13 Interesting facts about Rolls-Royce

It's a brand that's quite protective of its image
by Rowan Horncastle | Apr 18, 2020
PHOTO: Rolls-Royce
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As you can imagine, when Rolls-Royce is making eye-wateringly expensive land yachts for the world’s elite, some pretty crazy stats, facts, and stories come out of this rather unique process. And you’re not wrong. So we’ve collated some of the wildest stories we’ve heard, then had them corroborated by the carmaker itself—so there’s no fake news here, peeps.

1) The most detailed single piece of embroidery to feature in a Rolls-Royce is a Peregrine Falcon.

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That’s the fastest bird in the world, for your information. The photorealistic design consists of nearly 250,000 stitches and took a team of designers, craftspeople, and engineers over one month to develop. Unfortunately, we cannot confirm or deny whether this commission was for ornithologist Bill Oddie.

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2) They take no chances when it comes to protecting the brand.

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The Spirit of Ecstasy—the flying lady sat up front on all Rollers—is valued so highly by the marque that there is a safe on the shop floor at Goodwood containing no more flappy mascots than necessary for one day of production. The code is known only by a small circle of craftspeople. Apparently, they’re not very ticklish either.

3) When a car is being developed, all kinds of hideous acts of abuse occur to make sure it’s fit for customers.

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When your customers are the world’s elite, you need to go above and beyond. So, during extreme suspension testing of the Phantom Extended Wheelbase, the car was hit with such a knock that a seismometer was triggered more than 30km away from the Home of Rolls-Royce in Worthing, Sussex. The car was fine.

4) It takes 60 pairs of hands 400 hours to build a Rolls-Royce...

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...and this can more than double depending on the complexity of a Bespoke commission. Annoyingly, octopuses can’t build Rolls-Royces to save time.

5) Temperature control includes specialized settings for fine sparkling wine, too.

Sommeliers advise that the optimum serving temperatures of non-vintage champagne is around six degrees centigrade and that of vintage champagnes is around 11 degrees Celsius. With this knowledge in mind, Rolls-Royce equips its cars with a fridge that operates two cooling modes, chilling to six degrees and 11 degrees, respectively. You don’t get that sort of service in your local bar.

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6) Painting a Rolls is a bit different to shaking a rattle can and saying a prayer.

To get a mirror-like finish, five layers of paint are applied by the only robots you will find at the factory. Any hard-to-reach spots are painted by highly skilled paint experts. In total, the process of applying a flawless exterior finish takes seven days and uses over 45kg of paint.

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7) Only the finest hide is used for the cabin.

A ‘bodge job’ isn’t something that’s in Rolls-Royce’s vocab. Imperfections are not tolerated at any level. So, leather is sourced from only the finest bulls, reared at high-altitude to avoid stretching and insect bites. Blemishes imperceptible to the untrained eye are rejected, with off-cut leather being passed down to the fashion industry.

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8) There’s no such thing as overkill as far as quality-control tests are concerned.

The anal attention to detail continues. Did you know that engineers analyze cavities with an endoscope during monsoon water tests to ensure no moisture ingress? What happens if a car fails? It’s scrapped. 

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9) If you want a Rolls-Royce but you live in a country without a dealer, specially trained technicians will fly to your home country to service the car.

This small band of experts have been affectionately dubbed ‘Flying Doctors’. Before you get carried away, they don’t have wings and stethoscopes around their necks.

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10) Even stars aren’t out of reach in a Roller.

You may know about the marque’s ritzy Starlight Headliner. That’s the 1,340 individually handwoven optical fibers that mirror the starry sky of whatever day you choose. But in 2018, Rolls-Royce added shooting stars into the constellation. On Black Badge models, the shooting stars dart predominantly over the front occupants, as—being driver-focused—that’s where you’re encouraged to sit.

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11) Remember what we said about overkill and quality-control tests?

While testing the droptop Rolls-Royce Dawn, lead test and analysis engineers were required to wear shorts so they were able to detect any drafts around their legs and feet. Oh! We forgot to mention that this testing was conducted in January in three degrees Celsius. Fresh.

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12) Over 25 meters of cabling is used to transfer audio data in a Rolls-Royce.

Fiber-optic cabling is used to ensure immunity against interference. Basically, your tunes sound banging in a Roller. “Siri, play ‘Mo Money Mo Problems.’”

13) Many Rolls owners are passionate art collectors.

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So, for the latest Phantom, the carmaker actually managed to turn the Phantom’s dash into a gallery space: An expanse of toughened glass runs the full width of the dashboard. You can put whatever you want in there. But every single component that makes a Phantom Gallery is painstakingly cleaned by hand inside a particle-proof Clean Room before final assembly. This takes two people two hours to complete.

NOTE: This article first appeared on TopGear.com. Minor edits have been made.

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PHOTO: Rolls-Royce
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