Rolls-Royce gets ‘edgy’ with Bespoke ‘Black Badge’

“Black Badge is an attitude to life, an aspect of the Rolls-Royce brand that appeals to those people who are elusive and defiant, the risk takers and disruptors who break the rules and laugh in the face of convention. They are driven by a restless spirit. They play hard and they change the world. Technically and aesthetically Black Badge is the alter ego of Rolls-Royce, darker, more assertive, more confident and powerful, and more demanding.


“Black Badge is an attitude to life, an aspect of the Rolls-Royce brand that appeals to those people who are elusive and defiant, the risk takers and disruptors who break the rules and laugh in the face of convention. They are driven by a restless spirit. They play hard and they change the world. Technically and aesthetically Black Badge is the alter ego of Rolls-Royce, darker, more assertive, more confident and powerful, and more demanding. With Black Badge we have created the most commanding presence on the super-luxury landscape. It is a truly transformative moment for our great brand.”

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer Rolls-Royce Motor Cars



Batman battled the Black Knight.

You could order a Model T in any variant if liked black.

The Rolling Stones had a famous song entitled, “Paint it Black.”

Carling Beer used to have a Black Label edition.

Cadillac employed Led Zepplin tunes to show they were edgy and not producing your grandpa’s motorized sofa any more. Until recently, they seem to have got it.

And now this: Rolls-Royce has its Black Badge, appealing to people who are risk-takers, disruptors, elusive and defiant.

Is this a borrowed offering from a Steve Jobs ad for Apple?

It’ll be hard to get the notion washed out of the gray matter than a Rolls is fitting for a trip to secure more Grey Poupon than a high-speed dash down the Merritt Parkway or hitting triple digits across the midwest’s open roads.

Rolls-Royce is edgy? Really?

Isn’t that like saying Mister Rogers called kids lazy, dumb and stupid to make a point he wasn’t all that nice? I just don’t know.

Maybe this is that fuzzy math that Ross Perot was talking about. Or is it common core where you add sideways?


Sir Malcolm Campbell, Howard Hughes, Keith Moon, Yves Saint Laurent, Muhammad Ali and our own Charles Rolls to name a few. Young gentlemen in a hurry, driven by their restless spirits to change the world in their own way. Untrammelled by social convention, these disruptors lived life on the edge, believing the ultimate power to be self-empowerment, pushing every boundary to realise their personal vision. Glamorous and daring, they lived fast, worked hard and played hard.

P90211832_highRes_-black-badge-a-dark-Today’s generation of young, self-empowered, self-confident rule-breakers are just as uncompromising and unapologetic in their choice of living and lifestyle as their predecessors. They follow the road less travelled, live the unconventional life, darkly obsessed by their own pursuits and accomplishments from which they derive a pure adrenaline rush.

Their life is their entertainment, and they live it on their own terms.

And when the day is done, and the battle is won, these supremely confident people engage with the night, they go where it leads, and take all it has to offer as their just reward.

As demanding in their lifestyle as they are in their life pursuits, these highly-driven people insist on great substance from any symbol of their lifestyle. More and more, such individuals wish to demonstrate their success through a symbiosis between their life’s work and their chosen brands.

Over the last years, many such individuals have gravitated towards the revitalised Rolls-Royce Motor Cars as the brand most appropriate to encapsulate their truly individual lifestyles, much as their celebrated predecessors did in days past.

Always pushing their own boundaries, they have asked Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to do the same. Excited by the infinite possibilities that its Bespoke approach offers, they have asked the marque “to produce a Rolls-Royce like no other, a Rolls-Royce that not only appeals to, and projects, our sensibilities, but is fundamentally different – like us.”

The result is Black Badge.

An alter-ego for a new breed of customer

Rolls-Royce Black Badge speaks to the darker, more assertive, confident and demanding aesthetic of these customers. As a truly Bespoke response to their desires, the interplay of brand and customer has had a transformative effect on the appearance and substance of Rolls-Royce Ghost and Wraith. The result is Ghost Black Badge and Wraith Black Badge.

