New Rolls Royce will be boldest everComment on this story
Unlike most mass-produced cars, which have to be replaced as soon as the public gets used to them, a new Rolls-Royce model is an Event - and there will be such an Event at the Geneva motor show on 5 March 2013.
Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös confirmed the existence of the new model at the company's World Dealer Conference in London this morning (18 January), telling representatives of the 100-strong global dealer network: “Expect the boldest design, the most dramatic performance and the most powerful car that has ever carried the Spirit of Ecstasy figurine.
“The Wraith will be the most dynamic, powerful and beautiful Rolls-Royce in the company's history.”
The new Rolls-Royce will also revive one of the most famous Rolls-Royce names.
The first Rolls-Royce car to have a name, rather than just a horsepower designation, was the 1907 Silver Ghost, a special six-cylinder factory demo model painted silver, that had all its brightwork finished in nickel instead of brass, and ran so quietly that it moved through London traffic 'like a ghost'.
Ever since, Rolls-Royce cars have carried the supernatural names: Spirit, Phantom, Wraith.
The first Wraith was made in 1938 and at the time it was state-of-the-art - powered by an all-alloy 4257cc, overhead-valve straight with a new cross-flow cylinder head, and independent front suspension.
At the time its performance caused quite a stir.
Autocar magazine gushed: “It seems of little consequence what the precise maximum speed figure is when such astonishingly easy and completely effortless running is available at, say, 75mph (120km/h).”
The name is actually of Scottish origin, as Müller-Ötvös explained.
“A wraith is an almost imperceptible but powerful force,” he said, “something rare, agile and potent, a spirit that will not be tethered to the earth. It is the perfect name for our new model.”
The performance aspect of the new model draws inspiration from the story of the Honourable Charles Rolls, one of the company's founding partners and a man who indulged a passion for innovation, engineering and, most importantly, adventure.
SENSE OF ADVENTURE
Rolls was a passionate racing driver, balloonist and aviator; he was the second person in England - after John Moore-Brabazon, later Lord Brabazon of Tara - to hold a pilot's licence, and became the first person to fly across the English Channel from England to France - whereupon he turned round and flew back non-stop, prompting King George V to describe him as 'the greatest hero of the day'.
He was killed, pushing the envelope as always, when the tail of his Wright Flyer broke off during a flying display in dangerously high winds near Bournemouth, on 12 July 1910.
It is that sense of adventure that informs the new Rolls-Royce Wraith, says Müller-Ötvös.
No details of the new model have been released yet but, as soon as we know more, so will you.