Rolls-Royce makes some of the world’s most luxurious cars. Its name is synonymous with opulence and grandeur in the world of automobiles. Known for their hand-crafted vehicles that offer a magical, seamless ride, owning a Rolls-Royce is a dream for many car enthusiasts. However, it’s no secret that these cars don’t come cheap. The price tag associated with a Rolls-Royce is a reflection of the exceptional quality and attention to detail that goes into each and every one of their vehicles. So, if you’re looking to experience the ultimate in luxury and comfort on the road, be prepared to pay the price.
The Rolls-Royce has been a brand of excellent quality and prestige from its beginnings, and only the elite could put their hands on it. This was confirmed even after the British royal family stopped their contract with Daimler and made a new one with Rolls-Royce. For this purpose, the Phantom IV, a model exclusively for the royal family and top politicians, was made, of which only eighteen pieces were manufactured.
The very first owner of this Phantom was Princess Elizabeth, and after she acceded to the throne, it became the official state vehicle of the United Kingdom. Only sixteen of the original eighteen are still to exist, and some are even used on special occasions such as weddings of both princes.
Here’s a list of the top-selling Rolls-Royce models, along with their starting cost:
- Phantom - $450,000
- Ghost – $314,000
- Wraith – $322,000
- Cullian – $330,000
Rolls-Royce is known for offering a vast array of customization options, making the cost of their bespoke vehicles truly limitless. The company is so committed to personalized experiences that they don’t even have a set base price. As Rhodri Good, a Product Manager at Rolls-Royce, states, “We don’t have a standard base price to talk about since it depends entirely on each customer and the unique features they want to add in collaboration with our bespoke team.”
Have you ever wondered what sets Rolls-Royce apart from other luxury car brands? A big part of it has to do with the unique, personalized features they offer to their customers. But what exactly are these bespoke extras and is that what drives up the price of a Rolls-Royce?
1. Custom-made to consumer specifications
According to David Dean, a Guide at Rolls Royce, the process of customizing the color of a Rolls Royce vehicle is an intricate and unique experience. With a palette of over 44,000 colors to choose from, the team at Rolls Royce is able to match any shade, including replicating a customer’s lipstick or a specific color from their home. In fact, they have even replicated the color of a customer’s pet dog. Once a color is chosen and named by the customer, it is registered to them and cannot be replicated without their permission. The painting process is more than just applying a coat of paint to the vehicle, as it involves at least seven layers of primer, base coat, color, and clear lacquer. On some occasions, up to 23 layers of coating are applied, adding up to a weight of 45 kilograms. The team refers to this process as the Surface Finish Centre, as it goes beyond just painting the car.
In addition to the endless variations of color, Rolls-Royce customers can infuse their paint with materials to create special effects. One particularly wealthy customer went one step further, requesting the addition of 1,000 diamonds.
Dean says there was a customer who was determined to add some extra sparkle to the final product, so he handed over a bag of diamonds. The diamonds were then crushed and infused into the paint, giving it a unique and radiant finish.
The idea is to make you, as the owner, feel unique in every way possible. The pigment will even be registered under your name, and if another customer would like to have the exact colour-code finish, then Rolls-Royce would have to first ask for your permission.
As for the surface finish, it constitutes at least seven layers of coat. Starting from the primers, then the base coats, then the main colour, and finally finished off with two clear coats of lacquer.”
Depending on your preference, a Rolls-Royce can have up to 23 layers of coating, which amounts to roughly 45 kilograms of weight! The beauty of it all is that there’s no standard process when it comes to the embroidery of a Rolls-Royce. Every single aspect of the image you desire has to be carefully analyzed before it makes it onto the body of the car. You’ll notice that with Rolls-Royce, the specialists work towards making the embroidery three-dimensional; almost like having a hologram effect derived from the intricate stitching.
2. Meticulous detailing during the design process
When Rolls-Royce boldly states that all their cars are hand-made, they mean what they say. In fact, every Rolls-Royce car has to pass through the hands of their skilled professionals, who are around 60 in number, before being delivered to the owner.
What really sets Rolls-Royce apart from other luxury-vehicle brands is their impeccable detailing. Because owners prefer their cars customised down to the very last detail, Rolls-Royce automakers have to work afresh on everything from the panel inlays, to the stitching, to the ceiling lining, and finally, the embroidery. Aside from this, customers also have the ability to select the desired illumination finishing; with the most-selected being pin light LEDs. Indeed, customers have total freedom to create their bespoke starlight designs, which can range from randomly-generated shooting stars to an entire replication of a constellation! But that shouldn’t stop you from choosing what tickles your fancy. Everything is completely customisable; even the ambient lighting on the panel handles and doors.
Mark Court, the Coach-liner at Rolls-Royce, has a unique talent of applying pinstripes to the side of a car. He is the only one within the Rolls-Royce BMW Group who can do this entirely freehand. The brushes he uses are made of squirrel hair, which is a higher standard compared to the man-made brushes used today. These man-made brushes tend to leave brush marks within the lines, but the natural hair of the squirrel brushes leave no marks at all. For customers who want to add a coachline to their car, Mark is always ready to travel worldwide with his paintbrush. He believes in the Rolls-Royce principle of going to the customer, not the customer coming back to them. So, if the car is in Dubai, Mark will be there with his paintbrush to add the coachline to the customer’s car.