“Today, I am announcing that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars will create a permanent Bespoke series of motor cars for a group of young, driven, self-made people that will make a bold and edgy lifestyle statement about their lives,” commented Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “In an unprecedented collaboration with these new customers, Rolls-Royce has confidently created ‘Black Badge’, the ultimate in pure luxury style and engineering substance. Technically and aesthetically ‘Black Badge’ is the alter ego of Rolls-Royce Wraith and Ghost; darker, more assertive, more confident and powerful, and more demanding. With Black Badge we have created the most powerful presence on the luxury landscape. It is a truly transformative moment for our great brand.”

Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars commented, “In creating Black Badge, we were conscious of satisfying the different demands of these new customers. Not only did they demand an alternative image for themselves, they demanded authentic Rolls-Royce engineering substance to underpin it. As a result, the Black Badge Spirit manifests itself through a series of carefully considered design elements which together express a darker luxury sophistication. New material accents and tonalities are combined to accommodate the tastes of those fast-moving customers who adopt a strident approach to life’s finer challenges.”

The substantive transformation of an iconTogether with the Parthenon Grille, the famous Double R logo and the Spirit of Ecstasy are the very embodiment of the Rolls-Royce brand. However, these treasured symbols of the marque have been willing to change their identity in appropriate circumstances before.

For example, in 1933, in a move that signalled the truly Bespoke nature of the company from an early stage, Sir Henry Royce himself changed the Double R badge from the traditional Red-on-Silver to Black-on-Silver to ensure it would not clash with the paintwork colour choice of high-profile customers including the then Prince of Wales.

The iconic Spirit of Ecstasy figurine has, over the years, also gone through a number of iterations both in design and materials used. She has been large and standing, kneeling and inclined forward to indicate higher performance; she has been made of gold, silver, crystal and stainless steel, and has been bejewelled, lit and uplit.

Now the Spirit of Ecstasy and the iconic Double R lead the way once more as Rolls-Royce enters the alternative reality of ‘Black Badge’. On the surface of it, both Ghost Black Badge and Wraith Black Badge go through a very similar transformation.

The transformation begins with the ‘Flying Lady’ who changes neither in design, posture nor material, but in colour to represent the owner’s dark obsession. She mutates into a high-gloss black vamp, proudly scything through the night-time cityscape. The transformation pervades the other iconic symbols of the Ghost Black Badge and Wraith Black Badge. The Double R badge on the prow, flanks and aft of every Black Badge motor car invert to become silver on black, whilst chrome surfaces such as the front grille surround, boot lid finisher, lower air inlet finisher and exhaust pipes, turn dark.

The power of Black Badge communicates itself into the ground through new composite carbon fibre and lightweight alloy wheels unique to each Ghost Black Badge and Wraith Black Badge commissioned. Developed by Rolls-Royce over four years, the new wheels feature 22 layers of carbon fibre laid in three axes, and folded back on themselves at the outer edges of the wheel rim to provide 44 layers of strength. Further strength is added via the 3D forged, aircraft-grade, aluminium hub which is bonded to the rim using aerospace strength titanium fasteners.

Black Badge will bring the color black to new levels of intensity. The multiple layers of paint and lacquer that go into creating Black Badge Black are repeatedly hand polished – the most exacting painting and polishing process ever used for a solid paint color. The result is the deepest, darkest and most intense black ever seen on a production car surface.

However, as Bespoke is Rolls-Royce, clients will of course be able to specify whatever color they wish for the exterior color and interior leather color of their Ghost Black Badge or Wraith Black Badge.

Within Black Badge’s cabin: Advanced aerospace luxury materials and a sign of limitless possibilities await

P90211826_highRes_-black-badge-a-dark-Possibilities become limitless inside the Black Badge cabin as it is suffused with a darker re-interpretation of pure luxury, inspired by Rolls-Royce’s advanced materials and aerospace heritage.

The centrepiece of the Black Badge cabin is the aerospace-grade aluminium-threaded carbon fibre composite surfacing – material often seen on the surfaces of stealth aircraft. This futuristic material has been reinterpreted at Goodwood to become the world’s most innovative new super-luxury material.

