Rolls Royce announced today the launch of a new Bespoke Waterspeed Collection that will be applied to a series of 35 Phantom Drophead Coupés. This new collection pays tribute to a legendary record established back on September 1st, 1937.
On that day, Sir Malcolm Campbell took a Bluebird K3 hydroplane boat powered by Rolls-Royce’s R-Type engine to a top speed of 126.32 mph on Lake Maggiore on the Swiss-Italian frontier. The next, day he did even better, as he sped the boat to 129.5 mph, breaking a five-year-old world water-speed record.
Of course, this amazing result was possible, thanks to the incredible Rolls Royce engine that powered the boat, and immediately after the record, Rolls Royce managed to reaffirm the superiority of its engines. What better way to honor the record than by building a bunch of expensive cars?
Updated 04/02/2014: Rolls Royce unveiled a new set of teaser images and new details on its new Waterspeed Collection that will be officially unveiled at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Updated 05/13/2014: Rolls Royce unveiled the official details on the new Phantom Waterspeed Collection. Check the new details after the jump.
Click past the jump to read more about the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé Bespoke Waterspeed Collection.
Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé Bespoke Waterspeed Collection in Detail
Rolls-Royce has always been know for its high level of detail and perfection in building its luxury cars, and the Phantom Drophead Coupe Waterspeed Collection of cars is no different. In fact, it seems the British automaker is going beyond its normal level of build quality to fashion these 35 Phantom Dropheads in utter opulence with craftsmanship second to none.
The ‘Maggiore Blue’ paint, for example, is nine layers thick and hand-sanded before a final layer of powdered lacquer is applied. That same nautical blue extends to the engine as well, a first for a Rolls-Royce. Even many of the decorative metal pieces within the car are hand-beaten and brushed into shape before being installed.
It’s inside the Rolls-Royce Waterspeed that the real craftsmanship is seen. Hand-engraved metal endcaps on the door armrests complement Abachi wood inserts that are arranged as to resemble a boat’s wake. The same Maggire blue color is seen throughout the cabin as it accents the ‘Windchill Grey’ main interior color.
To help tie in the boat racing theme, the Phantom Coupes get bespoke ‘power reserve’ gauges. Like the power reserve gauges on other Roll-Royce cars, these count backwards to the amount of engine revs left in reserve. However, the Waterspeed editions’ feature a yellow and blue “redline” indications, just like the Bluebird K3. Unique embroidery is found in the headrests that continue the boat theme as well.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is delighted to reveal an exclusive sketch of the Bespoke Waterspeed Collection, a series of 35 Phantom Drophead Coupés that seeks to celebrate a seminal act of British daring and endeavour.
On the morning of 1 September 1937, at the height of the battle between the United States and Great Britain to be the fastest nation on water, Sir Malcolm Campbell headed out onto the calm blue waters of Lake Maggiore on the Swiss-Italian frontier. On taking the wheel of his Bluebird K3 hydroplane boat, powered by Rolls-Royce’s R-Type engine, he established his legend, setting a record of 126.32 mph. The following day he went one better, piloting his craft to 129.5 mph, in doing so emphatically breaking the United States’ five-year stranglehold on the world waterspeed record. Campbell’s momentous achievement captured the world’s attention and reaffirmed the Rolls-Royce R-Type engines’ record-breaking superiority after triumphs on land and in the air.
Echoing the cutting-edge technology employed in the construction of these craft, only the finest contemporary materials never used before on a Rolls-Royce furnish the Waterspeed Collection. Brushed steel perfectly complements an exclusively developed Maggiore Blue colour scheme whilst hand-crafted wood inlays evoke the sense of a boat effortlessly gliding through water at pace.
“Sir Malcolm Campbell’s successful pursuit of world-speed records on land and water were the result of his commitment to the most exacting standards of British design and engineering excellence,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Such attributes are hallmarks of every Rolls-Royce motor car, ensuring the marque’s position at the pinnacle of super-luxury manufacturing. This special Collection, and those to follow in 2014, serve to display the breadth of Bespoke personalisation available to every Rolls-Royce customer. I very much look forward to revealing these remarkable cars over the coming months.”
Following the release of this design sketch that gives a candid insight into the conception of Rolls-Royce’s latest Bespoke project, further details will be revealed over the coming months telling the story of the creation of the Waterspeed Collection.
“I am delighted that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has chosen our grandfather’s iconic Bluebird Waterspeed boats as inspiration for this special Collection,” said Donald Wales, grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell. “I am certain Sir Malcolm would be extremely flattered to see his name still closely associated with such a prestigious brand 75 years after his last world Waterspeed Record. I know that I speak for our whole family and the Malcolm Campbell Heritage Trust when I say that it is a great honour and we look forward to seeing the first car off the production line.”
Press Release 2
Donald and Joe Wales, the grandson and great grandson of pioneer record-breaker Sir Malcolm Campbell, have given their seal of approval to the first of 35 Bespoke Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection cars at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex.
Built to commemorate Campbell’s seminal act of British daring and endeavour, this latest creation by the marque’s Bespoke department takes inspiration from the Bluebird craft in which the records were set. A specially created exterior finish named Maggiore Blue takes its name from the lake on the Swiss-Italian border where Campbell broke the United States’ five year strangle-hold on the waterspeed records in 1937. This very special collection also pays homage to a period when the Rolls-Royce R engine held speed records on land, water and in the air.
