Since it was founded in Manchester in 1904, Rolls-Royce has epitomised the very best of British style and engineering, forever associated with captains of industry, rockstars and royalty, a symbol of glamour, wealth, and the high life.
2021 has been one of the most significant years in the long history of the House of Rolls-Royce, with the marque setting new standards in luxury manufacture. The first of three major announcements during the year was the unveiling of Rolls-Royce Boat Tail, a coach-built masterpiece, and the confirmation of coachbuilding as a permanent fixture within the marque’s future portfolio. Based on a privately commissioned model, Boat Tail represents a collaborative exploration of luxury, design and culture between the marque and its commissioning clients. The creation tells the romantic tale of Rolls-Royce’s history, echoing a Boat Tail design but not explicitly mimicking it, fusing a historical body type with a thoroughly contemporary design.
In September, Chief Executive Officer Torsten Müller-Ötvös then announced the marque’s first fully electric car, Spectre, and with it the confirmation that by 2030 all Rolls-Royce products will be fully electric. The announcement marks the delivery on a pledge made by the CEO to bring an electric car to the market this decade. It also fulfils a prophesy of the marque’s founder, Charles Rolls, when in April 1900 he speculated, ‘The electric car is perfectly noiseless and clean. There is no smell or vibration, and they should become very useful when fixed charging stations can be arranged. But for now, I do not predict they will be very serviceable – at least for many years to come.’
A further major announcement was the unveiling of the eagerly anticipated addition to the marque’s Black Badge family, with Black Badge Ghost. Black Badge recasts the minimalist, post-opulent design of Ghost to characterise Rolls-Royce’s alter ego: assertive, dynamic, and potent. This is the purest and most technologically advanced Black Badge motor car yet.
In addition to this trio of announcements, Rolls-Royce continued to inspire and connect with clients around the world through its app, Whispers. Translated into many languages, it now caters to more Rolls-Royce clients than ever before.
The company’s many philanthropic endeavours through 2021 included its Wildlife Garden Competition, for which children aged five to 11 were invited to design new features for the Wildlife Garden at the Home of Rolls-Royce in West Sussex.
The competition followed the hugely successful Rolls-Royce Young Designer Competition which set the challenge for children to design a Rolls-Royce motor car of the future – a welcome distraction from the pandemic. Seven global winners were picked from over 5,000 entries from more than 80 countries, each one receiving a professionally drawn version of their design. In 2021, the marque was delighted to present a Greenpower car to St Saviour’s & St Olave’s School in recognition of the UK winner, 11-year old Sofia, and her Bumblebee 5000 design.