ROLLS-ROYCE UNVEILS BLACK BADGE WRAITH BLACK ARROW
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has unveiled12 examples of the Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow to mark the end of the most powerful Rolls-Royce in history..
Launched in 2013, Wraith is one of the most important and influential models ever designed and built at Goodwood. More performance-focused than its predecessors Phantom and Ghost, Wraith fundamentally altered perceptions of Rolls-Royce and brought new, younger customer groups to the brand for the first time. Its wider cultural significance is underlined by countless references to the Wraith in music, cinema, art and fashion.
The exclusive Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow marks an end of production of one of the most transformative motor cars in the marque’s history. This Bespoke masterpiece, limited to just 12 examples worldwide, is also the last V12 coupé Rolls-Royce will ever make, as it embarks on its bold new electric era.
Wraith’s dramatic ‘fastback’ silhouette signalled the motor car’s dynamic intent, which was further amplified in 2016, with the introduction of Black Badge Wraith: a potent, subversive and even more powerful expression of this transformative motor car, offering some of the highest levels of performance ever achieved by a V12-powered Rolls-Royce.
Yet when considering how best to mark the end of the Wraith era, Goodwood’s designers and engineers took inspiration for the Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow Collection from an equally significant V12 in Rolls-Royce’s long and storied legacy. In 1938, Captain George Eyston – whose bold, brave endeavours encapsulate the Black Badge spirit - set a world land speed record of 357.497 mph (575.335 km/h) with Thunderbolt, a seven-tonne, eight-wheeled leviathan equipped with two Rolls-Royce V12 'R' Series aero engines. The outbreak of the Second World War in the following year ended Eyston’s endeavours; all subsequent records have been set with different engine types and configurations, enshrining Thunderbolt in perpetuity as the fastest V12-powered motor car ever built.
To commemorate Rolls-Royce’s last-ever V12 coupé, the marque’s Bespoke Collective of designers, craftspeople and engineers collaborated to create a unique artwork for Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow's fascia. The intricate, tactile design skilfully depicts the contemporary V12 engine in Wraith. In keeping with the Black Badge family’s noir ambience, the highly complex design - itself the product of two months of development - is engraved in a single sheet of black-coated aluminium to reveal the gleaming metal beneath, providing a bold visual link to Thunderbolt’s polished aluminium body.
Black Arrow’s coach doors are lined with open-pore Black Wood, in a complex design comprising over 320 multi-directional and lasered marquetry pieces that mimics the cracked, irregular surface of the Bonneville Salt Flats. This extraordinary feature also extends onto the rear ‘Waterfall’ panel, which separates the two rear seats.
Inside, Black Arrow’s interior is provisioned with a new material type developed specifically for the Collection. The armrests, seat gussets, transmission tunnel, door detail, door panniers and lower dashboard panel are all finished in ‘Club Leather’ – its intentional greater sheen and even deeper black colouration provide a subtle contrast to the matte Rolls-Royce natural-grain black leather. The leather’s natural markings are intentionally emphasised to give the interior more visible ‘life lines’, and a closer resemblance to what was described at the time as “the club-armchair type of driving seat which George [Eyston] prefers above all others”. In keeping with the Black Badge series’ use of daring pulses of colour, Bright Yellow is employed for the front seat leather. Atop the seat, the outer headrest features an arrow embroidery motif, providing rich, tactile detail and referencing the arrow symbol painted on Thunderbolt’s aluminium body to enable the electric timing equipment to ‘see’ and capture the car at full speed.
An exclusive Bespoke plaque is mounted on the engine cover to signify this as the last V12 ever to be fitted to a Rolls-Royce coupé. Machined from a single piece of polished metal, the plaque is inscribed with the V12 monogram in Bright Yellow, and the legend ‘Final Coupé Collection’ in Black.
All 12 motor cars in the Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow Collection have been allocated to clients around the world.