Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will unveil its latest Collection Car, Wraith Eagle VIII, on the shores of Lake Como at this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, 24-26 May. Created by the Bespoke Collective at the House of Rolls-Royce, a Collection of just 50 Wraith Eagle VIII motor cars will tell the epic tale of one of the most pivotal moments of the 20th century.
Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Brown braved uncharted skies to make the first non-stop transatlantic flight in June, 1919. Contemporaries of Sir Henry Royce, Alcock and Brown flew non-stop from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland in a modified First World War Vickers Vimy bomber aircraft. The bi-plane was powered by twin 20.3 litre, 350 bhp, Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines. It is from this remarkable engine that this Collection takes its name. Rolls-Royce marks the 100 year anniversary of this feat with a highly contemporary Collection that speaks to today’s adventurers, whilst honouring those who changed the course of history.
The exterior of the Wraith Eagle VIII Collection Car is evocative of Alcock and Brown’s compelling night time adventure. Swathed in Gunmetal with a Selby Grey upper two-tone, the colours are separated by a brass feature line, a hint at the detailing that lies within. The black grille vanes draw immediate reference to the Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engine cowling on the Vickers Vimy aircraft, the wheels are part polished with a translucent shadow finish.
Within, the finely executed interior mirrors the exterior hue. Selby Grey and black leather are accented by brass, redolent of the brass sextant so integral to the success of the transatlantic journey. Executed in a contemporary fashion, the material populates key areas throughout the cockpit of the Collection. Brass speaker covers depict the estimated flight distance of 1,880 miles and ‘RR’ monograms are embroidered in brass coloured thread onto headrests. A flash of brass complements the navigator door paniers, whilst the door of the driver includes a brass plaque with Churchill’s quote commending the duo’s remarkable achievements.
Inspired by the night time flight of our intrepid heroes, the fascia represents a modern-day abstract interpretation of the view the pair would have enjoyed as finally, their craft cleared the thick fog and cloud. In a fusion of contemporary and traditional practises, Smoked Eucalyptus wood is vacuum metalized in gold before being inlaid with silver and copper, to depict the rich detail seen in night time images of the Earth from above. The scene extends to the centre console providing both an emotive and immersive experience for today’s occupants – the cockpit is in perspective with the headliner. Below, the brass-stitched quilted sides of the centre tunnel provide a direct nod to the V12 engined Vickers Vimy.
Just 50 of these highly collectable motor cars will be created for discerning collectors at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex – a Centre of Global Luxury Manufacturing Excellence.