Unveiled at Villa d’Este for Concorso d’Eleganza, Sweptail is a highly bespoke motor car created by Rolls-Royce to fulfill the dreams of a single customer. This is the ultra-rare Rolls-Royce Sweptail.
The owner of this car, who doesn’t wish to be named, has deep pockets. Very deep pockets, since the special Rolls-Royce is rumored to cost around $13 million, which could be the most expensive car ever built. The unnamed gentleman came to Rolls-Royce to realize his vision of a one-off luxury motor car that would evoke the beauty of coachbuilt Rolls-Royces of the 1920s and 1930s. The client’s desire was for a coachbuilt two-seater coupé featuring a large panoramic glass roof.
Amongst his inspirations were the dramatic 1925 Phantom I Round Door – the svelte tapering glasshouse, dramatic dash to axle proportion and upsweep of the rear departure angle of the 1934 Phantom II Streamline Saloon. Other classics from the marque’s golden age informing this car were the 1934 Gurney Nutting Phantom II Two Door Light Saloon and the Park Ward 20/25 Limousine Coupé.
The grille is the largest fitted to any modern-era Rolls Royce. It’s milled from a single piece of aluminum, before being hand-polished to a mirror shine. Further back you have the “swept-tail” that gives the car its name, while Rolls says the way the bodywork wraps under the car “with no visible boundary to the surfaces” is “akin to the hull of a yacht”. Meanwhile the “bullet-tip” center brake light and lower bumper “combine to create a greater feeling of elegance in motion”.
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. From the leading edge of the windscreen, the roofline accelerates as it fires backward towards the rear of the motor car, overshooting the boot lid edge to emphasize its length. The longer side window graphic and wide C-pillar finisher underscore the length and proportions of this more wondrous of conveyances.
Seen directly from behind, the rear taper contrasts strongly with the front of the motor car, shaping an entirely new perception of a dramatic Rolls-Royce Coupé.
And finishing off the uncluttered rear of this one-off motor car, is its identifier and registration number, 08. Two single digits milled from ingots of aluminum and hand polished.
The panoramic glass roof illuminates a minimalist interior, ‘decked’ out in materials as rich as you’d expect from the marque. Dark ebony wood and ‘Dark Spice’ leather are complimented by lighter paldao wood and ‘Moccasin’ leather. The minimalist ethic is taken to the extreme with the dashboard, which ditches everything except for one single physical control – everything else is hidden away to allow the materials to star.
This philosophy is perhaps best embodied in the Sweptail’s clock, which is simply carved into the same ebony veneer like the rest of the dash. The thinness of the veneer allows the numbers to be illuminated through the wood, letting the clock blend seamlessly into the rest of the dash.
Behind the two large front seats, instead of a rear bench, you’ll find a vast expanse of wood, ideal for storing designer suitcases. The center armrest is a chiller for a bottle of vintage champagne and two crystal champagne flutes.
The coachbuilt Rolls-Royce is for a specific customer, every aspect of the material treatment of ‘Sweptail’ exudes handcrafted quality and exacting attention to detail. In short, it is a Rolls-Royce – but like no other before.