Thrilled to meet the Bespoke Rolls-Royce Drophead Waterspeed at the Quail last week. Extra excited to find the latest Rolls-Royce masterclass matches my Bell & Ross watch!
Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Waterspeed
Okay! Before we get too excited about which would be faster today: the Rolls-Royce-powered Bluebird K3 or the new Phantom Drophead Coupe Waterspeed, we must clarify something!
The K3 is the Bluebird boat. This is likely very obvious to people in the UK or Speed Record buffs, but the Bluebird's I know best are the cars.
But this Phantom DHC Waterspeed indeed celebrates the Bluebird K3 speedboat, whose streamlined lower hull design went on to inspire virtually all modern watercraft.
No jokes allowed here on this topic, as the Phantom Drophead Coupe Waterspeed will easily top the 137-mph total Vmax of the Malcolm Campbell-piloted race boat. This was with an outboard piston engine!
The later K4 carried forward hull outriggers and an inboard engine, before moving to jet power for the twin-hulled K7, which ultimately lost control at high speed with Campbell at the controls.
So what was so special about these boats hitting only 140+ MPH. That is not very quick, you might mutter...
Water creates far more drag than land, where Campbell's Bluebird's reached nearly 300-MPH on Daytona Beach.
ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM DROPHEAD COUPÉ WATERSPEED COLLECTION ARRIVES AT NORTH AMERICA’S PRE-EMINENT AUTOMOTIVE WEEKEND
|ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM DROPHEAD COUPÉ WATERSPEED COLLECTION ARRIVES AT NORTH AMERICA'S PRE-EMINENT AUTOMOTIVE WEEKEND||Show all media|
The Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection, which was conceived to celebrate Sir Malcolm Campbell’s act of setting a new world water-speed record in 1937, has made its North American debut following its presentation at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering Event this morning. On Sunday, it will appear by the water at the Concours D’Elégance at Pebble Beach – the world’s premier celebration of the automobile and a fitting backdrop to the latest Collection car from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
It was on the morning of 1 September 1937 that Campbell established his legend, setting a world-record speed of 126.33mph on Italy’s Lake Maggiore in the famous Bluebird K3 boat powered by a Rolls-Royce R-Engine. The following day he went one better, piloting his craft to 129.5mph, emphatically breaking the United States’ five-year stranglehold on the world water-speed record. Campbell’s momentous achievement captured the world’s attention and reaffirmed the Rolls-Royce R-Engine’s record-breaking superiority after triumphs on land and in the air.
To celebrate this incredible act of British heroism, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ Bespoke Department created the Waterspeed Collection, 35 specially designed Phantom Drophead Coupés. One of these superlative motor cars was displayed at The Quail on 15 August and will appear on the concept car lawn at Pebble Beach on 17 August.
Echoing the cutting-edge technology employed in the construction of Sir Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird K3 craft, only the finest contemporary materials furnish the Waterspeed Collection. Brushed steel perfectly complements an exclusively developed ‘Maggiore Blue’ color scheme, whilst hand-crafted Abachi wood inlays evoke the sense of a boat effortlessly gliding through water at pace. The exterior coachline and laser etchings inside the car bring Campbell’s ‘Bluebird’ motif back to life.
At the North American debut of Waterspeed at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars said, “Sir Malcolm Campbell’s successful pursuit of world-speed records on land and water were the result of his commitment to the most exacting standards of British design and engineering excellence. Such attributes are hallmarks of every Rolls-Royce motor car. This special Collection serves to display the breadth of Bespoke personalization available to every Rolls-Royce customer. We are thrilled to celebrate excellence in automotive design and showcase the Collection at the crown jewel of automotive events here at Pebble Beach.”
The Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection:
The Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection features a number of exclusive Bespoke design and engineering features, perfectly executed to create a thoroughly contemporary tribute to Campbell’s famous craft.
A specially created ‘Maggiore Blue’ color scheme flows like water over all the surfaces of Waterspeed, outside and in. Nine layers of paint are applied before an exhaustive process of hand-sanding and the application of a cutting-edge powdered lacquer is undertaken to ensure an impeccable finish. For the first time in Rolls-Royce history, the exterior finish extends to the engine, creating a visually striking homage to the power behind Campbell’s records. The finish also adorns the car’s specially developed, fully-polished eleven-spoke wheels, providing a subtle decorative accent. The exterior is completed with a hand-painted coachline that culminates in a Bluebird motif with the design taking Rolls-Royce’s master coachline painter four hours to apply by hand.
Phantom Drophead Coupé’s traditional teak decking to the rear makes way for brushed steel, with each piece of material individually beaten by hand for 70 hours and then hand-brushed for a further 10.
The car’s exterior finish is subtly echoed via accents on the dash-board that perfectly complement the ‘Windchill Grey’ interior leather scheme. The marque’s hallmark attention-to-detail extends to the application of laser-engraved door armrest tunnel caps featuring a new interpretation of Campbell’s famous Bluebird motif.
Abachi wood also makes its Rolls-Royce debut in Waterspeed. By nature, the material is cool to the touch with a satin-like tactility, and is bookmatched at an angle to echo the wake left by a boat moving at speed.
Further reference to Campbell’s craft is made via a new interpretation of the famous ‘power reserve’ dial. As the driver presses on, the dial moves backwards towards a yellow and blue zone, echoing Campbell’s original K3 boat’s ‘going into the blue’ at maximum engine revolutions. A Bespoke clock adorned with Bluebird’s infinity symbol and dials hewn from a billet of aluminum further evoke K3.
