After a hundred years, Rolls-Royce figures its Flying Lady mascot was in need of a little update.
There aren't many automakers still using hood ornaments. Jaguar has largely done away with its leaping cat ornament. Bentley offers its Flying B almost exclusively on the Mulsanne. Mercedes still caps the nose on some of its automobiles with its three-pointed star, but that's really more of a protruding emblem, and in any case has been replaced by large grille emblems on many of its products. The hood ornament is almost exclusively the realm of Rolls-Royce these days.
The Spirit of Ecstasy has been the Goodwood automaker's mascot for over a hundred years now, and has stayed remarkably faithful to the original design even after a century of use. But Rolls is now offering its customers some novel takes on the flying lady ornament. The standard mascot comes in stainless steel, but buyers can also opt for hood ornaments plated in (or even made of solid) silver or gold. There have been reports of one Phantom driving around with a diamond-encrusted hood ornament. Now we hear Rolls is offering an illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy as well, having first appeared on the 102EX a prototype for an electric Phantom.
But with that project taken off the table for the time being, Goodwood is apparently offering the lighted Flying Lady across its standard production range. In addition to the steel, silver and gold mascots, buyers will be able to choose the polycarbonate version with internal lighting, or a standard one bathed in a ring of light. They can be ordered on a new Phantom or Ghost, or retrofitted to existing ones. Whichever hood ornament is chosen, it stays (relatively) safe from theft or vandalism by retracting automatically when the car is parked, keeps pedestrians safe by quickly retracting if any force is detected and can be retracted manually at the push of a button.