Architecting a Rolls

This is no ordinary Rolls-Royce, which begs the question as to whether any Rolls is an ordinary Rolls

By Gary S. Vasilash

A Rolls-Royce Dawn, a 563-hp convertible, will set you back at least $356,500. (Well, probably not you necessarily, or the readership demographics of this site are far more elevated than I think.)

And you can reckon that Rolls-Royce Dawn that has been personalized through the firm’s Bespoke Design operation would ratchet that number up significantly. Especially if the person with whom the Bespoke team worked with is Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

Kengo Kuma and the special Rolls (Image: Rolls-Royce)

Yet Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and Kengo Kuma have collaborated on a Dawn, one influenced by Kuma’s architectural design of a luxury residence in downtown Tokyo named “The Kita.”

The vehicle is for the owner of a multilevel penthouse in The Kita.

According to the 2020 Mercer Cost of Living Survey, Tokyo is the third-most expensive place in the world to live (Hong Kong is #1 and Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, is #2).

Presumably if you can afford a penthouse at The Kita the price of even the most luxurious Rolls-Royce is, for you (again, not you), the sort of money that you’d find under the tatami.

Rolls Ups the Privacy in the Phantom

Because sometimes you just need a little R&R in the limo

It generally occurs in a movie when the passenger of the limo raises the screen with the driver and the driver suddenly pushes a button that causes the passenger doors to lock with an audible “thunk” and from the air vents comes billowing clouds of knockout gas. . . .

Rolls-Royce has developed what it calls the “Phantom Privacy Suite” for its Phantom Extended motor car (a.k.a., “limo”).

Privacy screen in place. (Image: Rolls-Royce)

According to the company there is an electrochromatic glass screen that is either clear or opaque, depending on the passenger’s desire. In addition, there is a “frequency-specific compound [that] inhibits the transmission of conversations in the rear cabin to the front.”

This is a must for “Rolls-Royce Phantom clients—powerbrokers, titans of business and entrepreneurs.”

Should communication with the driver be necessary, there is a built-in intercom system. Should the driver need to speak with the passenger, “they are able to ‘call’ occupants in the Privacy Suite, who can choose to answer or reject the communication.” (Clearly the sort of feature that sometimes one wishes for in an Uber.)

In addition there is a slot that the rear passenger controls through which documents can be passed to forward and back.

Seems like the sort of thing that a knockout gas capsule might be dropped. . . .

Maybe we’re reading too many thrillers.

How Does Where a Vehicle Is Built Affect Authenticity?

There is sometimes a question of authenticity when it comes to where a vehicle is built. As in the source is considered to be better.

Once it was the case that people in the U.S. wanted a Honda Civic built in Suzuka or a Lexus RX from Kyushu.

Doesn’t it seem that Volvos ought to be built in Sweden rather than China or. . .South Carolina?

So it comes as more than a bit of surprise to learn that Rolls-Royce produced 2,946 vehicles from 1921 to 1931 in a manufacturing facility in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Made in Massachusetts: Yes, Rolls-Royce vehicles. (Image: Rolls-Royce)

Springfield. About 100 miles due west of where the Boston Tea Party was held. (Imagine.)

The hand-building operation was shuttered as a result of the Depression.

Today Rolls-Royce models are only produced at the company’s facility in Goodwood, England.

As they should be.–gsv