the commissioner preferred the complicated character of a bespoke unique Vacheron Constantin – Les Cabinotiers Armillary Tourbillon designed exclusively to meet the privileged fascia of Rolls-Royce Coachbuild Amethyst Droptail. The watch is equipped with a bi-axial tourbillon double retrograde display to remember the sweep movement of traditional motor car speedometers and it is housed in a secure removable custom-designed holder. The crown has been oversized to facilitate winding and ensure a 58-hour power reserve.

When you think that emotion is out of the equation for cars, Rolls-Royce invites you inside its most secret area from the Goodwood factory where it reveals its latest unique expression before the official launch. Then it releases you back to the “normal” world, not before telling you that all the Coachbuild clients are actually driving their cars as much as possible.