Rock & Rolls: take another look at Roger Daltrey's bespoke Rolls-Royce Wraith

By Rachel Ingram | 30 Aug 2017 | Speed

Tempus discovers that when motoring and music collide, it’s a symphony of style

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* The Rolls-Royce wraith offers a bespoke experience to its musical clientele

Driving a rock star’s car may sound like a hair-raising experience for any music-loving motor head, but owning a bespoke vehicle – and a Rolls-Royce at that – that’s been designed in collaboration with your favourite musician? Now, that’s the epitome of rock’n’roll. Rolls-Royce has long enjoyed a close history with music, its motor cars beloved by the legends such as David Bowie, Marvin Gaye and Rod Stewart. Now, the brand has cemented that legacy by collaborating with several of Britain’s biggest music icons on a collection of nine one-of-a-kind collectors’ Wraiths.

Created with the help of stars such as Roger Daltrey CBE, Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Ray Davies and Ronnie Wood, these remarkable ‘Inspired by British Music’ vehicles take the power of the mighty Wraith and give it an added kick of attitude. They’re the ultimate collector’s items for rock’n’roll aficionados. First to fulfill his motoring dream was Daltrey of The Who fame, who commissioned not one, but two bespoke cars. One celebrates his band, while the other gives a nod to the group’s iconic 1969 album Tommy. From first glance, it’s clear that ‘Tommy’ is a special vehicle.

The distinctive bonnet is illustrated with the stunning image of the Tommy album cover, designed by Mike McInnerney, which features birds in flight against a blue sky. Inside, iconic iconography from the album’s artwork features prominently throughout. Imagery from popular hits such as Pinball Wizard, for instance, makes an appearance via unique designs on the leather seating. In Daltrey’s ‘The Who’ vehicle lyrics from the band’s most famous songs cover the Wraith’s signature door-flights, while the bullseye logo crops up on the rear waterfall and dashboard clock, and clever embroidery adds a special touch to the head rests.

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On the front you’ll find Daltrey’s signature and on the back, colourful scenes of exploding drum kits intricately etched into the leather depict the rock’n’roll bravado of the music industry. Speaking of the project, Daltrey said: “It’s been immense fun working in collaboration with Rolls-Royce to create two cars which capture some of The Who’s iconography so beautifully. The ‘Tommy’ car is truly a work of art, and Mike McInnerney and Rolls-Royce’s designers have done a great job bringing to life themes from the album and its artwork.”

Another special edition Wraith unveiled at the launch in spring was a tribute to Sir George Martin – the so-called ‘fifth Beatle’. Designed by his son Giles Martin, the vehicle pays tribute to all of his father’s number-one chart toppers. The titles of these 30 songs are embroidered on the leather seats, along with his signature. Engraved on the copper door-flights are quotes from The Beatle’s hit Yesterday, as well as one of the producer’s most famous sayings: “The recording is not what one hears, but what one must make others hear.”

Martin said: “My father had a huge impact on British music during his career, and I wanted the Wraith to celebrate a lifetime of achievements. It was a thrill working with the Rolls-Royce team to feature each of his 30 number-one hits, and I hope this is a fitting tribute to a figure who did so much to influence and enhance the world’s perception of a golden era in British popular music.”

Sir Ray Davies of The Kinks adopted a similar concept for his motoring tribute to his band. Lyrics from tracks such as Shangri-la and Drivin’ embellish the door-flights in Davies’ own handwriting style, while subtle embroidered logos and signatures can be found throughout the vehicle. As an extra tribute to one of the band’s most iconic songs, Sunny Afternoon, designers crafted two umbrellas that are housed within a special compartment in the Wraith’s doors.

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It’s elements like this that make the cars truly unique and personal. Giles Taylor, Design Director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said: “Rolls-Royce patrons work in harmony with our Bespoke designers and craftspeople to bring to life their most deeply-held passions. These masterpieces perfectly illustrate the intimate relationship between artist, patron and artisan, an approach to Bespoke design that continues to define Rolls-Royce’s standing as the most celebrated luxury house in the world.”

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, added: “So many have turned to Rolls-Royce to celebrate their success with the ultimate display of originality and creativity. This collaboration – with some of Britain’s most celebrated musicians – promises to add to this legacy, creating truly unique collectors’ items which also support worthy charities.”

When the ‘Inspired by British Music’ collection is sold later in the year, a percentage of each car’s value will be donated to charities selected by each musician. Daltrey, for instance, is supporting The Teenage Cancer Trust, while Martin chooses to work with The Fly Navy Heritage Trust. One could argue that such a purchase is not only a duty to British music, but one for the good of Britain.

With just four out of nine editions unveiled so far, there’s plenty much more to come. If you’re a Rolling Stones aficionado, hold tight for Ronnie Wood’s ‘I Feel Like Playing’ model; if Status Quo rocks your soul, lead singer and guitarist Francis Rossi OBE has a treat for you up his sleeve; or if Dame Shirley Bassey’s vocals set your heart racing, just imagine what her Wraith will do.