13 crazy facts about Rolls-Royce you probably didn't know
Includes: Champagne temps, seismometer alerts and 'Flying Doctors'
As you can imagine, when Rolls-Royce is making eye-wateringly expensive land yachts for the world’s elite, some pretty potty stats, facts and stories come out of this rather unique process. And you're not wrong. So we've collated some of the wildest stories we've heard then had them corroborated by Rolls itself – so there’s no fake news here, peeps.
We start with this. The most detailed single piece of embroidery to feature in a Rolls-Royce is a Peregrine Falcon, the fastest bird in the world. The photo-realistic design consists of nearly 250,000 stitches and took a team of designers, craftspeople and engineers over one month to develop. Unfortunately, we cannot confirm or deny whether this commission was for Bill Oddie.Advertisement - Page continues below
The Spirit of Ecstasy (the flying lady sat up front on all Rollers) is valued so highly by the marque that there is a safe on the shop floor at Goodwood containing no more flappy mascots than necessary for one day of production. The code is known only by a small circle of craftspeople. Apparently, they’re not very ticklish either.
When a car is being developed, all kinds of hideous acts of abuse occur to make sure they’re fit for customers. When your customers are the world’s elite, you need to go above and beyond. So, during extreme suspension testing of the Phantom Extended Wheelbase, the car was hit with such a knock a seismometer was triggered 20 miles away from the Home of Rolls Royce in Worthing, Sussex. The car was fine.Advertisement - Page continues below
It takes 60 pairs of hands 400 hours to build a Rolls-Royce – this can more than double depending on the complexity of a Bespoke commission. Annoyingly, octopuses can’t build Rolls-Royces to save time.
Sommeliers advise that the optimum serving temperatures of non-vintage Champagne is around six degrees centigrade and vintage Champagnes is around 11 degrees centigrade. With this knowledge in mind, Rolls-Royce equips its cars with a fridge that operates two cooling modes, chilling to six degrees and 11 degrees respectively. You don’t get that sort of service in Vodka Revs.
Painting a Rolls is a bit different to shaking a rattle-can and saying a prayer. To get a mirror-like finish, five layers of paint are applied by the only robots you will find at the factory. Any hard-to-reach spots are painted by highly skilled paint experts. In total the process of applying a flawless exterior finish takes seven days and uses over 45kg of paint.
A ‘bodge job’ isn’t something that’s in Rolls-Royce’s vocab. Imperfections are not tolerated at any level. So leather is sourced from only the finest bulls, reared at high-altitude to avoid stretching and insect bites. Blemishes, imperceptible to the untrained eye are rejected, with off-cut leather being passed down to the fashion industry.Advertisement - Page continues below
The anal attention to detail continues. Did you know that engineers analyse cavities with an endoscope during monsoon water tests to ensure no moisture ingress? What happens if a car fails? It's scrapped.
Don’t worry, if you want a Rolls-Royce but live in a country without a dealer, specially trained technicians will fly to your home country to service the car. This small band of experts have been affectionately dubbed ‘Flying Doctors’. Before you get carried away, they don’t have wings and stethoscopes around their necks.Advertisement - Page continues below
You may know about Rolls’ ritzy Starlight Headliner. That’s the 1,340 individually hand-woven optical fibres that mirror the starry sky of whatever day you choose. But, in 2018, Rolls-Royce added shooting stars into the constellation. On Black Badge models the shooting stars dart predominantly over the front occupants, as – being driver-focused – that’s where you’re encouraged to sit.
While testing the drop-top Rolls-Royce Dawn, lead Test and Analysis engineers were required to wear shorts so they were able to detect any drafts around their legs and feet. Oh! We forgot to mention that this testing was conducted in January in three degrees centigrade. Fresh.
Here's one for you music fans: over 25m of cabling is used to transfer audio data in a Rolls-Royce. Fiber-optic cabling is used to ensure immunity against interference. Basically, your choons sound banging in a Roller. “Alexa, play Mo Money Mo Problems.”
Many Rolls owners are passionate art collectors, so for the latest Phantom, Rolls actually managed to turn the Phantom’s dash into a gallery space: an expanse of toughened glass runs the full width of the dashboard. You can put whatever you want in there. But every single component that makes a Phantom Gallery is painstakingly cleaned by hand inside a particle-proof Clean Room before final assembly. This takes two people two hours to complete.