Rolls-Royce is known for two things: airplane engines and extremely luxurious cars. Its Bespoke division is famed for one: adding a dash of special to said luxury car with detailed customisations limited only by the customer’s wealth and imagination. The sum of these parts is the Wraith Eagle VIII, one of the most impressive limited-run vehicles – a true-to-character Rolls-Royce – to roll out of Goodwood in modern times. And one example has just landed right here in Malaysia.
This is a big deal because the Bespoke division has strictly limited the Eagle VIII treatment to just 50 units worldwide, and all of them have been spoken for, including the one that just touched down in Malaysia. If you’re curious, the new owner had to fork out RM3.3 million after duties – roughly RM300k more than the standard Wraith – for the bragging rights of owning one of just two examples registered in South East Asia. If you’re still curious, the other unit is right across the causeway.
The Wraith Eagle VIII celebrates the 100-year anniversary of the first non-stop transatlantic flight in history by John Alcock and Arthur Brown in a bi-plane powered by twin 20.3-litre Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines. The records say that the Eagle VIII engines were the only components that survived the perilous voyage from Newfoundland to Ireland – a broken radio and navigation instruments meant that the duo had to navigate using the stars.
The celestial arrangement at the time of the flight in 1919, as well as the flight path and constellations are immortalised in the Wraith Eagle VIII’s bespoke starlight headliner using 1,183 fiber optic lights. The night’s sky is further visualised in the smoked eucalyptus panels that are “vacuum metalised in gold before being inlaid with silver and copper”.
And then there are the bits that are made of brass inspired by the sextant, a navigational tool typically made of the material. There are brass speaker covers depicting the estimated flight distance of 1,880 miles, brass-coloured body line and upholstery stitching as well as brass inserts in the doors, including a plaque with a quote from Winston Churchill commending the achievements of Alcock and Brown.
The list continues with things like a clock born out of recollections of a frozen instrument panel and two-tone livery in the fashion of the original Vickery Vimy bomber that made the fateful flight. But we’d be writing till tomorrow if we attempted to dissect every detail that adds up to the Eagle VIII’s RM300k premium – a nominal amount for those wealthy enough to shop in the multi-million Ringgit aisle given the historical significance of the car and, ultimately, its rarity exceeding that of the McLaren F1.
The question is, what will Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke team come up with next?