Roll-Royce’s New Coachbuild Department Takes Pride In Creating Amazing Bespoke Cars

Rolls-Royce is reviving the art of coachbuilding by introducing a new department, and with it, a new, ultra-bespoke, by-commission service for its most ambitious customers. Called, quite simply, Coachbuild, it formalises something that Goodwood has been quietly working on and building towards for some time now. For example, it released the one-off Sweptail in 2017, when it was the most expensive car in the world at the time; a grand expression of the luxury, intercontinental grand tourer with a bullet-like shape recalling the finest profiles of the 20th century.

Coachbuild is introduced with a powerful example of its potential in the Boat Tail. Three of these cars have been made, specifically for three patrons that have a particular passion for contemporary nautical design. By agreement, they would share the same body style, while the specifics would be tailored specially for each owner’s desires. The original brief also asked for the Boat Tail to be something never before seen, and to mark a sense of occasion like nothing else would.

The result is a 5.9-metre four-seater with a detachable hardtop, a vehicle that needed over 1,800 new parts designed specifically for it. The front boasts of the powerful, square-shouldered stance that is emblematic of Rolls-Royce, through one with a grille that is more integrated with the overall profile. The lines flow into a tapered rear end inspired by single-masted racing yachts. The entire forming process by hand, from the penned design proposals, to the full-size clay sculpture, to the hand-hammered aluminium sheets. 

The aft deck is the centrepiece of the Boat Tail, its surface one of a grey-and-black veneer pinstriped with stainless steel in a distinctly yacht-like manner. The woods used were hand-matched specifically to best support the geometry of the car. At the touch of a button, lids on both sides will cantilever their way into the butterfly-like 67-degree fully open position, revealing the hosting suite that holds all the necessities for celebration. Its contents, obligingly tilted at 15 degrees, could be champagne, or caviar, or any number of things, really – the suite has its own climate control system that has been tested at extremes of 80 degrees Celsius and -20 degrees Celsius. It anticipates al fresco dining, with one side dedicated to aperitifs and the other to more substantial fare. It includes engraved cutlery from Christofle, and a refrigerator geared specifically to keep the client’s favoured Armand de Brignac champagne at the optimal temperature. Two serving tables will rotate out the rear, under which are stowed two stools by Italian furniture maker Promemoria. In true Rolls-Royce umbrella fashion, a parasol can also be extended to provide some shade while the festivities commence. The rear section alone has five ECUs to support its complex functionality. Its cargo is, of course, fully secure under road conditions and it does not impact the car’s soundproofing in the least.

More wooden elements are found in the interior, including the lower sections, again invoking yacht construction. The client here is likely a fan of watchmaking, since the instrument dials are guilloche-patterned – and the dashboard clock by Bovet is removable and can be worn as a wristwatch. A particularly cherished Montblanc pen also has its own special leather-and-aluminium case in the glove box.

The Coachbuild programme is a natural extension of Rolls-Royce’s focus on the bespoke, and, according to the brand, is merely catering to a definitive demand from its clients. It is a chance to push its artisans to the limit, and to explore just how intimate a relationship they can have with their customer’s specific requirements.


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