Rolls-Royce proudly presents Droptail, the third chapter of a remarkable tale that reflects Rolls-Royce’s absolute pinnacle and the super-luxury segment.
- Rolls-Royce Motor Cars unveils Droptail, its next chapter in Coachbuild’s story
- The Coachbuild is equivalent to Haute Couture and represents the pinnacle of the Rolls-Royce Brand.
- The Droptail was the first roadster in Rolls-Royce’s modern history.
- The most complex, refined, and advanced Coachbuild project to date
- The striking aft section of the deck is aerodynamically useful: an engineering feat in itself
- The Pantheon grille and Rolls-Royce badges of honor are boldly reinterpreted.
- The result of an extraordinary four-year partnership with the most ambitious clients of the marque
- A total of four Droptails are being built, each one a unique expression of the character of its commissioning client.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has unveiled Droptail today, an exquisite coachbuilt car that redefines what’s possible in the luxury segment. Our Coachbuild department, which is dedicated to luxury, is the only place where patrons can design a motorcar in their image. These exceptional products are road-going expressions of applied art that were built over more than four years in collaboration with our most ambitious customers. They work alongside our designers, engineers, and artisans at each stage of the creation of their masterpiece. This partnership will result in a historic motorcar that is as unique as its owner, and that will go down in Rolls-Royce’s history as a testimony to the shared ambitions of our brand. Droptail answers the question of whether a car can be considered art. “With the unveiling of this extraordinary roadster, the answer is unambiguously yes.”
Torsten Muller-Otvos, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
The Coachbuild department at Rolls-Royce is a place where there are no limitations. It is a place to express the most ambitious ideas and realize a vision for the future. Coachbuild allows us to explore new, bold, and creative ideas that go beyond the current design strategy. These motorcars represent our clients’ dreams and capture a particular moment in time. They also reflect a bold, timeless interpretation of Rolls-Royce. Droptail is the most complex, refined, and progressive Coachbuild yet. It is not just a concept or design study but a motorcar that is built to be driven.
Anders Warming is the Design Director at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
We felt free to re-examine Rolls-Royce’s fundamental design principles, motivated by the importance of creating the only Rolls-Royce Roadster in the world today. The iconic Pantheon Grille was reshaped for the first time in Rolls-Royce history. This set the stage for a highly progressive design. Droptail is an expression of minimalism and purposefulness in line with modern luxury codes. Droptail, like every Rolls-Royce coach built, is a reflection of the individual sensibilities of its clients, and it has been my privilege to work with them for many years. “The result is a milestone statement that reflects an unprecedented era in Rolls-Royce’s design, characterized by confidence, clarity and accuracy.”
Alex Innes is the Head of Coachbuild Design at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
ROLLS-ROYCE COACHBUILD: APPLIED SCIENCE
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, as a House of Luxury, strives to create luxury products that are personal and meaningful constantly. These luxury products reflect the ambitions of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ clients and their secret codes of luxury. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ unmatched Bespoke capabilities allow clients to realize their dreams by commissioning beautiful, handcrafted, and truly unique Rolls-Royce cars.
Some individuals are looking to take this deeply personal, remarkable experience one step further by moving beyond the existing Rolls-Royce product range. These ambitious and discerning customers want to work directly and closely with Rolls-Royce’s designers and engineers to design and build unique motor cars that go beyond the product range. They also want to be involved in the development of these vehicles at every stage. Here is the Rolls-Royce Coachbuild.
The creatives at Rolls-Royce Coachbuild see the motorcar as a high-level expression of applied arts – the discipline to create something beautiful, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally resonant that serves a single and clear purpose.
In 2017, the renaissance in contemporary Coachbuilding started with Sweptail, a two-door coupe that Rolls-Royce created in response to client requests to revive the art of Coachbuilding. It can be described as an Extrovert with its full-length, tapering glass roof and sharply tapering outlines. Boat Tail, an open-top motorcar that is highly social and amplifies the love of its owners for hosting, was unveiled in 2021.
Rolls-Royce proudly presents Droptail, the third chapter of a remarkable tale that reflects Rolls-Royce’s absolute pinnacle and the super-luxury industry as a whole. Droptail was designed to have a warm and intimate interior that would serve as a canvas for highly customized woodwork. Droptail is the Romantic. It captures the two-seater motoring’s charm and embrace.
Four unique expressions will be produced, each telling its own story, reflecting the visions, ambitions, and tastes of the client who commissioned it. All are collectors, patrons of the arts, and business leaders.
