Goodwood flexes its coachbuilding muscles.
In the modern age, the idea of a coachbuilt car is nothing short than a flight of fancy. Steadily however, coachbuilding has made a return, giving us some truly exceptional vehicles. Coachbuilding is best described as automotive plastic surgery: The bones of the donor car are retained, while the flesh gets augmented to fit whatever desire that the it’s intended to fulfil.
In 2013, Rolls-Royce was approached by one of its most esteemed clients, described as an individual with exacting tastes, and a collector of super-yachts and automobiles. This client then described to the good people at Goodwood about his dream of a Rolls-Royce that would encapsulate the romance and elegance of a yacht, with the presence and command of a Rolls-Royce motorcar. And at this years’ Concours d’Eleganza, that dream was finally realised in the form of the Rolls-Royce Sweptail.
Rolls-Royce themselves describe it as one of the most flamboyant expressions of a motor car that there has ever been. “The grandeur, scale, flamboyance and drama of the 1925 Phantom I Round Door built by Jonckheere; the svelte tapering glasshouse, dramatic dash to axle proportion and up-sweep of the rear departure angle of the 1934 Phantom II Streamline Saloon by Park Ward, the elegantly falling waist-rail, swept tail coachwork of the 1934 Gurney Nutting Phantom II Two Door Light Saloon, and the flowing roofline, rising departure angle, and again the swept tail coachwork of the 1934 Park Ward 20/25 Limousine Coupé were all considered by today’s Rolls-Royce designers in the creation of this very distinctive motor car.”
The clients’ love of exclusive yachts served as the inspiration for the Sweptail, with its its lines congregating elegantly at the rear. This is a large, over-the-top grand-tourer, with seating for two, making this the most exclusive intercontinental tourer in the world. “The Sweptail is the automotive equivalent of Haute Couture,” said the Rolls-Royce Director of Design, Mr. Giles Taylor. This hand-tailored car took into account every whim and fancy of the client it’s designed to fit, and even features a champagne-bottle holder inside the cabin, along with secret compartments to fit special attache cases.
“A most personal, coachbuilt Rolls-Royce for a specific customer, every aspect of the material treatment of ‘Sweptail’ exudes handcrafted quality and exacting attention to detail. In short, it is a Rolls-Royce – but like no other before.” And with a rumoured price tag of $13mil (or about $17.5mil), that makes it the most expensive new car in the world. Fitting, no?