Here at Wanted we are all about luxury, style and exclusivity. We love a bespoke one-off creation and we understand the work that goes in to making something truly unique. Whether it’s a beautifully crafted watch, an elegant tailored outfit or a piece of lovingly sculpted furniture, we appreciate almost all of it for the work that is required and, hopefully, the beauty of the results.
The Rolls-Royce Boat Tail takes that to another level. Rolls says it will make three of the Boat Tails, each unique to each customer — the elite of the elite, if you will. Not surprisingly, the luxury car company won’t disclose a figure, but given that clients have spent about $20m on one-off creations before, we suspect it is that and a bit more.
And what is the Boat Tail? It’s a vast, four-seater convertible with a bit of a nautical theme. To get a better idea we took a look at it with its designer, Alex Innes at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental hotel at Lake Como in Italy.
Innes told us that the customer has an original Rolls Boat Tail from the beginning of the last century. Who doesn’t love something priceless and new to go with something priceless and old?
The so-called horizon or water line, the chrome line that flows across the front above the famous pantheon grille and slim headlights, is a new feature that Innes says not only “stabilises the central design” but also previews a future design direction for the marque. You may have heard it first here, folks.
That’s not the only line that grabbed our attention. There’s a classic line running the length of the side profile, something not present in other models. It reminded us of a Fiat 124 coupe from the 1960s and 70s so we asked Innes if there was any inspiration there? He smiled and said there was a poster of the Fiat on the wall of the design studio, but that he couldn’t possibly comment on whether it provided inspiration.
Then there are the whisper lines, starting prominently and fading away into the bodywork, and the chamfer lines that provide a dynamic look and also hide the edges of the metalwork. A lot goes into the design and engineering of a Rolls-Royce, especially a bespoke one, and that’s before you even get to the craftspeople who actually build it.
The items hidden beneath the electronically opening doors on the car’s boat tail, certainly make for a piece of theatre. At the press of a button the vast wings open up and the picnic sets rise from within. They are surrounded by a combination of elegant wood and carbon fibre, not usually materials which are paired together but the designers came up with the idea to try to reduce weight and the customer agreed it worked.
Five electronic control units ensure everything works in harmony and within those polished consoles are Christofle crockery and Armand de Brignac Champagne. There are solid, rotating cocktail tables, a set of matching stools and a parasol that takes the tradition of an umbrella in the doors of a Roller to an entirely new level.
Then there’s the bespoke Mont Blanc pen in the cubby hole and, finally, the unique Bovet clock in the dash. We were joined for the first official look at the car by none other than Pascal Raffy, owner of Bovet Fleurier, the watch company established early in the 19th century and which Raffy bought in 2001. He explained that the clock can be removed and fitted with a strap so the owner can wear it. There are also his and hers versions, so the clock can be changed depending on who’s driving. Each timepiece takes six months to make and, again, don’t even think about the money involved, though Bovet watches can cost as much as $1m a piece.
Being unique comes at a price, and whether it’s a Bovet watch or the Rolls-Royce Boat Tail, it’s all about being able to afford it.