WRAITH EA­GLE VIII

DRIV3R.world - - NEW CAR PREVIEW - Source: Rolls-Royce

A Col­lec­tion of just 50 Wraith Ea­gle VIII mo­tor cars will tell the epic tale of one of the most piv­otal mo­ments of the 20th cen­tury.

Cap­tain John Al­cock and Lieu­tenant Arthur Brown braved un­charted skies to make the first non-stop transat­lantic flight in June, 1919. Con­tem­po­raries of Sir Henry Royce, Al­cock and Brown flew non-stop from St. John’s, New­found­land to Clif­den, Ire­land in a mod­i­fied First World War Vickers Vimy bomber air­craft. The bi-plane was pow­ered by twin 20.3 litre, 350 bhp, Rolls-Royce Ea­gle VIII en­gines. It is from this re­mark­able en­gine that this Col­lec­tion takes its name. Rolls-Royce marks the 100 year an­niver­sary of this feat with a highly con­tem­po­rary Col­lec­tion that speaks to today’s ad­ven­tur­ers, whilst honour­ing those who changed the course of history.

“I do not know what we should most ad­mire their au­dac­ity, de­ter­mi­na­tion, skill, sci­ence, their aero­plane, their Rolls-Royce en­gines - or their good for­tune”, com­mented Sir Win­ston Churchill, fol­low­ing the per­ilous jour­ney that brought un­fath­omable ad­vance­ment to 20th cen­tury so­ci­ety.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive, Rolls-Royce Mo­tor Cars, com­mented, “Wraith Ea­gle VIII is at once an ob­ject of de­sire; an homage to he­roes and a pro­tag­o­nist to today’s vi­sion­ar­ies. This Roll­sRoyce Col­lec­tion demon­strates the ex­tra­or­di­nary skill of our Be­spoke Col­lec­tive at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Good­wood, West Sus­sex. Be­spoke re­mains the jewel in the crown of the mar­que, cre­at­ing lux­ury items that defy the trend of mass lux­ury man­u­fac­tur­ers us­ing ‘tick-box’ op­tions to an­swer cus­tomer de­mand.”

The ex­te­rior of the Wraith Ea­gle VIII Col­lec­tion Car is evoca­tive of Al­cock and Brown’s com­pelling night time ad­ven­ture. Swathed in Gun­metal with a Selby Grey up­per two-tone, the colours are sep­a­rated by a brass fea­ture line, a hint at the de­tail­ing that lies within. The black grille vanes draw im­me­di­ate ref­er­ence to the Rolls-Royce Ea­gle VIII en­gine cowl­ing on the Vickers Vimy air­craft, the wheels are part pol­ished with a translu­cent shadow fin­ish.

Within, the finely ex­e­cuted in­te­rior mir­rors the ex­te­rior hue. Selby Grey and black leather are ac­cented by brass, redo­lent of the brass sex­tant so in­te­gral to the suc­cess of the transat­lantic jour­ney. Ex­e­cuted in a con­tem­po­rary fash­ion, the ma­te­rial pop­u­lates key ar­eas through­out the cock­pit of the Col­lec­tion. Brass speaker cov­ers de­pict the es­ti­mated flight dis­tance of 1,880 miles and ‘RR’ mono­grams are em­broi­dered in brass coloured thread onto head­rests. A flash of brass com­ple­ments the nav­i­ga­tor door paniers, whilst the door of the driver in­cludes a brass plaque with Churchill’s quote com­mend­ing the duo’s re­mark­able achieve­ments. In­spired by the night time flight of our in­trepid he­roes, the fas­cia rep­re­sents a mod­ern-day ab­stract in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the view the pair would have en­joyed as fi­nally, their craft cleared the thick fog and cloud. In a fu­sion of con­tem­po­rary and tra­di­tional prac­tices, Smoked Eu­ca­lyp­tus wood is vac­uum met­al­ized in gold be­fore be­ing in­laid with sil­ver and cop­per, to de­pict the rich de­tail seen in night time images of the Earth from above. The scene ex­tends to the cen­tre con­sole pro­vid­ing both an emo­tive and im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence for today’s oc­cu­pants – the cock­pit is in per­spec­tive with the head­liner. Be­low, the brass-stitched quilted sides of the cen­tre tun­nel pro­vide a di­rect nod to the V12 en­gined Vickers Vimy.

