This is the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Waterspeed edition, built to celebrate Sir Malcolm Campbell’s circa 1937, 129.5mph water speed record.
Why? Well, the company says that this Phantom doffs its cap to Sir Malc’s boat, the Bluebird K3, which was powered by a Rolls-Royce R-Type engine. There’s also some guff about celebrating brave endeavour and derring-do. But if you peer under the flannel, you’ll see something a lot more interesting.
What this car demonstrates is the breadth of RR’s bespoke department - the in-house customisers that build one-off stuff for rich people. Think West Coast Customs that’s gone to finishing school. This department lets the customers co-design a few little touches, just for them, then charges them a tremendous amount of money for the privilege. One-off paintwork, special engraving work, unique seating - it’s all possible. As are bills well north of £100,000.
A Rolls-Royce spokesperson says: “99.9 per cent of Phantom sales have an element of bespoke on them. So do about 90 per cent of Wraith, and 75 per cent of Ghosts. The customers like to personalise their car.”
Thing is, it seems plutocrats - and the other crats that make up RR’s customer base - aren’t always terribly creative, and occasionally need a nudge of the imagination to spark more bespoke commissions. What this car does, and other concepts like the Celestial Phantom do, is remind them how wild they can go.
Click on to see what’s possible…