The interior of a standard Rolls-Royce vehicle is made from leather, requiring a rigorous two-week process of hand-stitching. Making a seat upholstering for the Rolls-Royce cars takes a lot of time, but it is definitely one of the things you notice first when looking into the interior. But do you know where this leather comes from? It’s not just some cheap cow leather! Only a bull leather of the highest quality is used in the interior of Rolls-Royce, and it takes exactly 8 bulls to upholster every single car! The leather only comes from bulls that live in high European mountains, where the occurrence of flies and mosquitoes is minimal, which prevents the bites that might damage the leather. Cows are not suitable for this because they can develop stretch marks during pregnancy.
When it comes to the vehicle’s wood veneers, each set of a private car is derived from one tree, creating a seamless flow of exquisite wood finishings from the rear compartment all the way to the dashboard. Additionally, patterns in the grain are carefully matched to make the dashboard as symmetrical as possible. As for the body, it is fitted atop an advanced aluminium space frame; carefully hand-weld to fuse over 500 separate parts, employing more than suspension technologies, and the addition of smooth-power delivery, combine to create the exquisite ‘magic carpet ride’ that’s synonymous with Rolls-Royce vehicles. What more could you ask for in efficiency?
3. Ecstacy Ornament
Every Rolls-Royce exterior boasts several distinct characteristics that make it stand out from the rest. The pantheon grille, for instance, is a masterpiece of hand-crafted artistry. Additionally, the self-righting wheel centers are designed to ensure that the iconic RR logo is never rotated, and the Spirit of Ecstasy ornament adds a touch of elegance to the car’s appearance.
One of the things that makes the Rolls-Royce so unique is definitely the Spirit of Ecstasy that first debuted in 1911. This is one thing that helps you recognize a Rolls-Royce car from feet away, but that would not be the case if BMW didn’t spend an astronomical amount of money just for the rights on this statue. In 1998, Rolls-Royce Motors was sold to BMW; however, the famous RR logo and the Spirit of Ecstasy were in control of another German company, Volkswagen. Obviously, Volkswagen didn’t want to give up their rights so easily and asked for an unbelievable $40 million. The company had no choice, so they agreed and paid. I wonder what they would replace it with if they didn’t get the rights.
Today, you can have the Spirit of Ecstasy personalized as a silver, gold, or crystal miniature statue and due to its high value, the ornament is automatically lowered into the hood to keep it away from the prying eyes of robbers. Depending on the customisation, the Spirit of Ecstasy can cost anywhere from $2000 to a whopping $200,000.
4. A unique driving experience.
For one to truly experience the luxury of a Rolls-Royce, you must get behind the wheel of one. Unlike most luxury automakers, Rolls-Royce vehicles gear their driving experience towards providing comfort to all the occupants. One of the ways they do this is by creating an illusion that you’re not even in a car in the first place. Take, for example, the Power Reserve Dial, which has been put to replace the traditional tachometer; it provides a unique sensation of being detached from the driving.
Moreover, a modern Rolls-Royce is engineered to be quite powerful, but it doesn’t feel like you have it in large bursts. Instead, the car will gradually pick up speed without losing the engine’s composure. And while the latest luxury vehicles make you feel like you have to get a plane manual just to figure out how to start the car, the Rolls-Royce prefers to stick to the simplicity of classic driving. In fact, you’ll be pleased to find that the Rolls-Royce comes with the bare minimum in controls, as well as the characteristic P-R-N-D shifter. So that when you get behind the wheel of a Rolls-Royce, you don’t really have to understand how everything works. It just takes place naturally sort of like riding a bike.
5. The Company’s Branding and Advertising
Rolls-Royce has mastered the art of luxury branding. Just ask any celebrity out there, and they’ll tell you that a Rolls-Royce is the car of their dreams! Yes, when Hollywood bigwigs go shopping for a new car, the Rolls-Royce is the first vehicle that comes to mind. It’s definitely one of the subtle perks that come with having millions of dollars in your bank account. Forget designer clothes like Gucci and Armani, owning a Rolls-Royce is where the real deal is at. Through smart branding and advertising, Rolls-Royce has become synonymous with the lavish lifestyle of the rich and wealthy.
Over the past decade, Rolls-Royce has experienced a significant surge in sales. In 2019 alone, there was a 25% rise in sales with a total of 5,152 units sold. This has also resulted in the average age of a Rolls-Royce owner to decrease from late 50s to mid 40s. The epitome of luxury for the brand is the Sweptail, which is the most luxurious and expensive model they have ever created. It took over four years to produce and was priced at a staggering $13 million, making it the most expensive new car in the world. While other high-end car manufacturers prioritize speed and lightweight performance, Rolls-Royce focuses purely on the luxury factor.