Is this the world’s most ex­pen­sive new car?

The Star Early Edition - - EXOTICS -

Villa d’Este, Italy – THIS IS not an ex­ist­ing Rolls-Royce model with spe­cial fea­tures added by the Be­spoke di­vi­sion at Good­wood, nor is it a show car.

This is a unique coach­built two seater de­signed by and for a cus­tomer who also col­lects clas­sic yachts and vin­tage air­craft (yes – he is very, very wealthy) as a mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the flam­boy­ant stream­lined bod­ies fit­ted to Roll­sRoyce chas­sis in the 1920s and 30s.

He brought his ideas to Roll­sRoyce in 2013 where he and de­sign di­rec­tor Giles Tay­lor de­vel­oped an un­der­stand­ing of what the cus­tomer was ask­ing for – a two-seat coupé with a long, sweep­ing all-glass roof over a boat-tail rear deck; a con­tra­dic­tion in terms, if you will, but a strik­ingly dra­matic one.

Over the next four years Tay­lor and his team brought the cus­tomer’s dis­tinct vi­sion to life - and the re­sult of this one-off coach­build project is the unique Rolls-Royce Swep­tail.

The clas­sic up­right front treat­ment is cen­tred on the largest grille on any mod­ern-era Rolls-Royce, and a brushed-alu­minium frame was added to the front end in place of a con­ven­tional bumper.

The rather Amer­i­can-look­ing pro­file echoes the ‘stream­line’ sedans of the 1930s, with the most dra­mat­i­cally stretched but still beau­ti­fully un­der­stated C-pil­lar we’ve ever seen.

The sweep­ing roofline ex­tends past the edge of the body, ta­per­ing in­wards at the same time to cre­ate a raked stern in­spired by the iconic rac­ing yachts of the 1920s – and the rear body­work also curves in un­der the car with no vis­i­ble cor­ners or seams, again echo­ing the sleek per­fec­tion of a clas­sic sail­boat.

But the most dra­matic fea­ture of this car is the one specif­i­cally re­quested by the cus­tomer – a one­piece glass roof, one of the big­gest and most com­plex on any car, framed by pol­ished alu­minium rails.

The in­te­rior, how­ever, is a mas­ter­piece of min­i­mal­ism, set in rare and beau­ti­ful ma­te­ri­als; it’s fin­ished in pol­ished macas­sar ebony and open­pore pal­dao wood ve­neer, trimmed in beige and ivory leather.

As in the boat-tailed road­sters of the 1920s, the en­tire area be­hind the seats is pan­elled in wood, form­ing a mid-shelf with an il­lu­mi­nated glass lip, and a hat shelf with pol­ished rails that ex­tends right down to the end of the roofline, ac­cessed through a sep­a­rate, open­ing rear win­dow.

The macas­sar ebony dash­board is the clean­est to date on any Roll­sRoyce, with only one con­trol, and the iconic dash­board clock which has ti­ta­nium hands.

The cherry on the top is the hand­made mechanism in­side the cen­tre con­sole chiller.

At the touch of a but­ton, it brings up two cham­pagne flutes and a bot­tle of cham­pagne, tilted to the per­fect an­gle for the owner to pick it up.

The cost of this ex­er­cise in au­to­mo­tive per­fec­tion is es­ti­mated at around £10 mil­lion (R166 mil­lion) mak­ing it ar­guably the world’s most ex­pen­sive new car.

- IOL Motoring

Dra­mat­i­cally-styled Swep­tail is a one-off car built for a wealthy cus­tomer.

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