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Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

You know those stories about Rolls-Royce? They are all true

Upon announcing that Rolls-Royce equips its motor cars with a refrigerator that has two cooling modes: ‘Summer’ and ‘Winter’, thus ensuring occupants’ beverages are delivered at the optimum temperature for the relevant season, the marque has witnessed significant interest in the myths and legends that endear so many to the brand. In this spirit, the time is now to reveal more of the truths that have defined the modern Rolls-Royce success story.

Images: Rolls-Royce

1) At prototype stage the 6.75-litre Rolls-Royce V12 engine had to faultlessly revolve 750million times before being approved for production.

2) The mechanism that retracts the Spirit of Ecstasy to prevent theft and damage is comprised of 24 unseen linkages and bearings.

3) 14 highly qualified Rolls-Royce engineers run a fleet of 16 intensive test vehicles 365 days a year on top of their normal workloads. They do this without complaint.

4) The sensors in a Rolls-Royce are so sensitive they are able to detect if a driver or passenger shifts their body weight from one side to the other and adapt accordingly.

5) The 1300 Watt, 18 speaker Bespoke Audio system in a Rolls-Royce is so exhaustively tuned, interior designers must seek the permission of the audio engineer who created it before making any design changes.

6) Much like the wood veneer inside a Rolls-Royce motor car, the weave of the carbon-fibre that makes up the central spine of Dawn’s ‘Aero Cowling’ tonneau cover is expertly hand book-matched to achieve a perfect chevron pattern.

7) The marque’s lauded Starlight Headliner began as a Bespoke request. A Rolls-Royce client was suffering from Photophobia, an extreme sensitivity to light, and was only able to enjoy reading his daily newspaper under the starlight on his rural ranch. He requested that the marque develop a similar ambience in his Rolls-Royce.

8) The marque’s Bespoke designers increasingly facilitate commissions via mobile messaging services. Indeed, one of the first clients to take delivery of her Cullinan commissioned the motor car entirely via WhatsApp, witnessing the finished product for the first time upon its arrival at her home in the United States of America.

9) Before building the ‘Clean Room’ where the ‘Gallery’ fascia within Rolls-Royce Phantom is assembled, Associates from The Home of Rolls-Royce visited pharmaceutical and microprocessor Clean Rooms in order to fully understand these complex manufacturing laboratories.

10) A Rolls-Royce Wraith ascended the famous hill-climb at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed in just 52.71 seconds. A feat that could not be bettered by two Maserartis, a Porsche and a Bentley.

11) Sommeliers advise that the optimum serving temperatures of non-vintage Champagne is six degrees centigrade and vintage Champagnes is 11 degrees centigrade. Rolls-Royce equips its motor cars with a refrigerator that operates two cooling modes, chilling to six degrees and 11 degrees respectively. 

12) Phantom’s world-leading sound insulating properties were employed by London-based musician Skepta, who was able to record a track in its entirety from the rear seat.

13) 4,500 automated electronic test and commissioning sequences are executed during assembly to ensure the car is crafted to its correct specification. A further 3,500 take-place once the car is finished. A car must pass every test before it is permitted to leave the factory.

14) Over 100 microprocessors decipher 130 million lines of code, ensuring every Rolls-Royce’s suite of cutting edge technological features can be called upon instantly and seamlessly by the driver or passengers.

15) Over 25m of cabling is used to transfer audio data in a Rolls-Royce. Fiber-optic cabling is used to ensure immunity against interference.

16) In 2018, Rolls-Royce added shooting stars to its celebrated Starlight Headliner with eight shooting stars that fire at random across the ceiling panel.

17) To achieve the marque’s mirror-like finish, 5 layers of paint are applied by the only robots you will find at the Home of Rolls-Royce. Any hard-to-reach spots are painted by highly skilled paint experts. In total the process of applying a flawless exterior finish takes seven days and uses over 100lb of paint.

18) Paint quality is checked by the most sophisticated measuring tool in the world: the human eye. If a car does not meet with the approval of the marque’s notoriously fastidious auditors, it will be scrapped.

19) It takes 17 days to hand-craft the leather elements of a Rolls-Royce interior.

20) The most detailed single piece of embroidery to feature in a Rolls-Royce motor car is a Peregrine Falcon, the fastest bird in the world. The photo-realistic design consists of nearly 250,000 stitches and took a team of designers, craftspeople and engineers over one month to develop.

21) The 48 painstakingly crafted wood parts that comprise a Phantom interior take 28 days to produce. A sense of seamless flow of grain is ensured by only using wood from one tree for each motor car.

22) Mark Court is the only man in the able to hand-apply a perfectly straight Phantom coachline. In total it takes 3 hours per side. He uses special brushes made from ox and squirrel hair to ensure the line is precisely level and a uniform 3mm in width. He honed his steady-hand painting pub-signs.    

23) Engineers will analyse cavities with an endoscope during monsoon water tests to ensure no moisture ingress. Should a car fail this test it will be scrapped.

24) A Rolls-Royce is so quiet, Sir Henry Royce ordered the fitting of signs at the factory proclaiming ‘Caution, Silent Cars’. Modern health and safety dictates that craftspeople maneuvering cars around the Manufacturing Plant must intermittently sound the horn as a warning.

25) A Rolls-Royce rides on a 16litre air cushion married to dampers and springs that dynamically adjust themselves every five milliseconds to deliver the marque’s sovereign magic carpet ride.

26) When driven in a spirited manner the Rolls-Royce suspension system can draw on two high-torque electrical motors to minimise body-roll.

27) Legend has it that during a particularly spirited birthday celebration, Keith Moon drove his Corniche into a hotel swimming pool. This story is untrue – he was far too fond of his Rolls-Royce to let it come to harm. 

28) When creating the Rolls-Royce Architecture, on which all contemporary Rolls-Royces are built, engineers incorporated a resonance chamber into the body’s sill section. This, essentially, transforms the body of the motor car into a subwoofer, delivering exceptional low frequency audio performance.

29) A tailor made heat station brings every Rolls-Royce body to an exact temperature of 25 degrees Celsius to ensure that the rubber seal between the sunroof and the body is perfectly mated, this eliminates any road and wind noises over many years of driving.

30) It takes 60 pairs of hands 400 hours to build a Rolls-Royce – this can more than double depending on the complexity of a Bespoke commission.

31) Rolls-Royce sells cars on five continents. Should a customer live in a country without a dealer, specially trained technicians will fly to their home country to service their car. This small band of experts have been affectionately dubbed ‘Flying Doctors’.

32) The brief given to the marque’s engineers tasked with developing the roof mechanism for the Rolls-Royce Dawn was to create a silent ballet. They emphatically succeeded. While being the largest production convertible roof in the world, it is also the quietest. 

33) During the testing period of the Rolls-Royce Dawn, lead Test and Analysis engineers were required to wear shorts so they were able to detect unpleasant airflow around their legs and feet. This testing was conducted in January at three degrees centigrade.

34) At 70 mph, a Rolls-Royce still has 90% of its power left in reserve.

35) A sensor within the Gallery Clean Room continually measures the particle concentration in microns – an alert is sent if particles are detected at a size larger than 0.001 of a micron. The width of a human hair is between 50-100 microns in diameter.

36) Every single component that makes a Phantom Gallery is painstakingly cleaned by hand inside a particle proof cleanroom before final assembly – this takes two people two hours to complete.

37) The Spirit of Ecstasy is so valued by the marque that there is a safe lock on the shop floor containing no more mascots than the necessary for one day of production. The code is known only by a small circle of craftspeople.


© Thomas Wirth
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