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HomeThe MarketRolls-Royce unveils Boat Tail and new Coachbuild program

Rolls-Royce unveils Boat Tail and new Coachbuild program

‘A return to the very roots of our brand,’ proclaims the automaker's chief executive

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Rolls-Royce is bringing back the coachbuilt era of luxury automobiles, and is bringing it in house, unveiling the Rolls-Royce “Boat Tail” and announcing that Rolls-Royce Coachbuild has become a permanent fixture in the company’s business plan.

“Today marks a seminal moment for the House of Rolls-Royce,” company chief executive Torsten Müller-Ötvös is quoted. “We are proud to unveil Rolls-Royce Boat Tail to the world, and with it, the confirmation of coachbuilding as a permanent fixture within our future portfolio. 

“Historically, coachbuilding had been an integral part of the Rolls-Royce story. In the contemporary Rolls-Royce narrative, it has informed our guiding philosophy of Bespoke. But it is so much more.  

“Rolls-Royce Coachbuild is a return to the very roots of our brand.  It represents an opportunity for the select few to participate in the creation of utterly unique and truly personal commissions of future historical significance.”

boat tail, Rolls-Royce unveils Boat Tail and new Coachbuild program, ClassicCars.com Journal

The unveiling of the Boat Tail, Müller-Ötvös explained, is the culmination of a four-year collaboration with three clients, who have been “intimately and personally involved at each step of the creative and engineering process.” 

“Only the House of Rolls-Royce can offer its Coachbuild clients the inimitable opportunity to commission a product of future historical significance, that is as fundamentally unique as they are – and then participate in every detail of its creation,” he claimed. “This is authentic luxury. This is contemporary patronage in its truest form. This is Rolls-Royce Coachbuild.”

The company notes that its program provides “a counterpoint” to what it calls the “industrialized luxury” offered by other brands. 

Rolls-Royce experimented with coachbuilding in 2017 when it unveiled the Sweptail, a one-off commission believed to have cost the client $13 million.

boat tail, Rolls-Royce unveils Boat Tail and new Coachbuild program, ClassicCars.com Journal

In unveiling the Boat Tail, of which three will be created, Rolls-Royce said the clients “shared a deep appreciation of contemporary nautical design. J-Class yachts were often referenced as points of inspiration, both for their purity of form and their requirement for hand craftsmanship at the highest level to will them into existence.”

While there are three vehicles that share a common body, each car has been individually personalized, the company said.

The cars show a new treatment of the Rolls-Royce grille and lights, a nautical profile — with a “progressive negative sculpture in the lower bodyside” designed as a historical reference to running boards — and an “aft deck.” 

boat tail, Rolls-Royce unveils Boat Tail and new Coachbuild program, ClassicCars.com Journal

There, butterfly panels covered in Caleidolegno veneer open to reveal the “hosting suite” shaded by a parasol and containing a refrigerator and accoutrements necessary for al fresco dining.

For more on the Boat Tail, visit the Rolls-Royce website.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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