Coachbuilt — The Boat Tail


CoachbuiltThe Boat Tail

For many, Lago di Como is seen as the honey pot for all things elegant and tasteful, as its tranquil waters circumnavigated by an undulating mountainous green backdrop provides the ultimate setting, perfect for any unveiling — especially one of this magnitude. It was there I travelled early October eschewing the customary UK downpour for the artistic skies and stylish symphony of life that makes Lake Como so coveted.

Truth be told, you never need a reason to visit the region, but my focal point for this particular journey was a spectacular coachbuild by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and arguably their most ambitious build to date. All Rolls-Royce cars are bespoke – in the truest sense of the word – yet even by their standards this one is extraordinary.

Dubbed the “Boat Tail” this is not an amphibious-type Bond car as the name may suggest but a vehicle inspired by the luxury marine design, a land yacht if you will, boasting a bespoke silhouette giving the car an air of constant motion, and a rear-decking covering the “boot” space that luxury boat-makers Riva Yachts would be proud of.

“The overall stance has this rear inclination; you notice that the leading edge on the fender, the a-pillar connection to the door and even the trailing edge — everything is just subtly rigged rearwards. It’s complimented further by the up-sweep of the lower line and it almost looks like it’s in motion.”

Alex Innes , Head of Coachbuilding, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Before the grand reveal at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este was another reveal, one more intimate and — in my opinion — more fitting of the personal yet collaborative masterpiece that is the Boat Tail at the Mandarin Oriental. After all the car is a bespoke a triumph in relationship between craftsman and customer, imagination and design, as the Rolls-Royce Head of Coachbuilding Alex Innes tells me, a project that “showcases the artisanship that only found at the House of Rolls-Royce and Goodwood, a thoroughly contemporary composition.”

“It is a truly historic moment for the marque. We are leading a modern coachbuilding movement that takes the wider luxury industry into an entirely different space, where hyper-personalisation and contemporary patronage provide essentially limitless possibilities.”

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The Boat Tail is not only a collaboration between client and coachbuilder but also between venerated artisans. A great example of this is the involvement of master-watchmaker Bovet 1822 — the client’s favourite — who spent 3000 hours developing the dashboard clock.

A bespoke tourbillon design was needed to overcome a novel challenge; being able to perform vertically as well as it did horizontally on wrist. A challenge for both watchmaker and coachbuilder alike, this required a never seen before car dashboard mounting system that had to adhere to stringent parameters, such as vibration, temperature, humidity, along with safety precautions in automotive crash tests. This timepiece can be used in car and on wrist, and Bovet 1822 even went as far as to design a secondary timepiece for the patron’s partner, should she so desire to change it.

“You have beautiful human beings, and you have extraordinary human beings. Their lives are synced into the spirit of family, beauty, true luxury. Handmade in small numbers is the essence of their understanding.”

Pascal Raffy, Managing Director, Bovet 1822

It’s collaborations like this that form the heart of the Boat Tail’s design and truly wrap it around the individual needs of the Rolls-Royce customer; coachbuilding allows this freedom and flexibility. As such other luxury artisans partnered to adorn further personalise the Boat Tail, with additions such as the fridge with fast cooling function for champagne, the bespoke Boat Tail Christofle flatware, and the unique Montblanc pen that presents itself from the glovebox, giving examples of just some of the bespoke Boat Tail features made known to public eyes and ears.

Bespoke Montblanc pen

Given the vast expense at which the Boat Tail was created, the nature of the project is destined to be misunderstood by some, but please remember one thing; it’s the wonders of the past that inspire us today, and the wonders of today that will inspire future generations.

The Boat Tail is a landmark creation, a communication to the future of design showcasing the brilliance of man’s capabilities and artistry of the world that went before. In the same way that we marvelled at yesteryear’s creations during the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, so the Boat Tail will cause wonder for generations to come, showing them that there is beauty in this maelstrom that is life, and it’s okay to set sail with your dreams — even while you’re still on land.

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