Never has there been a brand so synonymous with luxury than Rolls-Royce. You can go anywhere in the world, and people automatically equate Rolls with the finer things in life. It comes then as no surprise that the luxury car maker has a bespoke service for customers wanting a little more personalization to their vehicles. From custom paint choices to all the shiny bits on the interior, there is nary a place that Rolls-Royce won’t refine for its discerning owners. Recently I had the enviable chance to drive just such a car, and it was every bit of heaven you could imagine.
My day started like any other: me sitting in front of a computer screen typing away, wondering when I’d be free from the confines of my office. Having had just driven another Rolls-Royce the week before, my anticipation for this particular car (a powder blue Wraith) was low. Surely, after having worked in the luxury sector for The Snob magazine for more than 8 years, I have had my fair share of wild and expensive cars. This Wraith, though bespoke in nature, would not be something to extract me from my current mood. Then the car came.
Sitting there, parked in front of my house, was a dream machine. I had seen images of the car before it was to be delivered, and I thought nothing of it. Sure, the rear-hinged doors and powder blue paint were nice touches, but nothing could prepare me for its sheer beauty in person. I stood there, dumbfounded and besotted by such a marvel. At once, I took off down the stairs to sit inside the car. Looking all around at the nuanced touches of this particular car, I couldn’t help but to feel ever so fortunate that this car would be mine for the next few days.
It should be noted that my family is particularly keen to be critical of anything I bring home, be it car or companion. I have learned over the years that if I want my sanctity and sanity to remain intact, then I shouldn’t bring my business to the ever eager eyes of my family. Through the hundreds of cars I have brought home, nothing has gotten more than an “eh” from family members. A $700k limited edition Lamborghini — “eh”. A one of a kind Bentley –“eh”. This day however, my mother came outside her house and said, “that is one beautiful car.” Praise indeed from the matriarch of The Snob.
I wondered to myself what could it be about this car that is eliciting so much excitement within me and my family. The St. James Red Wraith I had the week prior did little to rouse the glee of my luxury acclimated family. For two days, I wondered aloud on this question. Surely, Rolls-Royce has done everyone proud by creating a car that gets jaws wagging and fingers pointing as it drives by. Never had I thought a Rolls could garner so much attention. It is neither loud, nor pretentious. Rolls-Royces, be it a Phantom, Ghost, Wraith or even the forthcoming Dawn, is an exercise in discretion and civility. There is no loud exhaust to be heard, no dramatic design language to comprehend. The cars just have a presence unto themselves.
As for the powder blue Wraith, well, after having picked up friends and shown the car about town in a manner unbecoming of a Snob, I realized that the devil and the beauty of the car was in the details. The $13,000 illuminated headliner, with its more than 1,000 individual LED lights, was always the coup de grace for showcasing what a Rolls-Royce is all about. But even before people got to see the inside of the Wraith, they were taken aback by the rear-hinged doors (known in the U.S. as “suicide doors”). Every time someone would notice me getting out of the car, the inevitable smile would come across their face as they saw how the doors operated. And should your sloth overpower your body, Rolls has you covered by placing two buttons on either side of the vehicle to press, thus actuating a motor to close the doors with no effort on the part of the occupants. Brilliant! Other wonderful thoughts went into the Wraith such as the front fender mounted umbrellas that tuck nicely into their own slots when put away. It happened to be raining on the days I had the car and the umbrellas were a hit with my passengers and my dry clothing.
The bespoke details of my Wraith were numerous. And should another Rolls-Royce owner wonder what to do to pass the time, I suggest pointing out each and every customization that you’ve ordered. This will certainly do your spirits well. Speaking of spirits, the “Spirit of Ecstasy” that sits atop every Roller is a status symbol unto itself. The commanding presence on the hood of the car tells all around that yes, your car is in fact a Rolls and therefore must be given a wide berth and of course everyone’s undivided attention. Problems arise however, during the witching hours when the hood ornament is obscured by darkness. Surely, RR has an answer for this quandary. Naturally they do, and my Wraith was fitted with a light that illuminated the Spirit for those dark hours.
The aftermarket for cars is tremendous. Visiting the SEMA Show (Specialty Equipment Market Association) in Las Vegas, one can witness over 3,000 different vendors vying for the attention of the car customizing loving public. Not to be outdone, the bespoke department of Rolls-Royce can engineer just about anything to your heart’s content. My particular car had wheels that are an optional extra and not found on more pedestrian Wraiths (as if I’d drive something off the lot). The 7-spoke wheels balanced the car nicely and were not some garishly nouveau riche design other, clearly sad, Wraiths have to endure.
Moving to the inside of my bespoke Wraith, you will find an interior that is replete in the smells and soft touches that only the finest cow hides can provide. With state-of-the-art machinery to the cut impeccable hides are impeccable, every Rolls-Royce that comes off the assembly line is exacting in its standard. But when you go bespoke, you get something far more grand. My particular interior had contrast colors and stitching that would make a fashion designer cry tears of envy. The subtle blue balanced nicely with bits of black. And at night, when the headliner was twinkling, the entire car was more an oasis than a conveyance. Surely, when you literally get to choose what constellations and stars shine on your headliner (more than 1,000 individually placed LEDs), magic has to be a part of the formula that makes Rolls-Royce great.
After having driven several Rollers over the past few months, I have come to the conclusion that owning a Rolls-Royce is more than just having a great car. It is a lifestyle and one that cannot be compared with any other car brand. Rolls-Royce, their bespoke program and their entire team have cultivated and curated the most exclusive of clubs, and I am thankful that I have the fortunate opportunity to be a member, even if it is in brief spurts. Getting into and driving a Rolls is like a walk on the clouds. Nothing is forced, and everything is effortless. Luxury is held up by these very tenets. Rolls-Royce it seems, has its hands firmly entwined with what the pinnacle of luxury is. And when you drive a bespoke Rolls, well, that is a class all its very own.