Who knows how we get invited to shindigs this big and fancy: But … we’re delighted to be among the select few luxury companies to be profiled in Strive for Perfection, a commemorative book celebrating the Rolls-Royce Owners Club’s Annual Meet. That’s right, that Rolls-Royce: The essentially semi-custom luxury automotive brand that has defined the high-end in rolling personal transport since 1906. The owner’s club invited us out to their annual confab for Rolls owners. This year, they are meeting in French Lick, Indiana. We will be among a select group of owners of those iconic Rolls-Royce and Bentley vehicles. We certainly feel in good company!
So, you may ask, what is the connection between big-old Bentley and Rolls-Royce, and little old us? Well, our design process is like theirs. Rolls-Royce and Bentley are inspired by traditional aesthetics, updated with modern systems. Their eyes are always open, studying avant-garde buildings, furniture and aircraft. We both grab inspiration from classic cars. We love the way good automotive design conveys speed and the sexiness of hard cornering and the luxurious embrace of that special vehicle that is yours. We also revel in Rolls-Royce’s freedom to experiment with everything from headlight shape to color palette—we’re often much more constrained by function and by a more rigid tradition. Iconic shapes are molded and softened, headlights morph from kettle-drum parabolas to rectangular LEDs. Wire wheels give way to cast- and machined-alloy parts, breathing whispers of both performance and elegance. Within, leather and bespoke wood panels speak the same language as a century ago, with a different accent.
Here is the big sleeper with being part of the Rolls-Royce design-story: The customers know the language. They get cars. As a designer it’s easy to fall madly for the work of a great architect, like Frank Gehry. We have; we’ve worked on his boat. But it’s hit or miss whether the clients know the story of Gehry’s work. And respond to his ideas. That’s not so with cars: Figure out a way to include the bumper shape from a ‘38 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost? Ah boy, you feel how all the world feels it too. Straight up, you know it can’t miss.
We also take solace in seeing Rolls-Royce and Bentley pushing the edge of design and performance. We are jazzed by Rolls’ Bespoke line that opens the pallet of technologies to suit any customer: Truly hand-built expressions of the state of the automotive art, shaped by cutting-edge design founded in the tradition of the brand.
If you want to learn more about the Rolls-Royce Owners Club Annual Meet, follow this link. We will be posting ideas and designs as we go. All we know is, it’s comforting to see the wheel tracks of others out here on the Spirit of Tradition highway. We are not alone.