The Sweptail represents a return to prominence, a statement piece of art says LARA OLADUNNI
Something big and new is happening in the world of automobile with the recent announcement of the Rolls-Royce Sweptail which costs a reported $13 million. It might be the most expensive new car ever built after the $38 million Ferrari 250 GTO.
Until now, at roughly $3 million, the Bugatti Chiron is one of the most expensive production cars to ever reach showrooms. With the price tag of the $13 million the Rolls is still the price of four brand-new Chirons.The new Sewptail by Rolls-Royce is setting a new world record.
The Sweptail, which made its debut at the 2017 Concorso d’Eleganza in Lake Como, Italy, is inspired by coach built Rolls-Royces of the 1920s and 1930s. The owner requested a custom-made two-seater coupe with a large panoramic glass sunroof and wanted the car to incorporate the ‘Swept tail’ look seen on certain Rolls-Royce models of the 1920s.
“Sweptail is the automotive equivalent of haute couture,” Giles Taylor, the director of design for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said in a statement. “It is a Rolls-Royce designed and hand-tailored to fit a specific customer.”
Any Rolls-Royce is a rare and exclusive automobile, but some customers want an entirely individual creation and they’re willing to pay big bucks to get it.
The Sweptail’s signature feature is a single-piece glass roof that tapers into the car’s fastback rear end. It’s a design feature that dominates the car’s silhouette.
Rolls-Royce has not released technical specs of the car, but it’s believed to be based on the current-generation Phantom platform, which means some version of the company’s 6.75-liter V-12 is most likely lurking under its long bonnet.
One of the most prominent styling features on the extroverted Sweptail is the different take on Rolls-Royce’s Pantheon grille. Milled from a single piece of aluminium, the grille is the largest fitted to any modern-era Rolls-Royce and is flanked by thin LED running lights and circular headlamps.
The side profile of the car is similar to that of the now discontinued Phantom Coupe, but instead of ending at the C-pillar, the roofline jets backward and extends past the boot lid edge. The true styling centerpiece is the glass panoramic roof, which Rolls-Royce claims is “one of the largest and most complex ever seen on a motor car of any marque.”
For Rolls-Royce, the Sweptail represents a return to prominence of the brand’s time-honoured coach-building business; the result of four years of work.
The interior is similarly impressive with contrasting open-pore leathers and Ebony trim throughout. Rolls-Royce says the vehicle boasts its cleanest dash design to date and houses a special clock made of the world’s thinnest Macassar veneer. Other unique interior features include a teardrop-shape rear parcel shelf, a champagne cooler in the center console and electronically operated luggage panniers designed to store a custom-made carbon fiber luggage set.
But what are Rolls-Royce and Bentley – among the most celebrated luxury marques in the world – doing to ensure their customers don’t stop feeling special the moment they switch off their cars’ engine and step from the cabin? For the time being at least, the former continues to confine its famous bespoke service mainly to objects associated directly with its cars, while offering occasional – and exclusive – “art tours” in which customers motor off to meet leading artists at their homes or studios. Bentley, however, is branching out to a greater degree in an attempt to stay ahead of the curve in what appears to be a dramatically changing luxury car market.
The Nigerian market is already eagerly awaiting the introduction of the Sweptail. According to an expert in the auto luxury sector in the country, the Sweptail is a collectors’ item hence some collectors are already eyeing the new automobile.
“Looking at the Rolls-Royce brand, it is bespoke in every sense of the world. As an exclusive brand, the new addition, Sweptail is no exception at all. One or two collectors have already shown interest as the first few of our exclusive clients to own the new car,” he explains.
He adds the Sweptail is not about numbers but about exclusivity which is synonymous with high net worth individuals. “It is a car for lovers of statement automobile pieces and I can tell you that very soon at least one or two Nigerians will place an order and take delivery of their tailor-made Sweptail. Nigerians love to be the first to use a new car. The case will not be different with the Rolls-Royce Sweptail.”