In the beginning of the 20th century, one Henry Edmunds introduced his two friends to each other. To be specific, it happened on May 4, 1904. The meeting that took place in England's Manchester heralded a new chapter in the motoring history. The two persons who got introduced to each other were engineer Henry Royce and a car dealership owner, Charles Rolls. That meeting marked the birth of Rolls-Royce, the world-famous British luxury car and aero engine manufacturer whose name is synonymous with the pinnacle of automotive luxury.
In 1907, the Silver Ghost became the first car to be launched by the company. Travelling from London to Glasgow 27 times - covering 14,371 consecutive miles - the car broke the world record for a non-stop motor run while demonstrating unrivalled reliability and comfort. The Silver Ghost was declared ‘The Best Car in the World’ after its record-breaking success. The rest is history.
Now, 110 years later, there is none to rival Rolls-Royce. At this year's Geneva Motor Show Rolls-Royce displayed four of its special cars. They included Phantom, Cullinan, Dawn and Black Badge from its bespoke portfolio. The Phantom Tranquillity is the most prominent among them.
RR says the Phantom Tranquillity is created for those who conceive and achieve the impossible. Though the title Phantom reminds the comic character one has read during childhood days, this Phantom's story begins in 1923. The Phantom was the only RR car using a V12 engine during the 1930s. In 2017, Rolls-Royce ushered in the eighth generation of the Phantom series. Phantom Tranquillity aims to better an already excellent product. The car is limited to just 25 units, all of which have been sold out already.
From outside, there are not many changes on Phantom Tranquillity from the older model. The car is noticeable for its integrated Parthenon grille. Above it stands the Spirit of Ecstasy, the hood ornament adorning Rolls-Royce cars. Phantom Tranquillity is engraved around the figurine in gold accent. RR's typical front overhang, long bonnet, and a flowing rear, high belt line and coach doors are seen in Phantom Tranquillity too. The car stands on 22-inch wheels. The Continental ‘Silent-Seal’ tyres feature a specific foam layer placed inside the tyre to wipe out tyre cavity noise and reduce overall tyre noise.
Inside, what strikes you first is the dashboard, which is an uninterrupted panel of glass that spans the full width of the dashboard and instrument panel. It may look like panels cut from a metal sheet but Rolls-Royce says that there is some science behind it. According to Rolls-Royce, the design is inspired by the X-Ray coded aperture masks used on the British Skylark space rocket. High energy radiation passes over and through the distinctive perforated pattern, creating a coded shadow on the layers beneath. The properties of the original radiation sources were mathematically reconstructed from this shadow and rendered in highly reflective stainless steel plating coated with 24-karat gold and space grade aluminium. The panel also houses a vapour blasted and engraved titanium clock.
The volume controller is made of actual meteorite material. This is an authentic Muonionalusta meteorite, which fell to earth in Kiruna, Sweden in 1906. It is at least 4.565 billion years old. And it is complemented by a detailed engraving of the location and date of its discovery. Along with these, add the Starlight Headliner called 'Under the Stars' and you get a complete feel of being in the space.
The Starlight Headliner depicts the night sky via some 1,300 optic-fibre LEDs hand-stitched into the ceiling. The space-inspired design elements are not over yet. Inspired by the light and dark sides of the moon, the interior colourway of Arctic white or Selby grey leather integrates unique veneer combinations of gloss and satin, both with an exclusive metallic effect. Upper glove box and door armrests are in satin finish, while black gloss accents run throughout the centre console.
Black gloss elements are highlighted with elegant stainless-steel pinstripes. A unique embroidery detail matches the interior with tone-on-tone stitching for a subtle, crafted detail. The speaker frets too have a space connection; they are finished in yellow gold, which is inspired by the two gold records that travelled with NASA's Voyager satellites in 1977.
Powering the car is a 48-valve 6.75-liter V12 — good for a stout 569 bhp and 900 Nm, with the torque available at a low 1,700 rpm. The engine is mated to a eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 2,560 kg car can reach 100 kmph in 5.3 seconds (extended wheelbase 5.4 seconds), all the way to a top speed of 250 kmph.