When the established rules become a constraint to creativity, it takes individuals of vision to carry the game forward. It was this spirit of individuality that has inspired the creation of two Great British institutions – Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and the game of rugby. Celebrating the illustrious history of the latter, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is delighted to introduce the Rolls-Royce ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’, a unique creation from the company’s Bespoke Design Studio in Goodwood, England.
Usually tasked with reflecting the individual taste and lifestyle of a bold new generation of customer, Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke team has drawn inspiration from the rich history of the quintessentially English sport to create a unique car. The Rolls-Royce ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’ celebrates England’s fundamental attachment to the great game, through an expression of individuality in keeping with the pioneering inspiration behind the game of rugby and Rolls-Royce.
In a challenge to established automotive thinking at the time, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars was founded when The Honourable Charles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce re-wrote the rules for what the motor car should represent, and what the best car in the world should be able to do. In 1823, one young man blazed a similar trail in establishing the game of rugby – William Webb Ellis, “With a fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it.”
The rules of rugby were laid down shortly thereafter, inspired by Webb Ellis’ example. The scene of this exploit was Rugby School in Warwickshire, founded in 1567, where a plaque still stands today to tell Webb Ellis’ story and mark the point at which rugby’s history began.
‘Wraith – History of Rugby’
Many of the design features which run throughout the Rolls-Royce ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’ will be familiar to followers of English rugby, but have their foundation in the traditions of Rugby School. The exterior colour scheme of English White pays homage to the white rugby shirt worn at Rugby School, a tradition continued today by the England rugby team.
Another evocative feature of English rugby since 1871 is the red rose, originally hand-finished on the front of the white shirt. Folklore has it that the rose originates from Rugby School and Queen Elizabeth I, her red rose emblem placed with her permission on the school crest by its founder. Continuing Rolls-Royce’s reputation for hand-crafted personalisation, the Wraith’s signature shoulder-line is accentuated by a hand-applied coachline in deep green, featuring an English rose motif in red. 21” five twin-spoke alloy wheels complete the Wraith’s muscular exterior persona.
The most recognisable symbol of English rugby has been suitably crafted into the interior of the Rolls-Royce ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’. Each headrest features an embroidered red rose, with Hotspur Red continuing the theme onto the dashboard accent panel, seat and door piping. Piano Black veneer has been selected for the dashboard, the centre panel of which is delicately inlaid with the English rose. The main interior colour is Seashell contrasted with Navy Blue.
The use of Rolls-Royce leather has been extended beyond the interior of ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’. Gilbert, the iconic manufacturer of rugby balls – and the maker of the very same football first picked up by William Webb Ellis in 1823 – has produced a limited number of rugby balls to match this unique Wraith. Created using the same Seashell and Hotspur Red leather, each ball has been embroidered by the craftspeople at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, with the red rose on one panel and the Rolls-Royce motif on the other.
The journey of creating a highly Bespoke Rolls-Royce motor car begins with inspiration. Indeed, many Rolls-Royce customers choose to express a particular passion in the design of their motor cars. This is realised at the Bespoke Design Studio at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood. Here, the designers have drawn inspiration from the history of the game of rugby, creating a fitting tribute with the Wraith’s characteristic blend of power, style and drama.
James Crichton, Regional Director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Europe, commented, “This truly unique Wraith emphasises vision and individuality, inspired by the role it plays within a team. While the game of rugby may have been inspired by the act of one individual, it is one of the world’s most popular team sports. In a similar vein, this one car represents the efforts of the team of engineers and craftspeople working at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, producing the most individual motor cars in the world.”