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Monday, February 7, 2022

Rolls-Royce Redesigns 'Spirit of Ecstacy'


Rolls-Royce has re-designed its iconic Spirit of Ecstasy to grace the hood of its all-electric vehicle, the Spectre.

The figurine has been remodeled with a lower, more dynamic stance that brings her much closer to the drawings made by her original creator, the illustrator and sculptor Charles Sykes, in the early years of the 20th century. It also sees her physical form represent The Expression, a visual device that forms part of the brand’s new visual language.

The new Spirit of Ecstasy stands 82.73 mm tall, compared to her predecessor’s 100.01 mm. Her robes, which flow behind her in the slipstream – often but erroneously characterized as ‘wings’ – have been subtly reshaped to make them more aerodynamic and realistic.


The most visible change is her stance. Previously, she has stood with her feet together, legs straight and tilting at the waist. Now, she has one leg forward, body tucked low, her eyes focused eagerly ahead. These changes have both practical and stylistic benefits, contributing to Spectre’s remarkable aerodynamic properties. The earliest Spectre prototypes have a drag coefficient (cd) of just 0.26, making it the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce ever created. The figure is expected to improve during the product’s exhaustive testing protocols undertaken throughout this year.

While all figurines are made using one of the oldest known casting techniques, named ‘lost wax casting’ or ‘cire-perdue’, each is individually finished by hand, so will be minutely different from figurine to figurine. As well as continuing a long Rolls-Royce tradition—until 1939, the mascots were made and polished by Charles Sykes himself—this subtle, ephemeral human element creates an intriguing contrast to the precise, highly engineered motor car she sits atop.

Though relatively rare in the modern era, changes to the Spirit of Ecstasy have been made throughout her 111-year lifespan. She has been rendered in various sizes and materials and, briefly, in a kneeling position. The new version created for Spectre will appear on all future models: the current design will still be used on Phantom, Ghost, Wraith, Dawn, and Cullinan.

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