To create this beautiful and innovative material, threads of aircraft grade aluminium just 0.014mm in diameter are painstakingly woven together before being bonded with carbon fibre. This surface material then has six coats of lacquer applied, is left to cure for 72 hours, after which it is hand-polished to a mirror finish.

In addition to the creation of this luxury material, the air vents on the dash and in the rear of Black Badge motor cars have been darkened through the use of Physical Vapour Deposition. This surfacing method is one of the few ways to colour metal whilst ensuring that the parts will neither discolour nor tarnish over time or through repeated use.

Set into the cars’ fascia is a newly created Black Badge clock whose hands are tipped in orange and whose face is adorned by the ‘Unlimited’ rating infinity logo that previously appeared in the celebrated Phantom Drophead ‘Waterspeed’, created in 2014 to celebrate the daring of world speed record champion Sir Malcolm Campbell. In common with Campbell, the Black Badge owner’s attitude to apparent limits is to challenge or ignore them, a trait celebrated by the ‘Unlimited’ logo.

The ‘Unlimited’ infinity logo is also embroidered on the Black Badge’s upholstery as black leather combines with vibrant colours of Tailored Purple in Ghost Black Badge and Cobalto Blue in Wraith Black Badge, delivering a more edgy feel to the cabin.

The final touch? The moody light cast from the black starlight headliner, and reflected around the cabin from the polished fascia, to create a darkly atmospheric ambiance.

P90211821_highRes_-black-badge-a-dark-Rolls-Royce engineering and technological refinements: The underlying substance of Black Badge delivered in subtly different ways

Each of the motor cars that host the Black Badge spirit are very different Rolls-Royces – unlike any Rolls-Royce before.

Launched in 2009 and refreshed in 2014, Ghost is no ordinary power – the most contemporary interpretation of a Rolls-Royce ‘limousine’ which attracts those wealth-creating entrepreneurs who like to drive as much as be driven. Introduced in 2013, Wraith is the ultimate gentleman’s Gran Turismo, a true driver’s car.

How to imbue these two fantastic motor cars with the spirit of Black Badge in an authentic manner without diminishing their original essence?

“Black Badge was a fascinating challenge for Rolls-Royce’s engineers. We were already dealing with pinnacle motor cars, referred to as the best cars in the world,” comments Philip Koehn, Director of Engineering at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Engineering excellence and technology leadership have resided at the very heart of the Rolls-Royce brand for the past 112 years. Black Badge Rolls-Royces are no exception – indeed they carry this tradition forward. It was vital to us that the aesthetic appeal and promise of Black Badge Ghost and Black Badge Wraith be underpinned by superlative engineering. The cars could not be the same as each other while at the same time, they had to offer their owners something subtly yet substantively different from the host cars, delivering a more spirited and exhilarating drive but in a truly Rolls-Royce manner.”

In Ghost Black Badge it is important to ensure rear compartment passengers’ comfort by maintaining Rolls-Royce’s renowned ‘Magic Carpet Ride’. Rolls-Royce engineers used the flexibility of the 6.6 litre V12 engine to make Ghost Black Badge a little more menacing. Subtle engine output modifications see power increase by 40hp (30kw) to 603hp (450kw) and torque by 60Nm (840Nm) compared to current Ghost, whilst upgrades to the 8-speed automatic transmission give Ghost Black Badge an added sense of urgency in how it delivers its power.

Intuitive Throttle Response, delivered by computerised smart electronics, carefully hones the response of the transmission. Beyond 25% throttle, the transmission transforms its character, holding gears for longer and shifting between 200rpm and 500rpm later, dependant on gear. Additionally, initiating a downshift requires 20% less heft on the throttle, making Ghost Black Badge react more quickly to driver inputs. Under braking conditions the transmission downshifts a few rpm sooner, providing the extra security of added engine braking thereby delivering a more spirited drive.

Suspension and steering changes, including the addition of new drive shafts, have ensured that Ghost Black Badge continues to deliver the most luxurious ride, with just that little bit of extra driver focus.

P90211820_highRes_-black-badge-a-dark-Wraith Black Badge was a completely different proposition.

