Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it. Accept nothing nearly right or good enough.
Compromise is not a word recognized in the Rolls-Royce lexicon. Indeed the company continues to live by the clarion cry of co-founder Sir Henry Royce to “Strive for perfection in everything you do. Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it. Accept nothing nearly right or good enough.”
The first part of this maxim - “Strive for perfection in everything you do” - guides the company’s every action, particularly during the creation of a new motor car. The second - “Take the best that exists and make it better” - has been clearly evidenced in the success of both Phantom Series II and Ghost Series II as they were carefully updated in 2012 and 2014 respectively. And when Rolls-Royce judged that it was time for an authentic gentleman’s Gran Turismo to return to the world stage, it was guided by the third part of Sir Henry’s maxim: “When it does not exist, design it.” And thus, Wraith was born.
Now, the final part of this maxim has guided the Rolls-Royce design and engineering teams as they have worked to initiate a new age for open-top, super-luxury motoring. In a sector exclusively populated by the biggest of automotive compromises - the 2+2 seat configuration - Rolls-Royce has chosen to “accept nothing nearly right or good enough.” And so, the new Rolls-Royce Dawn, the world’s only true modern four-seater super-luxury drophead, is born.
“Our new Rolls-Royce Dawn promises a striking, seductive encounter like no other Rolls-Royce to date, and begins a new age of open-top, super-luxury motoring. Dawn is a beautiful new motor car that offers the most uncompromised open-top motoring experience in the world. It will be the most social of super-luxury drophead motor cars for those who wish to bathe in the sunlight of the world’s most exclusive social hotspots. Quite simply, it is the sexiest Rolls-Royce ever built.” commented Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
It is always darkest just before the dawn
In the most challenging times, the phrase “It is always darkest just before the dawn” - originally coined by English Restoration preacher Thomas Fuller - resonates as a beacon of hope. This early morning darkness, where apparitions such as phantoms, ghosts or wraiths have been imagined, and where one’s apprehensions lurk, is brushed aside by an energizing burst of early morning sunlight as one awakens to a new dawn and the endless possibilities of a new day.
Such was the feeling in 1952 as the world was finally emerging from a period of economic austerity following the protracted war. That year, the world looked forward in hope as the world’s first passenger jet, the British deHavilland Comet, made its first commercial flight; the Big Bang Theory of the creation of the Universe was first propounded, and Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne of the United Kingdom.
That very same year, the Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn drophead, which became the muse for the designers of the new Rolls-Royce Dawn, was finished by Rolls-Royce coachbuilders Park Ward and delivered to its first customer, Colonel W.A. Phillips in Canada.
A new beginning for Rolls-Royce at the time, the original Silver Dawn was the first Rolls-Royce to be offered with a factory-built body. However, the drophead Rolls-Royces that carried the name Silver Dawn continued to be coach-built for individual customers, ensuring their uniqueness and rarity, and embodied the optimism of the age as we began to enjoy life again and pursue La Dolce Vita. This famous and rare Rolls-Royce name was only ever applied to 28 very special drophead bodies between 1950 and 1954.
Rolls-Royce’s new Dawn has taken inspiration from the Silver Dawn, whilst delivering a world-first in super-luxury motoring - a cool, contemporary interpretation of what a super-luxury four-seater convertible motor car should be in 2015 - rare, refined, and the most social super-luxury car there is. Much like the 1952 Silver Dawn drophead, the new Rolls-Royce Dawn stands apart from its stablemates, featuring 80% unique body panels.
Indeed such attention has been paid to ensuring this amazing new dawn for super-luxury motoring delivers on its promise, even the tires that connect the new Rolls-Royce Dawn to the roads it will glide over have been specially developed to deliver the pinnacle ‘magic carpet’ ride expected of every Rolls-Royce that leaves The Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood, England.
And, specific engineering and manufacturing attention has been paid to the creation of Dawn’s roof. Unheard of anywhere in the modern motor industry until now, the roof of the Rolls-Royce Dawn delivers the silence of a Wraith when up and operates in almost complete silence in just over 20 seconds at a cruising speed of up to 50kph. It is safe to say that the new Rolls-Royce Dawn is the quietest open-top car ever made.
2 + 2 = 4
“In the world of Rolls-Royce, day-to-day mathematical norms don’t always apply. That’s why I say in the case of the new Rolls-Royce Dawn, 2+2 does not equal 4,” comments Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
Studying the open-top motor car sector, and specifically its high-value luxury niche, it became apparent to Rolls-Royce’s designers that customers were being short-changed. The myopic focus on one specific configuration - the 2+2 setup - was, in the view of Rolls-Royce, a compromise too far.
Commonly held, a 2+2 is a configuration with seating for the driver and one passenger in the front plus two smaller seats for occasional passengers or children in the rear. Space in the rear is most noticeably absent in terms of longitudinal legroom, thereby reducing the comfort and practicality of the car. In the case of a convertible body type, this reduction in space is often the result of the manufacturer’s inability to package the convertible roof together with the boot and rear passenger space. The result is a sector populated exclusively by open-top cars that Rolls-Royce would consider compromised and ‘anti-social’.
“At Rolls-Royce, we pride ourselves as creators of fine motor cars that also serve as social spaces,” comments Taylor. “The idea of creating a car like Dawn that can be used in comfort by only two adults on a day-to-day basis is anathema. In creating Dawn we have accepted no compromise to the comfort and luxury of four adults who want to travel together in the pinnacle of style.”