When it comes to legendary cars, some say none are more special than the Rolls-Royce. These vehicle gems are popular among the Hollywood elite and collectors. The notable style, incredible quality, and famed hood ornament make the Rolls-Royce recognizable to almost anyone. But what is it about these cars that truly makes them so iconic? As it turns out, there is so much more to these cars that you may not know.
A look back at the iconic Rolls-Royce
To appreciate the vision behind the Rolls-Royce, it’s best to take a look back at its origin story. Henry Royce built his first car back in 1904. The electrical and mechanical business founder met up with vehicle company owner Charles Rolls later that year.
Together, the two agreed to move forward with an exclusive manufacturing endeavor that would be called Rolls-Royce, according to the official Rolls-Royce website. Defining the brand’s look, the iconic hood ornament debuted in 1911 and was called The Spirit of Ecstasy.
These cars embrace performance and speed too. By the ’30s, there were V12 engines capable of harnessing 2,300 horses with their supercharged 36.7-liter machines. The speed record set in 1933 was with one of these beefy engines. The Robb Report points out that the run clocked a blistering 301.33 mph. From its ground-breaking inception, the Rolls-Royce continues to impress with innovation, luxury, and performance even more than 100 years later.
Why these cars are so special
Most can’t dispute that from roof to road, one of the most impressive aspects of a Rolls-Royce is the handcrafted attention to paint and interior. These cars aren’t mass-produced like most cars today. And as Money, Inc. points out, there aren’t assembly lines either. Each piece is put together by skilled hands, with a keen eye for perfection and under the strictest quality supervision.
From the 300 pounds of noise-canceling acoustic insulation to the detailed paint job, each vehicle is meticulously done by one person, as well. And according to an interview in Business Insider, David Dean points out there is a palette of more than 44,000 colors. Rolls-Royce buyers often want to match their beloved ride with a favorite color lipstick or a sentimental shade. Some even choose to import diamonds into their paint. It’s this extraordinary workmanship and attention to every hand-assembled detail that is, in part, what makes these cars so incredibly special. It’s also why these vehicles tend to be so pricey.
Popular Rolls-Royce models
There have been several revolutionary Rolls-Royce models over the years. The original Royce creation featured a 1.8-liter two-cylinder engine capable of offering 10 hp. It also had twin camshafts and a three-bearing crank, paired with a three-speed manual transmission, as shared by The Robb Report. And believe it or not, more than 60% of Rolls-Royce cars ever made are still on the road.
Technology evolved over the years, and so did Rolls-Royce. With each new introduction, the same attention to quality and precision proves even the Rolls-Royce can get better. There is the Rolls-Royce Dawn convertible or the Rolls-Royce Wraith coupe. And now there is the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, named for the largest diamond ever discovered. Celebrity favorites include the Ghost, the Phantom, and the Rolls-Royce Black Badge as well.
These unicorns are expensive
Since it takes up to 16 total hours just to build the Starlight Headliners, you can see why a Rolls-Royce tends to be expensive. There’s actually one employee earning a six-figure income, whose only job is to hand paint pinstripes with an arsenal of squirrel hair brushes. And since much of each model is customizable, it’s hard to put a viable price range.
One of the most expensive models was the Sweptail costing $13 million. The most fuel-efficient model may be the Rolls-Royce Wraith, earning 14 mpg. And the cheapest model you can buy right now is the Rolls-Royce Ghost, with its starting MSRP of $311,900. Of course, that’s only if you choose not to incorporate any diamonds into your paint.
Of all the cars considered “haute couture,” the Rolls-Royce models may just take the cake. There is no expense spared during production, and it’s why these cars are so special.