- 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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