Already the most powerful Rolls-Royce in the world at 623 hp, Wraith has always been the most driver-focused car in Rolls-Royce’s model range.

By combining an extra wave of torque (+70Nm) with the already existing high power output, a completely redesigned air-suspension set up, new drive shafts and uprated 8-speed transmission, Rolls-Royce has produced an even more driver-focused, agile Wraith, while at the same time preserving the intrinsic elements of the effortless Rolls-Royce Magic Carpet Ride.

Upgrades to the 8-speed automatic transmission injects a level of added urgency in how Wraith Black Badge delivers its power.

Intuitive Throttle Response also comes to Black Badge Wraith. From 25% throttle, the transmission holds gears for longer, shifting gear between 300rpm and 500rpm higher in the rev range, dependent on gear. Wraith Black Badge also revs all the way to 6,000rpm before each gear change when the throttle senses that it is at 80-100% open. This gives a more direct throttle response feeling during spirited driving with peak power available more of the time. In addition, with the Intuitive Throttle in its mid-range (c. 70% to 80%), the gearbox is instructed to adopt a faster shift pattern.

During deceleration or braking, the transmission downshifts a few rpm sooner, providing the extra security of added engine braking thereby delivering a more spirited drive.

The result is a tauter and slightly more physical driving-focus with significantly increased handling capability, a high degree of steering feedback and more neutral cornering characteristics. With its speed dependent steering adjustment, the car delivers a greater sense of security, even at high speeds as the weight of the steering adjusts to the speed of the car.

Always conscious of the safety of its owners and other users of the road, Rolls-Royce has also upgraded the brakes of both Black Badge models, increasing the diameter of the front brake discs by one inch for a swifter and more direct brake pedal response. As a final safety enhancement, Wraith Black Badge has been equipped with automatic LED headlights ensuring optimum night vision while scything through the dark.



New Rolls Royce Wraith is highly ‘fashionable’

Olivia Palermo with the Rolls Royce Wraith in New York City.

Olivia Palermo with the Rolls Royce Wraith in New York City.

Fashion connoisseur Olivia Palermo was among the first to view the new Rolls-Royce ‘Wraith – Inspired by Fashion’, receiving its world premiere this evening in New York. Olivia, renowned for her impeccable sense of style, enjoyed a private preview of the motor car before the event opened to a high profile roster of guests including fashion designers, commentators and other famous faces.

The global debut of ‘Wraith – Inspired by Fashion’ took place at New York’s PRATT Institute as part of the PRATT Presents Women of Influence in the Business of Style event and was also available to view via an authenticated feed on PERISCOPE©, the new live-streaming App of Twitter©.

Not real news: Rolls Royce Phantom named most luxurious luxury motor car in the world

2013 Rolls Royce Bespoke Phantom

2013 Rolls Royce Bespoke Phantom


My first thought was of course why not Rolls Royce. And then I wondered about the folks at Bentley, who also manufactures very fine luxury motor carriages, as well as Mercedes-Benz, heck why not the Range Rover used by the British royalty?

Regardless, WhatCar? Magazine’s annual Car of the Year issue awarded the Rolls Phantom the title of the world’s finest luxury motor car in the £100,000+ category.

In its declaration, the guide decreed, “It takes a special car to successfully fend off its rivals for eight years – and the Rolls-Royce Phantom is just that car. Yet again, it’s the best top-end luxury car money can buy.”

“Since its launch in 2003 Phantom’s marriage of exquisite craftsmanship, peerless engineering and timeless design has ensured its position as the world’s pinnacle super-luxury good, showcasing British craftsmanship and design excellence on the global stage,” said “Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

Oldest, 1908 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost on display at home base


1908 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

1908 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost

Proving that indeed they just might make the longest lasting, reliable motor cars in the world, a 1908 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost rolled into the home of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars where it will be on display.

The Silver Dawn successfully completed the 1,800 miles on the 2013 Centenary Alpine Trial, the oldest Silver Ghost to do so, wearing the ‘Number 1’ rally plaque. The Silver Dawn is currently on display in the foyer of the company’s Head Office at Goodwood, West Sussex.

