Let’s talk about carbon fibre. A material pioneered (for motoring use at least) by McLaren. First in F1 racing, with 1981’s MP4/1’s revolutionary carbon tub, and then Gordon Murray’s F1 road car chassis. Course, it’s now found just about everywhere. From BMW’s electric i3 city car to Alfa’s controversial 4C lightweight, and everything from phone cases to posh luggage. It’s morphed from pure car construction to fashion accessory.
So, what happens when the two functions meet? Well, you end up with this oddball joint effort between a Spanish design house called Bengala, and an American counterpart, Vitesse AuDessus. Their mission? To use ‘forged carbon fibre’ to rebody the least lightweight, handling-focused cars you could care to name: Rolls-Royces.
‘Forged’ carbon fibre, since you ask, used a ‘compressed carbon matrix’ to give a mosaic tile-like finish. Bengala boss Shoghi Saeidnia explains: “As a designer I was inspired by the mosaic-like motifs and felt that the aesthetic could be elevated. I visualised a material with the look of honed granite that would communicate the antithesis of the current perception: opulent luxury as opposed to ascetic utilitarianism”. Well, what he said.
Prices are offered in US dollars, so notepads at the ready: it’s $7250 for the bonnet (for a Rolls, that’s football-pitch sized). A grille surround is up to $4,125, mirror covers are $3,125, and to carbon-ify your windscreen surround is up to $3,840. Then there are two bespoke pieces for the Wraith coupe, specifically the $9,655 carbon roof and $6,950 decklid. So theoretically, spec the whole lot and you’re looking at a £25,000-ish bill for your unofficial Wraith Superleggera.
Want more carbon? There’s no prices quoted for them, but Bengala says its forged carbon wheels are an industry first which can be produced in minutes, rather than the days it takes for Koenigsegg or Ford to cook up a set.
We’ll leave a judgment on the results up to you. Certainly brings a new meaning to increasing your carbon footprint, doesn’t it?