RENEWAL OF THE ROADSTER BODY STYLE
The Droptail is the new roadster body, breaking away from the previous four-seater convention associated with Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce provided a rolling chassis for coachbuilders to add specially commissioned bodywork in the early twentieth century. While European clients preferred the grand four-door saloons with chauffeurs, young, bold Americans were more interested in two-door roadster bodies. These self-drivers, who were confident and assertive, disrupted the more traditional codes of the brand.
Rolls-Royce Droptail embodies these values in a highly contemporary way – and a concept that each client who commissioned it found compelling. Rolls-Royce Coachbuild designers captured this spirit by studying the 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost “Sluggard,” the 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom Brewster New York Roadster, and the 1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Piccadilly. Droptail’s design is a refined version of these motorcars. Rolls-Royce’s creatives, artisans, and designers find that simplicity and clarity are the most difficult briefs but also the most rewarding.
DROPTAIL EXTERIOR: FOCUS & INTENT
Droptail’s exterior dimensions are 5.3 meters long and 2 meters wide. They recall the compact proportions of early Rolls-Royce roadsters. The progressive front-end treatment of the car makes it clear that this is no retro pastiche. Droptail designers took the bold step of reinterpreting the most precious Rolls-Royce iconography, the Pantheon Grille and Badge of Honour.
The vanes on the Pantheon grille of Rolls-Royce are normally straight and upright. But for Droptail, and for the very first time in Rolls-Royce’s history, they have been ‘kinked,’ gently reclining towards the top radiator to create a temple brow>> overhang. The progressive treatment is a more informal expression of Rolls-Royce’s design principles. It uses shadow to connect the two headlamps visually. The motor car’s brow is defined by this horizontal graphic that is bookended by daytime running light insets. Below the grille, you’ll find chamfered, relaxed corners, another nod to the casual spirit of Droptail.
Droptail’s proportions are radically different from other motor cars, and this accentuates the car’s driver-oriented configuration. A low, assertive stance characterizes the car. It has a snug, enveloping interior and taut, poised surfaces. The coachwork is sculpted with a dramatic negative bodyline, which falls from the front wheel. This encourages the eye to look to the rear and the sail-cowls’ of Droptail, which indicate that it is strictly a two-seater. These sharp, angular shapes, named for their similarity to a yacht jib’s sail, rise behind the door and curve gently inwards to subtly direct the eye towards the motor car’s passengers.
Droptail’s sail covers are an engineering feat. The aft section of the deck, located between the two occupants, has an aerodynamic purpose. It produces downforce, which improves stability at high speeds. It was difficult to achieve this feat while maintaining Droptail’s distinctive ‘dropping rear end,’ a design that is not normally conducive to producing a lot of downforces. The aft deck’s final design is the result of two years and 20 iterations between Droptail’s designers, aerodynamicists, and engineers.
Droptail’s elegant design led clients to ask for ever-more complex structures from the marque. One client, after viewing Droptail from the side, declared that only the door handles and Spirit of Ecstasy, as well as Rolls-Royce’s monogram, should break up its monolithic surfaces. Engineers developed a door knob that incorporated a concealed lock mechanism as well as a discretely integrated indicator light to satisfy this client’s request. The redesign of the Rolls-Royce “Badge of Honour” by the design team is another example of the freedom in this department. It is reduced to a stainless steel monogram with a “Double R,” which is applied on both sail cowls.
Rolls-Royce Droptail is finished with a rear design that references both nautical and roadster styles. The generous horizontal transom uses natural light from the sky to create a sense of solidity and width – an idea inspired by sailing yachts in the 1930s. Vertical rear lamps can’t forward to show the car’s dynamic intent. The tall rear diffuser has a semi-transparent finish underneath, which highlights its raw carbon fiber finish. This provides a visual base that anchors Droptail on the road.
DROPTAIL ROOF – A SECOND CHARACTER
Droptail’s removable hardtop gives it two distinct personalities: with or without the roof, it is an open-top roadster. With the top in place, however, Droptail becomes a dramatic and formidable coupe. Droptail’s low-slung silhouette and “postbox” glasshouse are a deliberate statement of attitude. They were partly inspired by modified ‘hot-rods’ and customs of the 20th century. The vehicles were unique because sections of metalwork between the roof and the main bodywork had to be removed by hand. This was done in order for the roofline to be lowered and a bold, assertive statement made.
Rolls-Royce’s high-luxury expression of this attitude in the present was much more complex. The droptail’s roof can be removed and is made of carbon fiber. This allows for the design to have a dramatic curve, crisp edges, and a cantilevered shape. The clients wanted to be able to drive their cars in different climates around the globe. The roof is equipped with electrochromic glasses that can change the amount of interior light at the push of a switch. The roof’s electrical connection is routed through the mounting points to allow for easy installation and removal.