Rolls-Royce has just completed the second of their three car run of the Boat Tail. At a rumored $30 million, the Boat Tail is the most expensive new car you can’t buy. The reason you can’t buy it is because it’s sold out.
You may think that Rolls-Royce is making a boat load of money from the Boat Tail. However, even at $30 million, it’s unlikely Rolls is making much on the car. When you add up the cost of design, engineering, creating the production line, etc., I wouldn’t be shock if Rolls-Rocye ended up losing money on the deal. Bugatti lost a whopping $6.24 million for every Veyron it sold and that was a 450 car run. I imagine the cost of creating the Boat Tail was more than $60 million.
Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is part of their coachbuilt commission. The essence of Rolls-Royce Coachbuild is that each commission tells a story entirely unique and personal to its owner, reflecting their own history, tastes and sensibilities. With this in mind, Boat Tail, revealed at Concorso d’Eleganza, Villa d’Este 2022, on the shores of Lake Como in northern Italy, is a masterwork of restraint, sophistication, elegance and attention to detail.
The Boat Tail is entirely hand-built, with the body panels fashioned from vast, single sheets of aluminium to create the distinctive outline inspired by the racing yachts of the early 20th century. In every respect, this remarkable motor car is entirely unique.
This Boat Tail was commissioned by a patron whose family business has grown from his father’s origins in the pearling industry. Widely travelled, internationally educated and cosmopolitan in his tastes and influences, the client is an established patron of the arts, who additionally owns a sizeable collection of classic and modern cars, housed in a dedicated private museum.
A level of sophistication, garnered from the client’s extensive knowledge of luxury, is clearly visible in this coveted objet d’art. The overall design aesthetic is restrained; a study in carefully considered materials and precise details that together create a highly personal and emotionally resonant homage to the client’s father.
At the onset of the commissioning process, the client presented Rolls-Royce Coachbuild Designers with a selection of four pearl shells, personally chosen from his private collection for their unique colour and complexity. The shells provided inspiration for the exterior colour, which is one of the most complex Bespoke finishes ever created by Rolls-Royce.
The foundation of the colour is a shimmering blend of oyster and soft rose, with large white and bronze mica flakes adding a unique pearlescent quality that changes subtly under different light conditions. The contrasting cognac-coloured bonnet, created specifically for this Boat Tail, contains fine bronze and gold coloured aluminium mica flakes complete with a layer of crystal and iced matt clear coat, adding significant warmth and depth to the car’s appearance. The technical fibre lower sills of Boat Tail incorporate a rose gold woven thread.
The rear deck, which houses Boat Tail’s unique ‘butterfly-design’ hosting suite, is swathed in Royal Walnut veneer, inlaid with rose gold-plated pinstripes with a satin-brushed finish to ensure a sensitive and sophisticated appearance. The Royal Walnut was specifically selected by the client for its beautiful properties as it matures over time, a material that will gradually transition to the tonal properties of the cognac colour. From above, one observes a harmonious balance and satin effect of the iced bonnet and tactile wooden rear deck, in contrast with the high-gloss front and side perspectives.
From the front, the Pantheon Grille, milled from a single, solid billet of aluminium, is graced with a Spirit of Ecstasy fashioned in rose gold.
The interior is a beautifully curated combination of perfectly matched cognac and oyster-coloured leathers and Royal Walnut veneer, with rose gold and mother-of-pearl accents throughout. The leathers, complete with a pearlescent finish, accentuate the surfaces and forms of Boat Tail’s seats and interior design. The transmission tunnel is formed from Royal Walnut veneer with rose gold pinstripes, drawing a direct visual reference to the rear deck and adding a glowing warmth to Boat Tail’s interior.
The centrepiece of the dashboard is a timepiece made from mother-of-pearl, chosen and supplied by the client from his own collection; the fascia of which is pure and minimal in its appearance so as not to detract from the precious material. The same prised substance graces the control switches and instrument dials, creating a strong visual and material connection between the car, the owner, and his family heritage.
“Boat Tail is a step-change in ingenuity and creative liberty. Building a motor car by hand offers a new realm of exploration and possibility: we can accomplish things and resolve challenges that normal industrialised methods would prohibit. This is the tale of two worlds: a modern motor car of contemporary design, made possible by historical techniques and time-honoured craft. It is truly, one-of-a-kind.” – Alex Innes, Head of Coachbuild Design