I spent yesterday at the Rolls Royce Motor Cars factory in Goodwood, West Sussex. I was given a tour of the factory and a drive in a Wraith and Ghost II.
|The Spirit of Ecstasy|
When I say "I" I mean a handful of bloggers from the motoring and fashion worlds. Rolls Royce is launching an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery called Inside Rolls Royce. We were given a sneak preview of the displays and can't give too much away but even for a petrolhead (rather than fashionista) it looks interesting. Suffice to say the installations are uniquely Rolls Royce and reflect the themes of effortless luxury and innovation.
Rolls Royce was the subject of a recent Channel 4 programme, which you can watch at this link. The company liked the exposure generated by the programme and realised that opening up to the public and showing the inner workings of the brand and its cars produced positive results in terms of awareness and sales.
|Rolls Royce Wraith|
The Goodwood factory opened on 1 January 2003, and the first car, a Phantom, was delivered at one minute past midnight on that day. They now make around 3,000 cars a year.
The Phantom, which was originally the only car to be built at Goodwood has its own production line whilst the Ghost Series II and Wraith share a line. The Ghost was launched in 2009 and was revised in 2014, hence Ghost II. Wraith was launched in March 2013 and has been such a success the factory has introduced weekend shifts for the first time.
|Cheesy grin and a Rolls Royce Ghost Series II|
Obviously Rolls Royce cars do not come cheap - the Phantom starts at £300k, the Ghost II at £209k and the Wraith £229k. Add in a handful of options and personalisation and expect to pay a lot more.
I drove a Ghost II and a Wraith for an hour each and will produce a review of each. They're both supremely refined, luxurious cars.
But the driving experience only tells half the story. When you buy a Rolls Royce you enter a world of personalisation not seen elsewhere in the motor industry. Customers can choose any colour they like, literally anything, for the paint work. The range of interior materials is vast and every single item is handcrafted - almost half of the staff work in the wood and leather shops.
More than any other car company Rolls Royce focusses as much on the look and feel of its cars as the accommodation and driving experience. The attention to detail of the design and the materials used in the cars is exquisite.
Keep an eye out for my reviews.
|The Wraith/Ghost production line|
|Creating the celestial roof|
|The Spirit of Ecstasy being affixed|
|Ghost doors waiting to be installed|
By Matt Hubbard