With only 50 units of them made available by the Bespoke Collective department of Rolls-Royce, not only are owners be purchasing a really rare set of wheels, they’re also acquiring a significant piece of history.
That’s because the Wraith Eagle VIII was built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of one of the most significant events of the 20th century – the first non-stop transatlantic flight by Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Brown.
Friends of Sir Henry Royce, the two began their non-stop flight from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland in a modified World War I bomber aircraft which was powered by two 20.3-litre Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines (hence the name of the car), each making 350 hp.
The two endured every possible setback imaginable as pilots with radio and navigation equipment failing almost immediately, leaving them to fly unguided through freezing temperatures and thick fog and sometimes, even upside down.
The Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines were the only components that were indestructible – propelling the plane at previously unimaginable speeds, averaging 185 km/h.
Eventually, using Brown’s extraordinary skill as a navigator, the duo flew by the stars to the coast of Ireland.
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös said, “This Rolls-Royce Collection demonstrates the extraordinary skill of our Bespoke Collective at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex.
“Bespoke remains the jewel in the crown of the marque, creating luxury items that defy the trend of mass luxury manufacturers using ‘tick-box’ options to answer customer demand,” he added.
And one of 50 of these tributes to mankind’s achievement is said to be heading to Malaysia – a true honour for the local clientele.
In anticipation of its arrival, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Kuala Lumpur, Director, Mr. Anas Zawawi said, “Increasingly, we are seeing demand for highly bespoke, limited edition cars in Malaysia. Our customers are connoisseurs of luxury, always seeking the rarest and most exclusive in the luxury world.”
Looking at the aesthetics, Rolls-Royce has gone out of their way to ensure that not only are customers buying a piece of rare history, they could even be buying the immersive experience of being Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Brown.
Take the exterior for example, the black grille vanes pay tribute to the Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engine of the bomber aircraft while brass speaker covers depict the flight distance of 1,880 miles (approx. 3,025km).
Inside, smoked Eucalyptus wood is vacuum metalised in gold to depict the night time images of the Earth from above. To replicate the frozen instrument panel experienced by the pilots, Rolls-Royce fabricated a clock with an iced background effect which glows in faint green in night time driving conditions.
The craziest detail of the cabin, typical in a Rolls-Royce, is the starlight headliner which in this case, more than 1,183 starlight fibres were used to re-enact the night sky at the time of the flight.
What makes the headlining even cooler is that even clouds were embroidered on it, complemented with the flight path embroidered in brass thread, while red fibre optic lights indicate the point at which the pilots began navigating through the stars.