The Rolls Royce Dawn and Wraith might be leaving the U.S. However, these two models are still primed to be potent players in the international market, and that includes the bevy of special Collection models that the British ultra-luxury carmaker intends to produce. The latest addition to this series is the Landspeed Collection, and unlike other entries in this series, this one aims to deliver a bit of historical redemption.
Rolls Royce Revives History With Landspeed Collection
As mentioned, the Wraith and Dawn Landspeed Collection editions are out for redemption, with the duo revisiting a forgotten slice of history. The story began in 1937 when Captain George Eyston arrived at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Eyston was out seeking a record and was the driver chosen to pilot the Thunderbolt land-speed car. This early speedster was powered by two Rolls Royce V12 engines, which were literally transplanted from aircraft. The massive V12’s helped Eyston smash the record with a run of 312 mph. Eyston was not done, though, and returned to the salty expanse a year later and recorded a 357.9 mph sprint across the flats. That particular record would stand until 1939, when the outbreak of WW2 forced record-breaking attempts around the world to be sidelined for the war effort.
Sadly Eyston did not return to the record-chasing business after the war, and the history books gradually forgot about his contribution. While the Wraith and the Dawn do not have a massive 37 liter V12 lurking under their hoods, they still get twelve-cylinder power from the long-serving 6.6. liter twin-turbocharged V12. With both of these models being offered in Black Badge trim only, they make slightly more power than their slightly more sedate siblings.
But before we get too buried in history, we might as well take a moment to revel in some of the special treatments that both models have received. The Bonneville Salt Flats is not a static place where everything stands still; rather, the terrain is constantly evolving and changing, with the forces of nature keeping things in flux. This is reflected in some of the interior touches in the Landspeed Collection models, with the leather trim having a fissured look with ribbed appointments scattered throughout. The clock mounted on the right side of the gauge cluster is styled after the gauges used on the Thunderbolt. At the same time, the dashboard and the centerpiece covering the cupholders have cracks etched into it that strongly resemble the terrain at Bonneville. We’ll admit this particular touch had us rubbing our eyes a few times, with the 3D effect being very convincing.
A highlight item in the cabin for us, though, is the latest example of Rolls Royce not skimping the details with the Starlight roof on the Wraith actually being crafted in such a way that it actually accurately represents the star pattern that was in the skies over the salt flats on September 16th, 1938. We’re not sure how Rolls managed to pull it off, considering that photography was purely black and white in this period, but we suspect that some star charts might have played a role in that.
Exterior Styling Brings New Colors And Appointments To Wraith And Dawn
With the interior relishing in the record-setting theme, Rolls Royce designers added some exterior touches of their own to help make sure that the Landspeed Collection’s suit of clothes reflected the theme. Both the Dawn and the Wraith are coated in a trim exclusive two-tone paint scheme, with the combination debuting a new blue called “Bonneville Blue.” Along with the elegant blue hue, the models also come with splashes of yellow and black accents. These adornments are a subtle nod to the markings that the Thunderbolt had to have painted onto it due to the primitive nature of the photo-electric technology used to time the runs. As mentioned prior, color photography was a long way away, so the coloration helped the contraption “see” when the Thunderbolt drove by it. It’s a very clever solution to a key problem in cataloging the runs and shows some of the clever engineering that had to be done to help make these runs possible.
“With this Collection, we have revived Eyston’s memory and retold his remarkable story,” said Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös. “Throughout Wraith and Dawn Landspeed, clients will find numerous subtle design elements and narrative details that recall and commemorate his amazing achievements, grand vision, and exceptional courage.
When Can I Buy A Wraith/Dawn Landspeed Collection Model?
If you’re a well-heeled buyer looking for the perfect mixture of speed and history, you will have to deal with rarity when it comes to reviving this lost piece of automotive history. Rolls Royce didn’t release final pricing for the duo (you can assume it’s a lot) but revealed that the firm only intends to build 65 examples, which translates to 35 Wraiths and 25 Dawns. We’re not sure how many out of this total are headed to the United States, but we think George Eyston would be proud of what Rolls Royce has managed to achieve with the Landspeed Collection.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.