The clock of a Rolls-Royce is fre­quently viewed as jew­ellery, with many pa­trons choos­ing this can­vas to tell the story of their mo­tor car in minia­ture. Wraith Ea­gle VIII is no ex­cep­tion. Our in­trepid pi­o­neers re­counted that their in­stru­ment panel was frozen from the high al­ti­tude and the poor con­di­tions, re­fer­ring to the only il­lu­mi­na­tion com­ing from the green glow of the con­trol panel light­ing and the burst of flame from the star­board en­gine. In homage to this, the Rolls-Royce Be­spoke Col­lec­tive has mas­ter­fully fab­ri­cated a clock with an iced back­ground ef­fect which glows a faint green in night time driv­ing con­di­tions. The red hour hand sits atop com­pass in­spired lines on the clock’s fas­cia, whilst the land­ing lo­ca­tion co­or­di­nates are en­graved be­low.

Per­haps the most al­lur­ing fea­ture of the Col­lec­tion is the ex­tra­or­di­nary unique starlight head­liner. 1,183 starlight fi­bres show the ce­les­tial arrangemen­t at the time of the flight in 1919, the flight path and con­stel­la­tions are em­broi­dered in brass thread, whilst the ex­act mo­ment the pair left the cloud to nav­i­gate by the stars is in­di­cated by a red fi­bre op­tic light. Clouds are em­broi­dered and a plaque read­ing, “The ce­les­tial arrangemen­t at the half­way point 00:17am June 15th 1919, 50” 07’ Lat­i­tude North – 31” Lon­gi­tude West” shows the half-way point of the mo­men­tous jour­ney.

Just 50 of these highly col­lectable mo­tor cars will be cre­ated for dis­cern­ing col­lec­tors.

It is a jour­ney back in time, with Con­cours d’ Elé­gance Dur­ban, as the sec­ond an­nual com­pe­ti­tion of el­e­gance re­turns to the city.

Steeped in tra­di­tion, as one of the most distin­guished clas­sic car show­cases in the world, Con­cours d’ Elé­gance Dur­ban cel­e­brates the coun­try’s au­to­mo­bile her­itage and the art of me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing.

Set in the pic­turesque back­drop of Dur­ban Coun­try Club, over­look­ing the In­dian Ocean, the renowned event, at­tracts an im­pres­sive gath­er­ing of the coun­try’s most el­e­gant col­lec­tor’s cars, all com­pet­ing for the ti­tle – Best of Show.

An­other great coup for Con­cours d’ Elé­gance Dur­ban this year is the in­clu­sion of the vintage and clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cle class.

“We wel­come clas­sic car own­ers to chron­i­cle their time­less clas­sics, vintage or vet­eran mas­ter­pieces or mo­tor­cy­cles in the pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion of chic so­phis­ti­ca­tion. We have been im­pressed with the over­whelm­ing re­sponse and pleased that we will soon reach ca­pac­ity in the car and mo­tor­cy­cle di­vi­sions. We look for­ward to pro­vid­ing our guests with a world class event, where they can en­joy this vintage ex­pe­ri­ence of fine wheels and old-fash­ioned flare,” says event or­gan­iser John Aritho. Flanked by a top judg­ing panel in­clud­ing distin­guished in­ter­na­tional crit­ics,

Con­cours d’ Elé­gance Dur­ban sets the tone for au­to­mo­tive ex­cel­lence, whilst bring­ing in touches of French shabby chic flair in fash­ion, food and drink.

The over­all win­ner was the 1971 Fer­rari Dino 246GT which was hon­oured with the “Best of Show” tro­phy and a mo­men­tous “yel­low jacket” of ac­claim.

DRIV3R.world at­tended both the judg­ing and the pub­lic day at Con­cours d’ Elé­gance Dur­ban. It was won­der­ful chat­ting to the owner as well as the builder of the Fer­rari Dino about the year-long ground-up restora­tion of this in­cred­i­ble car. The at­ten­tion to de­tail that has gone into pre­par­ing this years win­ner is mind blow­ing. Well done guys!

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