Rock ’n’ Roller: Rolls-Royce Wraith ‘Inspired by British Music’ specials revealed

Published: 30 March 2017

► ‘Inspired by British Music’ series
► Nine one-off Wraiths to be built
► Each car a collaboration with a Brit musician

Rolls-Royce has teamed up with a variety of famous British musicians to create nine bespoke collectors’-edition Rolls-Royce Wraiths. Each car has been tailored with one-off design details inspired by the musician in question, and a proportion of each car’s value will be donated to a charity of each artist’s choice.  

The first cars in the ‘Inspired by British Music’ series were unveiled at an event in London yesterday evening, by their corresponding artists: The Kinks’ Sir Ray Davies, The Who’s Roger Daltrey and Giles Martin, son of ‘the fifth Beatle’, producer Sir George Martin.

The Roger Daltrey ‘Tommy’ car

Rolls-Royce Wraith Inspired by British Music Roger Daltrey 'Tommy' car

Each musician spent time with Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke department designer Matthew Danton and design director Giles Taylor at the firm’s Goodwood HQ to plan their car’s design details.

Lead singer of The Who, Roger Daltrey, has agreed to create two cars for the project – this is the first, inspired by the 1969 album Tommy.

‘We had a considerable amount of freedom [in this project],’ designer Matthew Danton told CAR. ‘As you can see from the exterior we got something bold from the result.

‘The artwork was by Mike McInnerney [the original album sleeve artist]. We sat with him and Roger to understand from them what we could capture on the car. Of all the cars we’ve finished so far, this catches everyone’s eye – I do like it a lot.’

Apart from the eye-catching airbrushed bonnet art, other individual details include embroidered artwork on the headrests and a pinball machine motif on the leather ‘waterfall’ surface between the rear seats – a nod to the song Pinball Wizard.

A portion of the car’s value will go to the Teenage Cancer Trust, of which Daltrey is a patron. Daltrey hot-footed direct from the Wraith’s unveil to the Royal Albert Hall to prepare for a concert in aid of the charity.

The Sir Ray Davies Kinks car

Rolls-Royce Wraith Inspired by British Music Sir Ray Davies

Fabled songwriter Ray Davies has lyrics from Kinks songs Shangri-La and, appropriately, Drivin’ engraved on the door-flights in his own handwriting, along with his signature on the headrests. There’s a hidden easter egg in the umbrellas within the Wraith’s doors, engraved with re-written lyrics from Sunny Afternoon – ‘when it’s raining on a sunny afternoon, in the summertime.’

The Sir George Martin tribute car

Rolls-Royce Wraith Inspired by British Music Sir George Martin

Rolls’ designers worked with the producer and composer’s son Giles Martin to create a tribute car with details including the embroidered title of each number one song by the Beatles in the leather waterfall, along with part of the original handwritten arrangement of Yesterday.

What about the other six cars?

So far Rolls-Royce has confirmed it has begun work on the next run of Wraiths with Dame Shirley Bassey, Francis Rossi from Status Quo and Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood, with further collaborations yet to be announced.

Haven’t there been Rolls-Royce ‘Inspired by Music’ cars before?

Each car in the series is itself based on the Wraith Inspired by Music, a special edition fitted with an eye-wateringly expensive 1300-watt 18-channel hi-fi system.

‘The “Inspired by Music” is the base vehicle, a highly specced car anyway, with added detail by the artist on top,’ Matthew Danton explains.  

Further limited-run ‘Inspired by…’ Rollers have included Inspired by Fashion and Inspired by Film editions.

No word yet on whether any of the upcoming one-off Wraiths will be finished with paintwork like John Lennon’s psychedelic Phantom V, or driven into a swimming pool à la Keith Moon…

Click here for CAR’s in-depth look inside Rolls-Royce’s Goodwood HQ

Rolls-Royce Wraith Inspired by British Music Sir George Martin

By Rebecca Wilshere

CAR magazine designer, image detailer, page finesser