A Cel­e­bra­tion of Per­fec­tion

Rolls-Royce com­mem­o­rates 10 years of suc­cess at Good­wood with an exclusive collection of be­spoke mo­tor cars. Karl Pes­kett learns about the in­tri­ca­cies of the de­sign.

Pinnacle (Singapore) - - AURA -

Rolls-Royce afi­ciona­dos will well re­mem­ber New Year’s Day of 2003 as a his­toric oc­ca­sion for the brand.

While ev­ery­one else toasted the be­gin­ning of yet an­other 365 days, Rolls-Royce staff were busy gath­er­ing in the Chich­ester coun­try­side.

The res­o­lu­tions they made that day weren’t just about spend­ing more time with the kids or go­ing on a nice hol­i­day. It was about cre­at­ing per­fec­tion.

Rolls-Royce’s Good­wood fa­cil­ity was of­fi­cially opened on Jan­uary 1, 2003 and the first Phan­tom was pre­sented to its owner at a minute past mid­night. This was the car that not only rein­vig­o­rated the brand, but also placed Rolls-Royce at the pin­na­cle of au­to­mo­tive en­gi­neer­ing. And those who have since made the trip to Good­wood will un­doubt­edly agree that the fac­tory is as much of an enig­matic marvel as the Phan­toms which are cre­ated within.

With the en­tire roof of the fa­cil­ity cov­ered in green se­dum plants, the build­ing has been

de­signed to blend into its sur­rounds. And be­cause it is also set low in the grounds, there’s hardly any way to see the fac­tory un­til you’re vir­tu­ally on top of it.The chrome sig­nage, with the iconic Rolls-Royce logo em­bla­zoned across it, is per­haps the only give­away.

With min­i­mal im­pact on its sur­round­ings, the Good­wood plant is rated as one of the least in­va­sive fac­to­ries in the mo­tor­ing world. Over 400,000 trees and shrubs were planted dur­ing the land­scap­ing of the grounds, and sky­larks have been known to nest and brood on the roof. And the fa­cil­ity has man­aged to ex­pand over the past 10 years while still re­main­ing com­pletely un­ob­tru­sive.

The ex­pan­sion of Good­wood was pri­mar­ily for the ac­com­mo­da­tion of new Phan­tom vari­ants and the pro­duc­tion of Ghost and Wraith mod­els. But with in­ces­sant or­ders be­ing placed for per­son­alised Phan­toms, it has also been nec­es­sary to in­crease the be­spoke team’s foot­print in terms of space as well as head­count.

Rolls-Royce has also seen un­prece­dented de­mand for its cars on the back of its be­spoke busi­ness, and Richard Col­lar, Head of Be­spoke Sales and Mar­ket­ing, can vouch for this. He says: “In the past decade, we’ve had a steady in­crease in our per­son­alised busi­ness. For ex­am­ple, in the Mid­dle East, vir­tu­ally 100 per cent of Phan­tom and Ghost pro­duc­tion have an el­e­ment of per­son­al­i­sa­tion.”

The scope of the team is quite sim­ply a spec­trum of pos­si­bil­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to Col­lar. “It can be some­thing as sim­ple as a cer­tain thread for con­trast stitch­ing. It can also be a unique leather colour, a new paint, a spe­cific wood ve­neer, a per­son­alised head­rest em­broi­dery, or a per­son­alised tread­plate,” he says.

“Be­spoke can be some­thing un­der­stated and mod­est, or it can be bold and out­ra­geous, and yet it’s ev­ery­thing in the mid­dle.”

This year, the be­spoke team is tasked with cre­at­ing a spe­cial se­ries of cars to cel­e­brate a decade of suc­cess at Good­wood. Stay­ing true to the phi­los­o­phy of Rolls-Royce co-founder Sir Henry Royce, the team has cre­ated the im­pres­sively in­tri­cate Home of Rolls-Royce Collection.

The glove­box in this exclusive se­ries fea­tures a “cel­e­bra­tion” mar­quetry ac­cent made of no less than 11 dif­fer­ent types of wood. Echo­ing the dif­fer­ent ve­neers used through­out Ghost and Phan­tom in­te­ri­ors, sy­camore, holly and sat­in­wood were cho­sen, and ap­pli­ca­tions of var­i­ous tech­niques lend a shadow ef­fect that cre­ates an il­lu­sion of depth.

Rolls-Royce ve­hi­cles are ex­ported to ev­ery cor­ner of the globe, and this ex­plains why the mo­tif used through­out the car’s de­sign is that of a com­pass. Stitch­ing the com­plex pat­terns onto the arm­rests and con­soles is an ar­du­ous af­fair – crafts­men spend over an hour com­plet­ing each piece, with 112,533 stitches ap­plied us­ing pre­ci­sion em­broi­dery ma­chines that per­form 1,000 stitches per minute. Af­ter a week, and a 22-stage paint process, Rolls-Royce’s coach­line pain­ter Mark Court then spends six gru­elling hours paint­ing not only the coach­line, but also a half-com­pass mo­tif.The fi­nal touch sees the co­or­di­nates of Good­wood en­graved onto the tread­plates, the um­brella han­dles, and the pedestal of the Spirit of Ec­stasy fig­urine.

Re­gard­less of how oner­ous the cre­ation of each de­sign el­e­ment is, there is no rush­ing pro­duc­tion at Good­wood.

Be­cause per­fec­tion takes time.

“Take the best that ex­ists and make it bet­ter. When it doesn’t ex­ist, de­sign it.”

– The late Sir Henry Royce

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