Every new Rolls-Royce starts with a blank sheet of paper and an idea of what might be. Key design cues form the basis of every sketch and each new model reflects the classic proportions that have shaped the marque. So compare a vintage Silver Cloud to Ghost and you'll immediately see the family resemblance in the wheel height, the length of the bonnet and the tapering rear end. Innovation and experimentation have been at the heart of Rolls-Royce philosophy for more than a century. Driven by the uncompromising quest for design perfection, Rolls Royce's commitment is best exemplified by their 'EX' Experimental cars. Ghost, Phantom Coupé and Phantom Drophead Coupé all started life as fully engineered EX cars.
Designing a new Rolls-Royce is always an exhilarating process. At the start of the project, the team set up their studio in an atmospheric English location, away from the distractions of the office - for Phantom it was a Victorian bank in Mayfair, Central London; Ghost was conceived in a secluded country house. The team looks for inspiration in everything from vintage racing yachts to modern furniture design while they develop and refine their ideas. Starting with pencil sketches, progressing through dynamic illustrations and computer-aided design to a life-size clay model, the car gradually takes shape until it is ready to go to the next stage of development.
Sir Henry Royce's words are the inspiration behind their approach to engineering every part of a Rolls-Royce. Working in unison with the purpose built chassis, their advanced air suspension system creates a refined and composed ride. The result is fingertip control and a dynamic connection with the road, making driving an effortless pleasure.
All Rolls-Royce cars feature a Power in Reserve dial on the facia. It's a reminder that there is always power to spare in our V12 engines - at 70mph they use less than 10 percent of available power. Delivering 75% of torque at just 1,000rpm, working in perfect balance with the automatic gearbox, the acceleration is so smooth it feels like you are in an infinite first gear. This effortless power, combined with our unique dynamic chassis and cutting-edge suspension creates the famous Rolls-Royce 'magic carpet ride'.
It takes five coats of paint and high gloss clear lacquer and seven days to create the flawless finish on Rolls Royce cars. To achieve the perfect result Royce Rolls employ four advanced robots (the only robots in Goodwood) and a team of skilled painters and polishers in our paint shop.
Their secret is to programme the robots using their vast knowledge of hand-spraying, which helps them achieve a consistent finish time after time. But even the best-programmed robots can't replicate the human touch, so Rolls Royce spray all the hard to reach spots by hand.
Look closely at the paintwork of a Rolls-Royce and you'll see a perfect reflection of yourself looking back. The bodywork is carefully fingertip-checked and any imperfections are gently sanded down and repolished. Then technicians give each car up to five hours of meticulous hand-polishing to reach the standard of finish Rolls Royce customers expect and Rolls Royce demand. Adding the finishing touch of a five metre long coachline calls for a steady hand. Painted by a craftsman with special brushes made from ox and squirrel hair, each perfectly straight line takes 3 hours to paint and is exactly 3mm wide.
Beautiful wood is integral to all Rolls-Royce cars. Many of the Rolls Royce team have worked as cabinetmakers and boat builders and it is the combination of their traditional craft skills and modern technology that helps make our veneers special. Each woodset uses up to 10m2 of veneer and is cut from consecutive slices of the same tree for consistency of grain, colour and ageing. In Phantom the veneers are book-matched to create a symmetrical mirror image of the grain through the centre of the facia. This is delicate, precise work that requires knowledge and vision to create a seamless flow of highly-polished veneer throughout the car.
Each Rolls-Royce features up to 41 separate wood parts. Once the veneers have been selected and book-matched, each part is made by compressing up to 29 layers of wood with two layers foil and four of aluminium for strength and safety. Every piece is shaped, sanded, lacquered and polished by hand before fitting.
The leather is specially drum-dyed to let the colour permeate right through so if you accidentally scratch our leather, the colour remains consistent. The process also makes it very supple so it won't squeak or crack. All you will notice when you settle into your seat is the remarkable softness of the leather itself.
It takes more than 2 weeks to complete the upholstered interior of a Rolls-Royce. Many of the Rolls Royce leathershop team were saddlery experts before they joined Rolls-Royce and it's a combination of their craft skills and modern technology that allows Rolls Royce to finish their upholstery to such high standards.
First the hides are hand inspected and any blemishes highlighted so they can be avoided when the leather is cut. Then they use computer-controlled laser cutters to cut up to 450 individual pieces of leather with minimum wastage. These are then hand sewn by skilled machinists - an intricate process that involves over 35 metres of decorative stitching to finish the interior.
Rolls Royce cars arrive at the assembly line as bare bodyshells and leave it as the finished article. Moving slowly through the assembly process, each stage of the hand-build is meticulously completed and documented. Each car passes through at least 60 pairs of hands and Rolls Royce know who assembled every last detail of every Rolls-Royce.It's a complex and detailed process as most Phantoms have Bespoke. One of the most emotive moments is the marriage between the body and powertrain.
After weeks of care and attention from Rolls Royce craftspeople and assembly teams, a new Rolls-Royce has a final hurdle to clear before it is deemed ready to leave Goodwood. Rolls Royce put the car through its paces and stress-test every aspect to ensure that it is perfect. Any issues that arise, however small, are rectified in the test and finish area. These checks include driving the car on a rolling road to check the main braking, safety and power systems by bedding them in for the first time in a controlled environment.
This is followed by a suspension integrity test to settle the components. Hydraulic rigs simulate different road conditions to give the suspension a comprehensive workout. Once this check is passed the precise suspension alignment is set. There's no rest for the car though. It's straight on to the 'monsoon' test where 5,000 litres of water is blasted at the car at high pressure to ensure it is completely watertight.
Finally the car is taken out by one of the Rolls Royce test drivers. High value items are then added and finally tested, a gold or hallmarked silver Spirit of Ecstasy for example, and other finishing touches such as the concealed umbrellas. Once the team is satisfied that everything is perfect and the car is valetted to the highest standard, only then will it be dispatched.