Rolls-Royce has revealed a new ultra-exclusive bespoke model that will spearhead the expansion of its coachbuilding service into a distinct business.
The most expensive model that the British marque has yet produced takes the name Boat Tail. Last used for a series of coachbuilt Rolls-Royces in the 1920s and 1930s, it refers to a distinctive rear end that mimics a J-class yacht’s hull.
A bold and imposing two-door, two-seat grand tourer, the car is 5900mm long and has a removable ‘canopy’ roof. Three examples have been hand-built, heavily customised to the desires of their buyers, who were involved throughout the entire design process.
Rolls-Royce Coachbuild Design boss Alex Innes called the creation of the Boat Tail “a unique collaboration” between Rolls-Royce and its clients.
He added: “The clients were totally empowering and encouraging for us to project our future of the brand, and I can stand proudly and say that this is our car; this is the car that we wanted it to be.”
“The clients established at the very beginning that they wanted to create something they had never seen before,” Innes said. “They appreciated the hallmarks of Rolls-Royce design and encouraged us to move beyond the familiar traits that we see today and design something that points towards the future.”
Rolls-Royce boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös said the project has led to the expansion of Goodwood’s bespoke commissioning service into a full Coachbuild division that will henceforth become a core part of its business plan.
“Rolls-Royce Coachbuild is the return to the very roots of our brand,” Müller-Ötvös said. “It represents an opportunity for a select few to participate in the creation of utterly unique and truly personal commissions of future historical significance.”
The Boat Tail has echoes of the Sweptail, a one-off coupé unveiled in 2017. Innes revealed that this prompted a surge in interest from buyers in coachbuilding and served as the starting point for the Boat Tail’s four-year design and development process.
He said: “There has never been a modern interpretation of the Boat Tail bodystyle, and it’s something that we’ve harboured an ambition to do. We’ve had various interpretations on our studio walls and worked on early proposals and concepts.
“The launch of Sweptail stimulated this interest, and we were able to collate a collective of three buyers who had a certain sensibility in terms of understanding of the brand and wanted to be part of creating a modern chapter for it.”