There will only be four such Drop Tails made, and this model is commissioned by a prominent international family.
The Rolls-Royce Drop Tail is the brand’s first modern two-seat roadster, harking back to the coachbuilt drop-tops that established it as a leading luxury brand a century ago. The product of a four-year collaboration between Rolls-Royce and four clients, the firm said it represents the “absolute pinnacle” of its in-house coachbuilding capabilities.
The first of four unique Rolls-Royce Droptail commissions is dubbed ‘La Rose Noire’, and comes with a bespoke Audemars Piguet watch mounted to the dashboard using a clasp mechanism. La Rose Noire is said to have been commissioned by a husband and wife, who are the heads of a “prominent international family”. The car was revealed at a private residence in Pebble Beach.
- Based on a new monocoque chassis
- Same powertrain as the Phantom
- Priced expected to cross Rs 211 crore
Rolls-Royce Drop Tail exterior design and platform
Rather than being simply a reworking of the now-retired Dawn convertible, the Drop Tail is underpinned by an all-new monocoque chassis constructed from steel, aluminium and carbonfibre, in a first for the Coachbuild division. It previously based bespoke models on the Architecture of Luxury platform, which is also used for the Cullinan, Ghost and Phantom.
At 5.3m long and 2.0m wide, it is smaller than the electric Spectre, with its completely bespoke silhouette defined by a low coupé-esque roofline inspired by ‘chop-top’ hot rods. This gives the new model a more overtly sporting character than mainstream Rolls-Royce models, reinforced by blade-shaped haunches and the large carbonfibre rear diffuser, finished in semi-clear lacquer to highlight how it juts out from the painted body.
The removable roof panel is carbonfibre, too, which makes it easier for the driver to remove and replace it. It also features a large section of electrochromic glass, which tints and untints at the touch of a button.
Rolls-Royce noted that its swooping rear end did not produce enough downforce. Rather than mount a spoiler, Rolls tweaked the design of the rear deck to produce the necessary downforce without compromising on aesthetics – a process that took two years and 20 iterations.
The Drop Tail’s front end design, meanwhile, is more familiar, although whereas the grille’s bars are typically straight and upright, they are curved on the Drop Tail and end at chamfered – rather than right-angled – corners. These adjustments reflect the car’s “informal spirit”, according to Rolls-Royce.
Rolls-Royce Drop Tail interior
That “informal” approach continues inside, where the brief was to create an “intimate” environment. Switchgear is obscured where possible; only three buttons are left in open view, and the powered centre console can be moved to cover the infotainment control dial.
A vast wooden panel cocoons the seats, intended to reinforce the “romantic” atmosphere. It was built by a single craftsman – a former Rolls-Royce apprentice – who is said to have worked on the panel for over nine months. This was the “most complicated, involved and prohibitive work of craft ever produced” at its Goodwood factory, said Coachbuild design boss Alex Innes.
It is inspired by their relationship, with ‘True Love Red’ paint and a darker shade dubbed ‘Mystery’. The interior’s wooden panel – made from black sycamore in reference to the car’s French provenance – is supposed to represent falling rose petals. “Even the leather was worked to include a sheen and a texture to its colour that would mimic the richness of the rose petals themselves,” said Innes.
Rolls-Royce Drop Tail powertrain
Power is provided by the familiar twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre V12 in a bespoke state of tune that boosts power by 38hp over the Phantom but cuts torque by 60Nm, giving total outputs of 601hp and 840Nm. Rolls have not revealed any performance figures, but no doubt the Drop Tail will be a close match for the V12-engined Dawn, with a sub-5.0sec 0-100kph time and a top speed capped at 250kph.
Rolls-Royce design director Anders Warming told our sister publication Autocar UK that the V12 was used rather than an electric powertrain because the marque is celebrating the roadster and “the V12 is a powertrain we will be celebrating for the next couple of years”.
Rolls-Royce Drop Tail price
Rolls-Royce does not give prices for its coachbuilt specials, but each of the four Drop Tails is understood to have cost its owner more than the £20 million (Rs 211 crore) Boat Tail.