In 2017, Rolls-Royce unveiled the Sweptail, a Phantom-based one-off that became one of the most expensive new vehicles ever at $13 million. The idea for the rare coupe came from a customer that wanted to bring back coachbuilding, the process of designing a new body and interior that rides on an established platform. Aside from grabbing international headlines, it allowed the British carmaker to show the world what it could do when presented with a blank cheque.
The Boat Tail followed in its footsteps in 2021, pushing this idea even further. It was also a one-off, costing $28 million this time, and added further complexity thanks to its retractable roof. These two cars represented the work completed by Coachbuild, the brand’s in-house team that tackles these unique cars. Today, during Monterey Car Week, Rolls-Royce unveils the third vehicle of this series, the Droptail.
Unlike its predecessor, the Droptail isn’t a one-off. Rolls-Royce plans to build four in total, with the first being “La Rose Noire,” shown in the photos above. At 17.4 feet long and 6.7 feet wide, its dimensions mirror those of the Ghosts, whereas the other one-offs are Phantom-based and even larger than their production counterparts. The Droptail may still feature two massive doors, but it only offers seating for two inside, making it a proper roadster.
Its roof folds automatically and is made of carbon fiber, whereas previous Rolls-Royce convertibles all featured cloth roofs. The goal was to give the Droptail the look of a roadster and a coupe. Its electrochromic glass allows it to alter the amount of light that comes into the cabin.
Every body panel on the Droptail is new, even down to its lighting elements and front grille. The Coachbild department angled the brand’s Pantheon grille slightly to give the Droptial a sleeker aesthetic while shrinking its headlights. Still, its daytime running lights align with the grille’s upper edge, creating one interrupted line. A line that transitions onto the shoulder line runs uninterrupted from the grille to the tail lights.
The Droptail shown above is named “La Rose Noire” after the Black Baccara rose. The flower appears almost black in the shade but showcases a bright red under direct sunlight. As such, this car’s exterior features two red hues, “True Love” and “Mystery,” whose names were chosen by the commissioning customer. To achieve its unique finish, Rolls-Royce had to develop a new paint process, which took over 150 iterations to perfect, blending different tones of red to complete the color-shift effect.
Its unique wheels feature the darker Mystery shade and contrast nicely against the primary body color. Its trim pieces utilize the same chrome plating process as the Black Badge models but get a unique finish named “Hydroshade.”
Inside is perhaps where the Droptail impresses most. Its interior features an intricate artwork display made of Black Sycamore wood. It features 1,603 hand-finished and hand-assembled triangles, 1,070 of which represent a background, while 533 red pieces depict scattered roses. As it was done by hand, this art piece alone two nearly two years to complete.
As if that wasn’t exclusive enough, the customer commissioned a one-off watch by Audemars Piguet. It’s a 43-millimeter Royal Oak Concept Split Seconds Chronograph GMT Large Date, with a unique Calibre 4407 movement. Like the interior display, it is color matched to the rest of the car and lives nested into the Droptail’s dashboard.
On the performance side, the Droptail features the brand’s 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V12 producing 593 horsepower and 620 pound-feet of torque, both figures increased slightly over the standard production model.
Rolls-Royce hasn’t announced when the remaining three commissions will debut, but given this car’s announcement, they should be arriving relatively soon.