March 28, 2016 @ 03:34 PM

There are cars, and then there’s Rolls-Royce

There’s nothing standard when it comes to Rolls-Royce. But just in case you want to make it unique, Bespoke is at your beck and call


There are many stories that Michael Bryden, Bespoke Designer, can tell you that throws light into the world of the ultra-well-heeled. It wouldn’t be right to brand the Bespoke customers as eccentric, nor do we have the right to accuse them of ‘destroying’ a Rolls-Royce with tastelessness.

Michael, a Coventry University graduate, who joined the company in 2012, now oversees all customer one-off requests and holds the keys to the Home of Rolls-Royce Collection, Phantom Limelight Collection, and the development of Rolls-Royce accessories such as Wraith Luggage. He was also involved in the initial concept development for the Serenity Phantom, which is famous for having 33 feet of hand-woven silk and its hand-embroidered cherry-blossom branches.

So the story goes that one of Bespoke’s regular customers, Michael Fux, an American businessman and philanthropist, was at a Concours d’Elegance showing his latest Bespoke Rolls-Royce when someone came up to him and ask where will be find inspiration for his next Bespoke commission. It was said that he looks around, look to the ground, saw a flower, picked it up and said that the colour of the petals would be the basis of his next commission.

Whether or not it is true, Michael Fux knows how to employ Bespoke to their fullest potential. Take for example his Phantom Drophead. The colour he wanted for the car didn’t exist in Rolls-Royce’s catalogue to Bespoke had to mix a new colour, which is now called ‘Fux Candy Red’ and is kept in Goodwood for his exclusive use. He liked the colour so much that he requested the same colour to be incorporated into the custom carbon-fibre weave he had specified — something that has never been done before, something no other car manufacturer have even attempted to execute. Bespoke had somehow succeeded in meeting his request and the result is really quite fetching. Which makes his other request of having leather floors seem unchallenging.

Michael Fux also owns a Wraith fully coloured — even the interior — in lime green and its complementing shades. It is said that he took inspiration from the colour of his favourite sneaker. Interesting.

It also goes to show that no two Bespoke cars are alike; most certainly not when you have an extensive selection of 44,000 external paint hues, uncountable wood veneer options, leather styles and colours. And to make sure that no request is too big, unless it defies natural laws, road safety regulations and passenger safety, Rolls-Royce have doubled the number of designers and craftspeople — specialists — to work on the cars. One interesting fact: there’s a man employed by Bespoke to draw, by hand and without any assistance, the shoulder line that runs from nose to tail. To date he has executed thousands of lines without flaw.

Personalisation of a Rolls-Royce really begins with the customer. Most often, it is the unforgettable experience in one’s life, whether it is time spent abroad studying or a family’s favourite pastime, that sparks the whole process. Bespoke will then send someone like Michael Bryden to consult, advice and basically take the customer’s order. Questions will be asked about the origins of the inspiration. The more forthcoming the customer, the more accurate the designers can be. Also taken into consideration during this period is where the car will be and what will be the culture that the car runs in.

After that, it is choosing the right exterior colour, whether it is from the catalog or a custom paint. Then it is time to choose the grain of the leather, the veneer of the wood and its other decorative elements. “Would you like a Starlight headliner with your Phantom? Or maybe some diamonds for your dashboard?”

It typically takes anywhere between six months to a year to finish a commission, although the timeline depends very much on the complexity of the request and the customers approval. The end price is also very much determined by the complexity of the request, which can go deep into the six figures, in British Pounds or Euros, on top of the price of the Rolls-Royce itself.

While you may balk at the price, try to think of it this way. If you own a Rolls-Royce, wouldn’t you want your car to be the only one in the world, unique just as you are? In its essence, a Rolls-Royce is merely a blank canvas that you put your personal touches till the car becomes an extension of yourself.

CHRIS NG

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