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May 26, 2021

Rolls-Royce Brings Back The Art Of Coachbuilding

For Rolls-Royce owners who want a greater deal of customization; greater than say this one-off partnership with Hermès, they’re in luck because the automaker has just brought back their Coachbuild department.

Intended for those who wish to go beyond existing restraints such as the body shell, Rolls-Royce can create a car that’s completely hand-built to the precise wishes of a customer. They’ve gone so far as to compare it to building a true luxury house.

Of course, coachbuilding is nothing new to Rolls-Royce. But what the carmaker could do was limited to its platform (such as the Rolls-Royce Sweptail in the above photo). That said, customers could still create bespoke cars. For example, there are 44,000 paint colors alone to choose from.

However, when Rolls-Royce moved to its own proprietary chassis with the all-new Phantom, they could rekindle the art of coachbuilding once more.

It is thanks to its all-aluminum spaceframe chassis, designed and engineered from the ground up to be scalable for a range of Rolls-Royce models. In essence, it creates four fixed points at each corner of the car. The distance between them can be whatever the designers and engineers want it to be: bulkhead, floor, crossmember and sill panels can all be stretched or shrunk or increased in height according to the product.

Crucially, this flexibility opens up new possibilities for coachbuilding. By moving away from monocoque construction to something closer to a traditional rolling chassis, Rolls-Royce has reacquired the freedom to construct almost any body shape its buyers can imagine, constrained only by fundamental design and engineering requirements. Some of these fundamental design elements including the 2:1 body height to wheel diameter ratio, the three fluid lines running the length of the car, and the silhouette.

Despite these constraints, this means that Rolls-Royce and its buyers can now look beyond the bespoke catalog, and build the car itself, to commission.

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