A stunning one-off customised Rolls-Royce with an estimated $12 million price tag swept into the record books when the wraps came off today.
The highly-personalised two-seater Rolls-Royce Sweptail, which takes its styling cues from luxury yachts, is believed to be the most expensive new car ever built and harks back to the ‘golden age’ of grand touring.
The epitome of personalised luxury, the bespoke coupe was commissioned by an unnamed super-wealthy customer and unveiled at one of the world’s most exclusive car shows in Italy, the Concorso d’Eleganza the the Villa d’Este on the shore of Lake Como.
The Sweptail also has some secret and stylish James Bond-esque touches designed to ‘surprise and delight.’
The centre console houses a one-off hand-built mechanism that, at the touch of a button, deploys a bottle of the client’s favourite vintage champagne – from the year of his birth – and two crystal champagne flutes. As the lid of the chiller opens, the mechanical action articulates the bottle to the perfect position for the owner to pick up.
And two concealed secret exterior compartments house attaché cases with the owner’s computer lap-tops.
The grand-tourer in the ‘romantic tradition’ features a large panoramic glass roof and takes its name from the ‘swept-tail’ design of coach-built Rolls-Royces of the 1920s and ‘30s.
Rolls-Royce spent four years with the new owner who commissioned the car, which is powered by an effortless 6.75-litre V12 engine.
Intriguingly, it bears the number-plate ‘08’ which is perhaps a nod to the forthcoming launch of next generation Phantom VIII limousine – set to replace from next year the Phantom VII which ended production after a lengthy run from 2003.
Rolls-Royce prides itself upon its growing ‘bespoke’ arm but admits even it was taken aback by the ambitions of this customer.
A Rolls-Royce spokesman said: ‘In 2013, Rolls-Royce was approached by one of its most valued customers with a very particular request. A connoisseur and collector of distinctive, one-off items including super-yachts and private aircraft, this gentleman came to Rolls-Royce to realise his vision of a one-off luxury motor car like no other.
‘He approached the marque with his own idea of a two-seat Rolls-Royce that he wanted to be created in the here and now.
‘The client immediately established a close rapport with the design department led by Taylor, who set about bringing the idea to life.’
The spokesman added: ‘As a connoisseur of Rolls-Royces, he was inspired by many of his favourite cars from the marque’s golden era of the early 20th Century, as well as many classic and modern yachts.’
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars chief executive officer Torsten Müller-Ötvös said: ‘Sweptail is a truly magnificent car. It exudes the romance of travel for its own sake, and immediately places “Sweptail” in the pantheon of the world’s great intercontinental tourers.
‘Sweptail’ is proof, today, that Rolls-Royce is at the pinnacle of coachbuilding. We are listening carefully to our most special customers and assessing their interest in investing in similar, completely exclusive coachbuilt masterpieces.’
Through this commission, Rolls-Royce has proven once again to be the world’s leading luxury goods provider.
Rolls-Royce director of design Giles Taylor said: ‘Sweptail is the automotive equivalent of Haute Couture.
‘It is a Rolls-Royce designed and hand-tailored to fit a specific customer. This customer came to the House of Rolls-Royce with an idea, shared in the creative process where we advised him on his cloth, and then we tailored that cloth to him. You might say we cut the cloth for the suit of clothes that he will be judged by.’
The new car has been inspired by past classics including the 1925 Phantom I Round Door built by Jonckheere; the 1934 Phantom II Streamline Saloon by Park Ward; the 1934 Gurney Nutting Phantom II Two Door Light Saloon, and the swept-tail coachwork of the 1934 Park Ward 20/25 Limousine Coupé.