Rolls-Royce announces Year of the Dragon commissions, in time for the Lunar New Year

Discover Rolls-Royce’ four bespoke Year of the Dragon commissions, in celebration of Chinese culture and unveiled in time for Lunar New Year

As the Lunar New Year fast approaches, popular motoring marque Rolls-Royce has unveiled four exclusive ‘Year of the Dragon’ commissions, each a tribute to Chinese culture, made at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood and destined for destinations across the globe.

Of the designs, Jonathan Simms, Head of Bespoke and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, comments: “These Bespoke creations…celebrate the international reach and influence of Chinese culture, which transcends national boundaries.”

Inspired by the Year of the Dragon in 2024, the collection includes a bespoke Cullinan and three Phantom Extended models, and see the strong dragon motif – a symbol of power, success and prosperity – brought to life in multiple iterations across each.

On the exterior, the dragon is illustrated in red – the colour of prosperity and good fortune – on hand-painted fascia panels. Each taking over two weeks of detailed work to complete, the designs are composed of four layers of paint and lacquer, an expression of the craftmanship for which Rolls-Royce are revered.

In the painstaking process, the initial outline was painted using a ‘feathering’ technique to create a flame effect, before three layers in darker shades of red were added, to create depth and detail. Each shade individually blended, the colour development process alone took three days to get right.

Through the multiple layers of paint, the finished design seems almost 3D and ‘carved’, while each meticulously finished dragon faces to the right and, symbolically, the rising sun.

Inside, the dragon motif continues on the headrests in contrast Phoenix Red thread, each hand-stitched and taking around 20 hours and 5,449 stitches to complete. Further design details include a minimalist Chinese zodiac calendar, inlaid in stainless steel and with traditional Chinese calligraphy and a dragon highlighted in gold, in the Piano Black of three models. The fourth motor car sees the dragon motif recurring once again but inlaid in stainless steel.

A Bespoke Starlight Headliner, destined for the Rolls-Royce Private Office Shanghai, features particularly dramatic interiors. Taking three months’ design and development work, an abstract dragon motif is emblazoned above the driver and passenger seats. The striking design sees 677 fibre-optic ‘stars’ individually placed, surrounded by a further 667 lights.

Other notable details include colour-matched lambswool carpets and unique exterior colourways; a duotone Cherry Red with Crystal finish over Selby Grey with a Crystal finish for the Cullinan; and a two-tone Silver and Cherry Red or monolithic Black with a Crystal finish for the Phantom Extended motor car commissions.

Altogether, Jonathan notes, the collection is “both a powerful expression of our respect for Chinese culture, and a contemporary, minimalist statement.”

Read on to see what happened when we put the Rolls-Royce Spectre through its paces

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