Direct tribute to the records is paid in the glove compartment, with a debossed panel expressing the records Campbell achieved on Lake Maggiore and on Coniston Water. Finally, the steering wheel is presented in two-tone for the very first time, with ‘Magiorre Blue’ accents balancing perfectly with traditional black leather to complete a beautifully conceived interior design scheme.
“This very special motor car serves to pay a perfect homage to my grandfather’s remarkable acts of British daring and endeavor,” said Donald Wales, grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell. “The extraordinary attention-to-detail and commitment to engineering excellence so evident in these motor cars perfectly echoes the lengths my grandfather and his colleagues went to in their pursuit of the water speed records.”
Further Rolls-Royce Bespoke presentations at Pebble Beach:
In addition to the unveil of Waterspeed today, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars was pleased to present Mr. Michael Fux with the keys to the latest addition to his collection, a 2014 Wraith. Mr. Fux, one of Rolls-Royce’s most prolific Bespoke customers, received his car today at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering Event.
The two-tone car is presented in two specially developed colors; Aequus Green and Cornish White with Jade Pearl accents. Once inside, the vibrant color theme continues with matching green across the interior, including leather seats, floor mats and carpets, leather covered stalks and steering wheel, with veneer parts complementing in Pearl Green. In true Michael Fux style, attention has been paid to even the smallest details with the speakers, front and rear vents and rear view mirror casing finished in the car’s unique green hue.
“I look forward to Pebble Beach every year,” said Michael Fux. “It’s such a great honor to be receiving my new bespoke Rolls-Royce at such a special place. This year is no different; I’m very excited about this new addition to my collection and look forward to designing more creations with the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bespoke team in the future.”
2014 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM DROPHEAD COUPE WATERSPEED
But the Phantom obviously prefers land, where it will happily sit atop those speeds all day, every day. With the AC on cool and some inspiring BBC World Service on the radio....
All jest aside, the Waterspeed leverages many great moments in history to create such a lovely and unique piece of modern art. The Waterspeed DHC is limited to 35 examples for sale to customers, with workmanship and holistic design execution by the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Division. This is a sharp group, and one who take these themes very seriously while planning and building a client's dreamcar.
Rather than thinking of this a a performance upgrade, think of it as a curated theme that ties all elements of the
million billion possible Rolls-Royce customizations together into one lovely, coherent idea.
ROLLS-ROYCE SHARES SPECIAL WATERSPEED CAR WITH SIR MALCOLM CAMPBELL’S FAMILY
Donald and Joe Wales, the grandson and great grandson of pioneer record-breaker Sir Malcolm Campbell, have given their seal of approval to the first of 35 Bespoke Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection cars at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex.
Built to commemorate Campbell’s seminal act of British daring and endeavour, this latest creation by the marque’s Bespoke department takes inspiration from the Bluebird craft in which the records were set. A specially created exterior finish named Maggiore Blue takes its name from the lake on the Swiss-Italian border where Campbell broke the United States’ five year strangle-hold on the waterspeed records in 1937. This very special collection also pays homage to a period when the Rolls-Royce R-Type engine held speed records on land, water and in the air.
Donald and Joe enjoyed a walk through the manufacturing plant with Bespoke Designer Alex Innes before reviewing the specially commissioned car. On seeing the collection car, Donald, himself a record breaker, said, “I have no doubt that my grandfather Sir Malcolm Campbell would feel extremely proud to see his achievements honoured in this way. The Waterspeed car is a work of art; the blue and brushed steel evoke connotations of my grandfather’s World Record boats, Bluebird K3 and K4. This car is a lovely addition to the Rolls-Royce collection and a fabulous homage to a very important part of our racing heritage.”
It takes over 80 hours for a Rolls-Royce craftsperson to manufacture and hand brush the car’s striking brushed steel deck, whilst the coachline, complete with Bluebird motif, took another four hours to hand-apply using a squirrel hair brush.
Alex Innes, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Bespoke Designer, said, “It gives me great pleasure to reveal Waterspeed to Donald and Joe Wales. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars echo Sir Malcolm Campbell’s commitment to engineering excellence and the constant pursuit of the ultimate in British Design. Using only the finest materials and exceptional craftsmanship, we have created a car which demonstrates the possibilities of Bespoke personalisation available to all Rolls-Royce customers.”
The Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection features a number of exquisitely designed and crafted Bespoke design features that have never appeared on a Rolls-Royce before. Further details revealing an insight into the creation of the cars will follow in the coming weeks.
The 1937 Records
On the morning of 1 September 1937, at the height of the battle between the United States and Great Britain to be the fastest nation on water, Sir Malcolm Campbell headed out onto the calm blue waters of Lake Maggiore on the Swiss-Italian frontier. On taking the wheel of his Bluebird K3 hydroplane boat, powered by Rolls-Royce’s R-Type engine, he established his legend, setting a record of 126.32 mph. The following day he went one better, piloting his craft to 129.5 mph, in doing so emphatically breaking the United States’ five-year stranglehold on the world waterspeed record. Campbell’s momentous achievement captured the world’s attention and reaffirmed the Rolls-Royce R-Type engines’ record-breaking superiority after triumphs on land and in the air.