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Who wants a Rolls-Royce with a glow-in-the-dark clock?

50 special Rolls Wraiths commemorate 100 years of transatlantic flight

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Here’s a fact to impress your friends with: June 2019 marks 100 years since mankind first flew across the Atlantic Ocean. 

Yep, in 1919, the presumably quite mad pair of Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Brown climbed about their Vickers-Vimy aircraft in Newfoundland and crash-landed (unhurt) 16 hours later in County Galway, Ireland. 

Having dusted themselves off, the pilots were met by a little-known politician called Winston Churchill, and presented with awards from the king a week later. Jolly good show, chaps. 

‘What does this have to do with cars’, you might wonder. Cars that Top Gear might get excited about, in particular. Well, the ex-WWI aircraft flown by Alcock and Brown was powered by two Rolls-Royce engines. And so, a century on, the automotive arm of the Rolls dynasty is paying tribute to the first flight across ‘The Pond’. With some bespoke motor cars, old sport.

Rolls-Royce is preparing 50 limited editions models of its Wraith coupe to mark the anniversary, and the detailing sounds exquisite. The Wraith ‘Eagle VIII, as it’s known, features “a starlight headliner sketch shows cloud embroidery, the halfway point coordinates and the flight path of Alcock and Brown”, we’re told. Meanwhile, a sketch of the flight’s night-time view is inlayed into the dashboard – in gold. Or in silver. Or copper. Your choice. 

In daytime mode, the Eagle VIII’s clock face is surrounded by an ‘iced-up effect’, paying homage to the freezing conditions in Alcock and Brown’s aircraft after its heater failed and the instruments froze solid. At night, your Wraith’s clock will turn green – just like the dimly-lit instruments in the transatlantic plane. Nice touch, that. 

We’re not expecting any more power from the Wraith’s mighty 624bhp, twin-turbo V12, but it’s hardly necessary. The Rolls engines that powered the world’s first transatlantic flight were good for only 390bhp. And you can be sure the plane wasn’t good for 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds. 

No word on price yet. And you’ll have to bring your own sheepskin flying jacket and goggles. Any ideas for an even more British special edition? Leave your ideas below. 

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