Owning a luxury vehicle no longer puts you at the top – designing a car to fit your needs, now that’s true luxury. And currently there is no other car brand that understands that better than Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
Kylie Jenner, Queen Latifah, Beyonce, David Beckham, and Snoop Dogg are all Rolls-Royce owners and like 90 percent of all owners, they’ve personalized their vehicles to make them one-of-a-kind machines that represent their personal tastes and style.
As of January 2019, 100 percent of Cullinan SUVS had been customized or “Bespoke,” compared to 99 percent of all Phantom vehicles sold, according to Tortsen Muller-Otvos, CEO of Rolls-Royce. To meet these demands, the company hired 100 employees for the Bespoke department, showcasing just how important this facet of the brand truly is. With numbers like these, Bespoke is no longer an added perk to buying a Rolls-Royce but has become an integral part of the buying process.
Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke process starts before the client arrives at the dealership. The brand has crafted cars like the Phantom to include a gallery box in the dashboard that can easily be outfitted with stamp collections, watches, Faberge eggs, and even artwork. The Cullinan has extra amenities built-in as well, like picnic baskets and champagne coolers, all of which can be customized by the team. With small Bespoke opportunities like these, it entices clients to pursue larger design projects.
After choosing a vehicle at a Rolls-Royce dealership, clients visit the Bespoke lounge to examine samples of exterior and interior finishes and visit with sales staff that can guide and direct them on their Bespoke journey. The sale staff explain what the designers at Goodwood, Rolls-Royce’s design and manufacturing plant in Goodwood, England, can do for clients.
“Bespoke is what defines Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. It is what makes your Rolls-Royce a commission, a work of art, not a car,” said Matthew Danton, a Rolls-Royce Bespoke Designer. “There are many car brands that offer wonderful and beautiful cars, a Rolls-Royce is more than that, it is an extension of our clients personality and lifestyle.”
Bespoke may begin with the creation of special colors for the exterior and interior of the vehicle, but it can expand from there to include interior combinations of hand-embroidered leather, custom marquetry or woodwork, and machined materials like titanium, aluminum, and carbon fibers.
“The definition of Bespoke is that the options you have are only limited by your imagination,” said Danton, adding that the only limits they have are “laws and regulatory requirements.”
Sometimes clients’ imagination has proved a challenge to the design team. Danton mentioned a client that required all interior materials, which included leather, wood, carpet, paint, and controls, to match in color. Some owners have requested built-in jewelry boxes, interior wood finishes made from a tree on their estate, and even a door that had a built-in pocket for a thermos.
“For one client we created a Bespoke embroidered portrait of her pet Yorkie on her headrests,” said Danton. “We’ve had more than one client insist on all the chrome and metal be gold plated, and we had to ensure that this was done to the Rolls-Royce standard.”
Celebrities and the ultra-wealthy are perhaps some of the most creative in their Bespoke requests. Famous auto collector Michael Fux owns more than six Bespoke colors that were created for and specifically reserved for him. In 2018, Rolls-Royce created the Black Badge Dawn for Google Executive Ben Sloss, a design that required the recreation of colors used on his Italian racing cars.
Once customers decide on their design preferences, they speak with a Bespoke designer via teleconference and review samples online and through the mail. Simple Bespoke requests may take three to four months, whereas complex projects can take a year to complete and may include visits by clients to Goodwood to see samples and designs in-person.
“For the more intricate Bespoke projects, our designers from Goodwood will even make arrangement to visit clients around the world to review and refine their designs,” said Danton.
Tastes change often, so Rolls-Royce makes it easy for owners and those who purchase previously-owned Rolls-Royce cars to update or replace certain aspects of their vehicles like treadplates, headrest embroidery, seats, and exterior highlights.
The cost of Bespoking a Rolls-Royce doesn’t come cheap. The average price of a Rolls-Royce sold in the USA is about $400,000. With the Bespoke process, clients can expect to add 20 percent of the initial value or more. “We can confirm that each year we deliver several seven-figure commissions,” Danton said.
For clients like Kylie Jenner who just received her second Bespoke Rolls-Royce, a silver Phantom with a fiery red-orange interior, at the beginning of July, it’s clear that clients’ creative desires can fully be met by the Rolls-Royce Bespoke team – at any price.
- Words: Alex Temblador