The date was May 4th, 1904; the place, the opulent Midland Hotel in the heart of industrial Manchester. Two men met that day and in doing so, a central element of motoring history was created.
The men were Henry Royce – an engineer with a vision that the motor car was going to be big business – and Charles Rolls, who had a car sales showroom in London. At that first meeting in Manchester, the two men agreed to work together; Royce would build quality cars, Rolls would sell them through his showroom. Thus, Rolls-Royce was born.
Today, Rolls-Royce is still a name that signifies the very ultimate in luxurious motoring, and as the company celebrates 115 years, it has made a welcome return to coachbuilding, one of the cornerstones of the early days.
Coach-built Bespoke ‘Sweptail’
Rolls-Royces throughout the last century were often fitted with coach-built bodies – requested by wealthy clients who wanted to stand out and having something unique – and while the craft was ended at Rolls-Royce in the 1960’s, in 2017 a wholly coach-built car – the ‘Sweptail’ – was created for a client who, like those of old, wanted a unique motor car.
Stunning to look at with its glorious lines, yet clearly a Rolls-Royce, the Sweptail will never be repeated so is a true one-off, and the interior is equally as unique as the bodywork. Indeed, there can be few cars – if any others – with an interior champagne cooler designed specifically to hold a bottle of Dom Perignon, ’73.
Continuing the bespoke theme, Black Badge is the Rolls-Royce department dealing with specific customer requirements, those who want a Rolls-Royce, but not just any Rolls-Royce – if such a luxurious and magnificent car can be called ‘just any’. The Black Badge models of the current range – the Wraith, Ghost and Dawn – come with an edge, a darker side, with more power and push than the standard models.
These are cars for the daring and discerning, models that come with luxury beyond the norm, and they can be specified in any colour, with many bespoke details too. The Black Badge Rolls-Royce models are the ultimate sign of taste and credibility with their special insignia, and represent the very best in motoring luxury available today.
Rolls-Royce is one of the most famous names in motoring history, and rightly so. That the company is here to mark 115 years of being at the forefront of engineering excellence is something that we should all be thankful for.