Rolls-Royce Wraith Eagle VIII prepares to fly
In a nod to the Rolls-Royce-powered Vickers Vimy biplane that traversed the Atlantic Ocean 100 years ago—the first airplane to do so without stopping—Rolls-Royce has released sketches of 50 limited-edition Wraith automobiles that were inspired by the historic feat.
In June 1919, British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown flew their open-cockpit, wood-and-canvas WWI aircraft—powered by twin 20.3-liter, 350-horsepower Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines—over the North Atlantic from Newfoundland to Ireland. At an average speed of 115 mph, the flight took 16 hours.
Capt. Alcock and Lt. Brown lost use of their radio and navigation instruments almost immediately, leaving the pilots flying unaided at night, battling dense cloud and freezing fog. Eventually they emerged from the haze, and using Brown’s extraordinary skill as a navigator, flew by the stars to the coast of Ireland.
The sketches of the new Rolls-Royce two-door coupe, from the Bespoke Collective of the House of Rolls-Royce, pay homage to the perilous flight. For example, the clock has an “iced” background to represent the frozen instrument panel that Alcock and Brown would have encountered, and at night it has a green glow—mimicking the only light that would have been available to the pilots. There is also a starlight headliner on the Wraith Eagle VIII’s ceiling—1183 fibers show the celestial arrangement at the time of the flight in 1919—along with cloud embroidery that represents the visibility issues the duo faced. Their flight path is also displayed, along with the coordinates of their halfway point.
Wearing Gunmetal with a Selby Grey upper two-tone, the paint is separated by a brass feature line. The Eagle VIII features a black grille, and the partially polished wheels have a translucent shadow finish.
Torsten Müller-Ötvös, chief executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, calls the limited-edition automobile “a motor car which speaks of power, drama, and adventure… a modern masterpiece.”
The cars will be hand-assembled at the British luxury automaker’s facility in Goodwood, West Sussex. Rolls-Royce has not released pricing nor confirmed when the cars will be available.