The Silver Dawn, built in 1908, bears its original registration number and original chassis, engine, gearbox and front and rear axles. All major components are stamped 1908 and the engine even retains its original cast iron pistons. The car was restored to an impeccable standard by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ authorised dealer, P&A Wood.

A Rolls-Royce press release notes that the Silver Ghosts’ performance established Rolls-Royce as maker of the ‘Best Car in the World’. For a 1908 to run around so admirably, it’d be hard to argue with the marque’s moniker.

Rolls Royce’s 2013 Alpine Trial successful recreation




A recreation of what was a test of strength, workmanship and endurance has drawn to a successful close with the 2013 Alpine Trial whereby 47 Silver Ghosts rolled through the Alps and back again over 16 days and some 1,800 miles.

History was brought to life by the intrepid owners as they piloted their machines with consummate skill up challenging Alpine passes and across the borders of five countries, before emerging in Vienna just as the original competitors did exactly 100 years before. The 2013 Centenary Alpine Trial was also graced with British Royalty, Lords and Ladies, Ambassadors and participants from 12 countries as far flung as Australia and the United States.

“The Centenary Alpine Trial has clearly embraced the Spirit of Adventure that is synonymous with Rolls-Royce, and I applaud the participants for their resolve and determination,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO. “The 1913 Alpenfahrt led commentators to declare that Rolls-Royce built the ‘Best Car in the World’. The 2013 Centenary Alpine Trial reinforced that message, and demonstrated that the Company continues to do so to this day.”

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars was presented with the Archduke Leopold Salvator trophy by the 20‑Ghost Club, in recognition of the spirit the Company had shown in supporting and actively participating in the Trial. The trophy, a precious claret jug, was one of the original awards presented to Rolls-Royce at the 1913 Alpenfahrt.

The adventure has been fully documented throughout, with over 1000 spectacular photographs, a daily blog and innovative use of the History Pin website. See the following links:

The entry for the final day’s blog is reproduced below:


The gathering of several Rolls-Royces in any one location is guaranteed to draw onlookers, but the congregation of 47 magnificent machines in glorious morning sunshine outside the Panhans Grand Hotel stopped all local traffic with the gathering crowds. The palpable sense of achievement, celebration and of history being made sang through the crisp Alpine air.

The preparation for the final run followed the exacting re-enactment that had thread through the entire event, with the drive from Semmering back into Vienna mirroring the same journey exactly 100 years previously, on Saturday 29 June 1913. And so, with a sense of mixed emotions at the closing stages of this great event, the cars made their way in convoy to the historic capital city.

Wafting their way round the final glorious sweeping curves, as the cars reached the outer city carriageway they accelerated to a comfortable 100km/h or more, easily matching the speed of much more modern machines. Everyone present marvelled at the engineering prowess of the beautiful motor cars, many built more than a century before.

Onlookers clapped and cheered as the convoy approached central Vienna, and made their way to the final destination and scene of the start just 16 days previously, the Kursalon. A warm welcome from the The Markgraf Pallavicini and a glass of crisp Champagne followed, with the cars swamped by onlookers and members of the local media.

The spectacular finale took place at the Palais Pallavicini, with the sounds of chinking Champagne glasses mixing seamlessly with celebratory tales from the road and exquisite live opera pervading every corner of the historic building. The Radley car and the 2013 Alpine Trial Centenary Ghost sat side-by-side in the courtyard as stable mates, resplendent in their Works Team colours.

Amongst the awards given on the evening, The Rolls-Royce Motor Cars ‘Spirit of Adventure’ summed up the atmosphere and ethos of the entire event. Bob Kilburn’s 1921 Silver Ghost Tourer, with bodywork by Barker, had suffered a fuel tank rupture in the early stages of the Trial due to an accident caused by another driver. Undaunted, and with a stubborn persistence to refuse to accept that the car had ‘failed to proceed’, Bob rigged a temporary fuel system using jerricans and a fuel pump bolted to the running board, giving a maximum range of just 30km per top-up.

