This is how it feels to order a one-of-three Rolls-Royce boat tail

Rolls-Royce’s second Boat Tail was unveiled earlier this month at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on the beautiful shores of Lake Como, northern Italy. This is the second of three ever to exist. It features chameleon-esque paintwork, which changes from near-white or deep bronze depending on the way the sun hits it.

A Rolls-Royce client commissioned the car after four years of working closely with the company. The platform and overall design share similarities with the Boat Tail’s first unveiling in 2021. However, it is a unique piece, down to the carbon fiber folding stool and rose gold cutlery that make up its al fresco dining table.

This car was inspired by both racing yachts from the early 20th Century and a Rolls-Royce Phantom II Boattail, which one current Boat Tail customer also has. This particular Rolls-Royce customer, based in the Middle East and with a family business in pearling, commissioned this example. Four pearl shells were used to create certain interior elements, as well as the inspiration for the exterior color.

This color is difficult to describe because it changes in light from the lakeside. Rolls-Royce describes the foundation as “a shimmering mixture of oyster and soft rose with large white mica flakes and bronze mica flakes giving it a unique pearlescent quality which changes subtly depending on different light conditions.”

Rolls-Royce states that the paintwork’s reaction to sunlight varies depending on where it is located. Rolls-Royce sent entire body panels to the client to test how they would look in sunlight to make sure the client was aware of what to expect. This is just one part of the Rolls-Royce coachbuilding experience, something that only the brand’s most loyal clients get to see.

Torsten Muller-Otvos, chief executive at Rolls-Royce, says: “It was their idea to do it, harking back [1932] Boattail which one of the clients has and this is how this whole idea developed…Our luminaries, they call them luminaries. There are about 100 around the world and they know each others, so I would consider this a super elite club…The concept was created between them. They came up with the idea of al fresco dining at the back.

The dining set, which is completely unique for each Boat Tail, includes cutlery and crockery, as well as temperature-controlled storage for wine, plus a parasol and a pair of folding carbon fiber stools. The key fob pushes open the rear deck of wood panels like a butterfly’s wings and reveals the dining set. It raises up for easy access. Because it will fade and change color with time, the Royal Walnut paneling was chosen by its owner. It also has inlaid rose-gold pinstripes.

The iconic pantheon grille is seen in the front. It was made from one giant aluminum piece and unlike other Rolls-Royces, has no triangular aluminum top. The Spirit of Ecstasy Mascot is located above that, made of rose gold.

It is difficult to get access to Rolls-Royce’s coachbuilding division. Muller-Otvos says, “We could sell many many, many, many coachbuilt project, but by its very nature, we wanted to limit it. We plan to travel every second year, but we may be able to travel every year in the future. We have already been booked for many years with projects.

It is something that clients can come to us or to me to say “Thorsten, I want to do that.” We then add you to the list. Many clients already have ideas about what they want and how it should look. It is a requirement that clients visit Rolls-Royce headquarters in Goodwood, England six to seven times during the project. You can’t send your chauffeur, it’s impossible. To be fully involved, you must be committed.

Rolls-Royce is a luxury car company that does not manufacture cars. However, clients who are embarking on coachbuilt projects like Boat Tail must understand how cars are built and designed. There are also limitations in engineering and law. The CEO says that it is a four-year journey and can sometimes be complicated. It’s not always easy…I need a client that understands technical what’s possible, and who can understand that certain details may change during the engineering process. These clients are car aficionados.”

After the four-year process, Boat Tail customers (and future customers of coachbuilt projects) receive a unique car. Muller-Otvos remarked emphatically on the owner of the rose-gold Boat Tail: “With this Car the gentleman who commissioned It is forever – forever. I really mean forever – A part of the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars history… and he is written in the company archives. This is a compelling story, and it’s something that money cannot buy.

Rolls-Royce has not disclosed the cost of its Boat Tail commissions. According to reports, the previous example, which was commissioned by Jay-Z and Beyonce, cost around $30m. Muller-Otvos states that it’s not about the price. There are never any conversations about “oh, what’s this?” What are you going to charge me? This is not the place we are here for. We listen to our clients and never discuss price. The price is what it is.”

This figure can quickly rise if it is concerned with one-off commissions. Muller-Otvos smiles and then shakes his head disbelievingly when I ask him about the rose gold cutlery. “The dining set is not ours. This is done by high-end luxury homes for porcelain and cutlery. These little details are very much appreciated by clients. It’s made of rose gold, pure rosegold and it is brilliant. Although it is expensive, they can choose to have it. Rose gold is my favorite color, and you can see what it means to own rose gold cutlery. Everything is either rose gold or very costly glass.”

Is it possible for another Rolls-Royce customer to order cutlery and carbon and leather stools? “No way. No chance.”

Rolls-Royce has a third Boat Tail left to finish with its 100-strong coachbuilding team. However, it is not clear if the client will be able to display the car publicly. Muller-Otvos states that a fourth coachbuilt project was commissioned after that. However, “that’s quite a different car.”

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