Rolls-Royce has just unveiled the most expensive car ever built – a one-off custom creation called the Sweptail. At a reported price of nearly $13 million, it far surpasses the previous leader in the category – the $3 million Bugatti Chiron.
Presenting the car to the media at the 2017 Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars said, “Sweptail is a truly magnificent car.
It exudes the romance of travel for its own sake, and immediately places ‘Sweptail’ in the pantheon of the world’s great intercontinental tourers. Rolls-Royce’s history as the world’s leading coachbuilder is at the very core of its identity as the world’s leading luxury brand.
The arrival of 103EX shone a light on the future of Rolls-Royce in this field, and ‘Sweptail’ is proof, today, that Rolls-Royce is at the pinnacle of coachbuilding. We are listening carefully to our most special customers and assessing their interest in investing in similar, completely exclusive coachbuilt masterpieces. At the same time we are looking into the resources which will allow us to offer this unique service to these discerning patrons of luxury.”
Still, Rolld-Royce’s newest addition will not be as expensive as the costliest $38 million Ferrari 250 GTO, but it will retail in the price range of brand-new Chirons.
The Sweptail represents a return to prominence for the brand’s time-honored coach-building business. Described as the automotive equivalent of haute couture, Sweptail was designed and hand-tailored to fit a specific customer.
The concept for the Sweptail came to life thanks to an anonymous client, who approached the brand with a unique request in 2013. The wealthy connoisseur of super-yachts and aircrafts requested a unique car inspired by luxury yachts of the 1920s and ’30s. The result is a vehicle that erases the difference between driving and sailing as it brings them together in one smooth experience.
It is the result of four years of meticulous work and uncompromising craftsmanship. The Sweptail’s signature feature is the single-piece glass roof, which tapers into the car’s fastback rear end. This bold design feature dominates the car’s silhouette. Technical specs of the car have not yet been released, but it’s believed to be based on the current-generation Phantom platform. If this is true, this means some version of the company’s 6.75-liter V-12 is most likely to be found under its long bonnet.
As one moves around to the side of ‘Sweptail’ one finds that it is the striking silhouette that defines its unique character. Flowing as they do from upright and formal frontal aspect, the lines of ‘Sweptail’ resolve into a sveltely elegant form. The scale and grandeur of this regal looking coupé is evident. From the leading edge of the windscreen, the roofline accelerates as it fires backwards towards the rear of the motor car, overshooting the boot lid edge to emphasise its length. The longer side window graphic and wide C-pillar finisher underscore the length and proportions of this more wondrous of conveyances.
The coup de gras of the rear is the ultimate homage to the world of racing yachts that inspired the client, with its raked stern. Seen directly from behind, the rear taper contrasts strongly with the front of the motor car, shaping a completely new perception of a dramatic Rolls-Royce Coupé.
Both the roof line as it tapers towards the centre line of the car, concluding in a ‘bullet-tip’ that houses the centre brake light, and the sweeping lower bumper area of the motor car, combine to create a greater feeling of elegance in motion.
The cleanliness of the surface of ‘Sweptail’ is maintained as the bodywork wraps under the car with no visible boundary to the surfaces, a treatment that is akin to the hull of a yacht. The underside of the motor car was designed to deliver the visual of a progressive upward sweep at the rear departure angle of the car, culminating in the swept-tail that gives ‘Sweptail’ it name.
And finishing off the uncluttered rear of this one-off motor car, is its identifier and registration number, 08. Two individual digits milled from ingots of aluminium and hand polished.
The panoramic glass roof invites one into the magnificent interior, along with the natural light.
The highlight feature of ‘Sweptail’ however is that specifically asked for by the client. An uninterrupted glass roof, one of the largest and most complex ever seen on a motor car of any marque, allows the cabin to be flooded with natural light, animating a host of beautifully handcrafted materials and componentry.
The size, scale and complexity of the glass roof’s curvature is a marvel to behold, and from above again accentuates the speed and elegance of ‘Sweptail’. Creating the ambience of the interior of the motor car, the glass of the roof is framed by polished aluminium rails that channel it into a vanishing point at the rearmost extremity of the cabin.