Warm those credit cards up, billionaires.
Rolls-Royce filed a patent on July 20 with the European Union Intellectual Property Office for the word "Droptail." This will most likely be the name carried by the next generation of automotive artworks created by its in-house coachbuilding department.
Five years ago, Rolls-Royce unveiled the one-off Sweptail at Villa d'Este. It was built for an unnamed wealthy individual who wanted a bespoke coachbuilt car to go with his collection of yachts and planes.
The Sweptail was a gorgeous creation, rumored to have cost around $12 million. It created waves amongst the ultra-rich, many of whom phone Rolls-Royce to commission their own bespoke cars. The considerable interest in the Sweptail led to Rolls-Royce re-establishing its Coachbuild department to create hand-built cars for the filthy rich.
The Rolls-Royce Sweptail was replaced with the Boat Tail. Only three will be built, and the first model made its debut in May 2021. The second Boat Tail was unveiled a year later, and we'll likely only see the third model in May 2023.
There are two levels of bespoke at Rolls-Royce. You get the standard bespoke commissions, where Rolls-Royce will create a one-off using the various paint, leather, light, headliner, and coachlines to develop a one-off based on an existing platform like the Ghost and Cullinan. These cars are for multi-millionaires.
The billionaires get access to the entire bespoke coachbuilding department, where Rolls-Royce builds custom bodies for the Phantom platform. As you can imagine, this is a costly exercise. The Boat Tail is rumored to have cost $28 million.
Don't expect to see the Droptail anytime soon, however. Rolls-Royce still has one Boat Tail left to go, and previous patent applications reveal that these creations take time. Rolls-Royce initially filed the patent for the Boat Tail in 2018, and we only saw the production version in 2021.
The Droptail will follow the same path. Rolls-Royce likely already has some customers in mind, and they'll be invited to Goodwood, or perhaps Dubai, to sit down with the kind folks in the design department to come up with something truly bespoke and beautiful.