Donald and Joe enjoyed a walk through the manufacturing plant with Bespoke Designer Alex Innes before reviewing the specially commissioned car. On seeing the collection car, Donald, himself a record breaker, said, “I have no doubt that my grandfather Sir Malcolm Campbell would feel extremely proud to see his achievements honoured in this way. The Waterspeed car is a work of art; the blue and brushed steel evoke connotations of my grandfather’s World Record boats, Bluebird K3 and K4. This car is a lovely addition to the Rolls-Royce collection and a fabulous homage to a very important part of our racing heritage.”
It takes over 80 hours for a Rolls-Royce craftsperson to manufacture and hand brush the car’s striking brushed steel deck, whilst the coachline, complete with Bluebird motif, took another four hours to hand-apply using a squirrel hair brush.
Alex Innes, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bespoke Designer, said, “It gives me great pleasure to reveal Waterspeed to Donald and Joe Wales. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars echo Sir Malcolm Campbell’s commitment to engineering excellence and the constant pursuit of the ultimate in British Design. Using only the finest materials and exceptional craftsmanship, we have created a car which demonstrates the possibilities of Bespoke personalisation available to all Rolls-Royce customers.”
The Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection features a number of exquisitely designed and crafted Bespoke design features that have never appeared on a Rolls-Royce before. Further details revealing an insight into the creation of the cars will follow in the coming weeks.
Press Release 3
Two highly fitting locations have been selected for the UK and European debuts of the latest Bespoke Collection from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection will be previewed to selected UK press and customers at an exclusive event on the site of the original Bluebird Motor Company – now the Bluebird Restaurant – on the King’s Road, London on Tuesday 13 May 2014.
The Bluebird Motor Company building was commissioned in 1923 to be Europe’s largest garage and was built in the era’s characteristic Art Deco style, a style which it preserves today. The business would ultimately help fund Campbell’s pursuit to wrest the Waterspeed record from its American holders.
The car will then head to the world-renowned Concorso D’Elegenza at Villa D’Este on the shores of one of Italy’s world-famous lakes, Como, where it will be unveiled to the public for the first time. It was on the adjacent Lake Maggiore where, on 1 September 1937, Campbell established his legend, setting a world-record speed of 126.33 mph in the famous Bluebird K3 boat powered by a Rolls-Royce R Engine.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection:
Waterspeed Collection Phantom Drophead Coupés feature a number of exclusively created Bespoke design and engineering features, perfectly executed to create a thoroughly contemporary tribute to Campbell’s famous craft.
“This very special motor car serves to pay a perfect homage to my grandfather’s remarkable acts of British daring and endeavour,” said Donald Wales, grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell. “The extraordinary attention-to-detail and commitment to engineering excellence so evident in these motor cars perfectly echoes the lengths my grandfather and his colleagues went to in their pursuit of the waterspeed records.”
The car is finished in a specially developed ‘Maggiore Blue’ exterior paint, inspired by Bluebird’s famous colour scheme. Nine layers of paint are applied before an exhaustive process of hand-sanding and the application of a cutting-edge powdered lacquer is undertaken to ensure an impeccable finish. For the first time in Rolls-Royce history the exterior finish extends to the engine, creating a visually striking homage to the power behind Campbell’s records. The finish also adorns the car’s specially developed, fully-polished eleven-spoke wheels for the first time, providing a subtle decorative accent.
The exterior is completed with a hand-painted coachline that culminates in a Bluebird motif with the design taking Rolls-Royce’s master coachline painter four hours to apply by hand.
Phantom Drophead Coupé’s traditional teak decking to the rear makes way for brushed steel. Each piece of material is individually panel-beaten by hand for 70 hours following initial mechanical pressing. A Rolls-Royce craftsperson will then hand-brush the metal for over 10 hours – showcasing the fastidious attention to detail and commitment to hand-craftsmanship that informs everything undertaken at the Home of Rolls-Royce.
The car’s Maggiore Blue exterior finish is subtly echoed on the interior via accents on the dash-board that perfectly complement the Windchill Grey interior leather scheme. The marque’s hallmark attention to detail extends to the application of hand-engraved door armrest tunnel caps featuring a new interpretation of Campbell’s famous Bluebird motif. The armrests alone take eight hours to complete. Abachi wood also makes its Rolls-Royce debut in Waterspeed. By nature the material is cool to the touch with a satin-like tactility, and is bookmatched at an angle to echo the wake left by a boat moving at speed.
Further reference to Campbell’s craft is made via a new interpretation of the famous ‘power reserve’ dial. As the driver presses on, the dial moves backwards towards a yellow and blue zone, echoing Campbell’s original K3 boat’s ‘going into the blue’ at maximum engine revolutions. A Bespoke front-lit clock adorned with Bluebird’s infinity symbol and dials hewn from a billet of aluminium evokes K3 further. Direct tribute to the records is paid in the glovebox, with a hand-embroidered panel expressing the records Campbell achieved at Lake Maggiore and Coniston Water. Finally, the steering wheel is presented in two-tone for the very first time, with Magiorre Blue accents balancing perfectly with traditional black leather to complete a beautifully conceived interior design scheme.