Bob was presented with the award, to a standing ovation by all those present, by Richard Carter, Global Communications Director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Bob humbly dedicated the award to all those that had taken part in the Trial, and characteristically shrugged off the acclaim with a cheery smile.

The 1913 Alpenfahrt led commentators to declare that Rolls-Royce built the ‘Best Car in the World’. The 2013 Centenary Alpine Trial reinforced that message, and demonstrated that the Company continues to do so to this day.

RR’s Alpine Trial rally hits halfway mark

Fireworks celebrate the re-creation of the Alpine Trial exactly 100 years after the initial feat.

Fireworks celebrate the re-creation of the Alpine Trial exactly 100 years after the initial feat to show off the durability and workmanship of the Rolls-Royce motorcars. (Rolls Royce Photo)


The Centenary Alpine Trial’s half-way stage was heralded in Trento, Italy with an evening that promises to live long in the memories of those that attended, and in Rolls-Royce history. The event marked 100 years to the day that the original 1913 Alpenfahrt Rally would have stepped out.

The day before, leaving from Solda in northern Italy, some 47 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts climbed Stelvio Pass. The hairpins and switchbacks – which featured one for each Rolls-Royce car – were negotiated with by the luxury liners, some over 100 years old.

The 2013 Alpine Trial Centenary Collection Ghost led, closely followed by the 1913 Radley car. As the best cars in the world reached the summit, Trial participants were greeted by a rapturous reception by fellow motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists. The spectacular view from the top was made all the more beautiful by a truly extraordinary collection of motor cars.

Reports expected some 20 Ghost Club and Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club on the shores of Lake Garda will see 100 Silver Ghosts assembled for the first time.

If the largest gathering of Silver Ghosts in living memory was not enough, then a gala evening followed by a spectacular firework display did much to rejuvenate road-weary participants.

HRH the Duke of Gloucester, Honorary President of the 20-Ghost Club, joined in. The numbers of cars and participants swelled with the arrival of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club, who are also touring the Alps.

A celebratory atmosphere was reflected in the words of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ CEO, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, who gave a nod to the company founders and recognised the spirit of adventure and kinship on which the Trials have been based. He said, “I feel sure that somewhere in this room this evening the spirits of Sir Henry Royce, Charles Rolls and Claude Johnson are watching us with profound approval and pride.”

Rolls Royce to recreate 1913 Alpine Trial endurance drive


To prove their cars are much more than refined rides that upper crust royalty ride around in, Rolls-Royce is re-creating its 1913 Alpine Trial, which it considers to be one of the automotive world’s most gruelling tests of endurance.

Some 40 Silver Ghosts will embark from Vienna through Austria, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy before returning to Vienna, amassing 1,800 miles to celebrate the 1913 Trials, depicting the endurance of the Silver Ghost’s reliability. It is meant to underscore the slogan of “Best Car in the World.”

Eight of the 40 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghosts participating in the rally, many over a century old, have been meticulously prepared by the P&A Wood dealership’s skilled technicians.

“P&A Wood plays a vital role in preserving the marque’s rich history whilst contributing significantly to the contemporary Rolls-Royce success story,” said James Crichton, Regional Director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Europe. He added: “Investment in a new dedicated Rolls-Royce showroom space is testament to a shared commitment to long-term sustainable growth and providing a sales and aftersales experience befitting the world’s leading super-luxury marque.”

P&A Wood’s motto; ‘Attention to Detail’ echoes the sentiments of Rolls-Royce founding father Sir Henry Royce who famously implored his staff to “Strive for perfection in everything you do”.

final preparations are underway at the P&A Wood dealership in Essex, England for the re-creation of the 1913 Trial.

final preparations are underway at the P&A Wood dealership in Essex, England for the re-creation of the 1913 Trial.

“This is an extraordinarily busy time for the workshop” said Georgina Wood, P&A Wood. Adding: “Eight cars have been sent here from around the world for their final preparations, many of which over a century old. However, such is the enduring engineering integrity of a Rolls-Royce, I am certain they will negotiate the challenging Alpine roads as effortlessly as they did 100 years ago.”