Rumored to cost $13 million.
Unveiled at Villa d’Este over the weekend, this is the spectacularly over-the-top Rolls-Royce Sweptail, a complete one-off built specially for a client who reportedly paid in the region of 10 million GBP for the car. Rolls-Royce says the client approached them back in 2013 requesting a one-off luxury car to go with his collection of superyachts and private aircraft. Working closely with Director of Design at Rolls-Royce, Giles Taylor, over the years the client’s vision of a coachbuilt two-seater coupe featuring a large panoramic glass roof took shape.
Inspired by his favorite models of the early 20th century as well as modern and classic yachts, the result is this completely unique car. In creating the car, designers considered models such as 1925 Phantom I Round Door built by Jonckheere for its drama and grandeur; the 1934 Phantom II Streamline Saloon by Park Ward for its svelte tapering glasshouse, dramatic dash to axle proportion and up-sweep of the rear departure angle; the 1934 Gurney Nutting Phantom II Two Door Light Saloon for its elegantly falling waist-rail, swept tail coachwork; and the 1934 Park Ward 20/25 Limousine Coupe for its flowing roofline and rising departure angle.
“Our job was to guide, edit and finely hone the lines that would ultimately give our client this most perfect of Rolls-Royces,” comments Taylor. Head on, the Sweptail is immediately distinguished by the Pantheon grille, milled from solid aluminum before being hand-polished to a mirror finish.
In profile, the scale and unique silhouette of the Sweptail is evident with its elegant, flowing lines, fast accelerating roofline that flows from the edge of the windscreen to beyond the boot lid, and the longer side window graphic and wide C-pillar finisher. From behind, the Sweptail’s racing yacht influence is most apparent with its raked stern and bodywork that wraps under the car akin to the hull of a yacht. The progressive upward sweep at the rear departure angle of the car culminates in a swept-tail that gives the car its name. The ‘bullet-tip’ point that ends the center line of the car houses the center brake light, while the uncluttered rear boasts the registration number ’08,’ two individual digits milled from ingots of hand-polished aluminum.
Arguably its most impressive feature, however, is the uninterrupted glass roof, one of the largest and most complex ever made, allowing for the cabin to be flooded with natural light. Liberal amounts of polished Macassar Ebony and open-pore Paldao adorn the interior, the dark and light wood combination contrasting beautifully with the Moccasin and Dark Spice leathers that cover the seats, armrests and dash. Adopting a minimalist approach, the dashboard has just one control, with all other switchgear discreetly relocated. Crafted from the thinnest Macassar veneer, the face of the Rolls-Royce clock has been made to appear as if it’s embedded into the fascia and the result is sublime.
The only physical elements on the clock are the titanium hands, which are lit up via rear illumination. Titanium has also been used for the faces, numbers and hands on all three instrument dials. Behind the two seats is a vast expanse of wood, creating a mid-shelf with illuminated glass lip, and a hat shelf inset with luggage rails accessed via the rear opening backlight. If that wasn’t enough, the Sweptail has two hidden features worthy of a Bond car. On either side of the car, concealed in the outboard walls are two identical panniers that, when activated, deploy forward to present a bespoke leather-wrapped carbon-fiber attache case with aluminum and titanium clasps and locks that contains the owner’s laptop. A full set of luggage matches the cases.
The coup de gras of the one-off masterpiece, however, is the center console. At the touch of a button, a hand-built mechanism deploys a bottle of the client’s favorite champagne, the year of his birth, and two crystal champagne flutes. As the chiller lid opens, the bottle is articulated to the perfect position for the owner to pick it up.