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Rolls-Royce's "Bespoke" Personalization Arm Expands To Meet Increasing Demand

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On: Wed, Aug 17, 2011 at 3:47PM | By: Andrew W Davis

Rolls-Royce's "Bespoke" Personalization Arm Expands To Meet Increasing Demand

Rolls-Royce had a problem. Turns out that so many of the people that bought new Rollers wanted to spend untold riches right away on “personalising”—as the Brits say (or at least spell)—those cars that the firm couldn’t keep up.

And as Rolls-Royce isn’t about to turn away (over)paying customers, what else could they do other than expand the operation that handles such matters. Known in Rolls-speak as “Bespoke,” it is the department that converts your cubic Dollars, Pounds, Euros, etc. into the customized—I mean personalised—Rolls-Royce of your dreams.

As the saying goes, “All it takes is money, honey…”

It may or may not surprise you to learn that a significant number of Rolls-Royce buyers see their car’s MSRP—provided they think the price at all—as merely the first step in building their dream Roller, whether it's a $247k Ghost sedan or a $447k Phantom Drophead Coupe.

If you are surprised it’s obvious that you are not a hedge fund manager, oil tycoon or railroad (or any other kind of) baron or the like as high-fallutin’ folks like that know what’s on R-R’s website: “You don’t just buy a Rolls-Royce, you commission it like a fine piece of art or a super yacht. Commissioning a [Rolls-Royce] is an exciting process and we make sure you are involved every step of the way. As well as enhancing the veneers, upholstery and paintwork with personal touches, you can choose from a wide range of options and accessories. These are just some of the many options available.”

On the Phantom, for instance, they list 20 “mono” and 40 “commissioned” exterior paints—including yellows and reds that have no business being on ANY car, let alone a Rolls-Royce—plus 12 leather colors, 10 wheel choices and six kinds of wood veneer.

And that’s just the starting point, as Thomas Jefferson (T.J.), R-R’s Bespoke Sales Manager says: “We’re here to help you make your Rolls-Royce as unique as you are. You name it, we’ll make it happen.”

“Our Bespoke programme lets you take the process of personalisation even further. The sky's the limit, allowing you to create a unique car that is an expression of your personality.

"To begin the process, you can discuss your ideas with your Dealer or come to Goodwood to explore the possibilities with our Bespoke team. We'll discuss everything with you, from the smallest details to the biggest statements—whatever you have in mind. It may be something subtle—white dials, a special clock face or a discreet humidor. You could go further and choose an integrated cooler/glass holder to fit in the base of the luggage compartment.

"Or you may want to make more of a statement with your initials inlaid in the veneer or a complete leather floor instead of carpet. And a delicate illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy could be just the finishing touch you're looking for. Our experts will sketch your ideas and our team of Bespoke engineers and craftsmen will bring them to life - whatever you dream up, we will find a way to make it a reality.”

Keep in mind, this is above-and-beyond the “normal” options you can opt for, like the “ceremonial flag poles” (one on each front corner), “Everflex roof” [vinyl top], “visible exhausts” [chrome tips], painted “boot handle” [replaces chrome rear deck (over license plate) piece with one painted “Piano Black”], “Exterior shadowline finish” [swaps chrome greenhouse trim with “Piano Black”] and the rest.

[You even can decide which “Spirit of Ecstacy” you want on your grille: the standard chrome model, one in solid silver, one gold-plated or—my favorite—the new “Illuminated” one you saw in my opening photo.]

But that’s not all: “Bespoke operations are not limited to design and development of automotive parts. Bespoke allows Rolls-Royce customers the luxury of commissioning motor cars to suit their personal lifestyles. Examples are as versatile and unique as picnic sets that are colour-matched to a car’s interior, carefully selected luxurious interior materials or the creation of seamless storage for an owner’s favourite belongings.”

As you can see in the pictures below, when Rolls-Royce says “everything” they mean it. Here, in their own words, are three of their more popular options:

"Theatre Configuration: To keep passengers entertained theatre configuration allows them to watch TV or a DVD on two high quality 12-inch screens that fold flat into the backs of the front seats. The backs of the screens can be veneered to match the interior. Headphone sockets let the rear passengers listen to one source while driver and front seat passenger listen to another.”

"Rear Glass Cabinet: Finished in hand-polished veneer to match your interior, the glass cabinet fits seamlessly into the rear passenger area and holds two crystal flutes and two tumblers. To make sure you always have chilled drinks on hand, you can specify a Bespoke built-in coolbox. This is just one of many Bespoke ideas possible to make your Phantom unique.”

"Coachlining: It takes Mark Court, our highly skilled coachline painter, three hours (and a very steady hand) to paint a single five-metre long line on a Phantom. To create a line so precise he uses special 3mm-wide brushes made from squirrel and ox hair. You can choose to have single or double coachlines and add a personal motif or logo through our Bespoke service."

“The ability to bespoke one’s vehicle has always been at the heart of Rolls-Royce so it is very encouraging to see that after more than one hundred years at the very pinnacle of the automotive world, our Bespoke services are still very much in demand from customers all over the world today”, explained Member of the Board and Director, Sales and Marketing, Jolyon Nash.

That’s an interesting—though convoluted—explanation. I’m going to go with what Zero Mostel’s character Max Bialystock said in the film The Producers upon seeing a Rolls-Royce pull up to the curb below his window: “That's it, baby, when you've got it, flaunt it. Flaunt it!”

To “see an example of an exceptional Bespoke car” you can visit Rolls-Royce’s website www.21stCenturyLegends.com and “be inspired by the story of ‘The Man Who Became a Paint’”.

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)


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