Rolls-Royce has unveiled a limited edition run of its classic Phantom model to celebrate Sir Malcolm Campbell’s water speed record. As far as prestige cars go, it’s a rare tribute to one of the most important figures in motoring history.
Just 35 of the £450,000 cars are being made, with styling taken directly from the daredevil’s famous Bluebird boats and cars. Specifically the handcrafted, open-topped limousines commemorate Campbell’s setting in 1937 of a world-record speed of 126.33 mph in the Bluebird K3 boat powered by a Rolls-Royce R Engine.
“This very special motor car serves to pay a perfect homage to my grandfather’s remarkable acts of British daring and endeavour,” said Donald Wales, grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell.
“The extraordinary attention to detail and commitment to engineering excellence so evident in these motor cars perfectly echoes the lengths my grandfather and his colleagues went to in their pursuit of the water speed records.”
Rolls-Royce’s Waterspeed Collection Phantom Drophead Coupés feature a number of exclusively created design and engineering features. For example, the car is finished in a specially developed ‘Maggiore Blue’ exterior paint, which has been inspired by Bluebird’s famous colour scheme.
As you would expect from a company like Rolls-Royce, even the process of applying the paint is exhaustive and exacting. Before the hand-sanding and the application of a “cutting-edge” powdered lacquer is undertaken, nine layers of paint are applied to ensure an impeccable finish. Even the engine is painted – a first for the British car maker.
The car is not slow – it boasts a top speed of 149mph and can reach 60mph from standing in under six seconds.
But it’s in the fine detailing and reference to Campbell’s achievements that really make this something special. Luxury and prestige car collectors with deep pockets are likely to be queuing up for one.
The car boasts a new interpretation of the ‘power reserve’ dial. “As the driver presses on, the dial moves backwards towards a yellow and blue zone, echoing Campbell’s original K3 boat’s ‘going into the blue’ at maximum engine revolutions,” explains Rolls-Royce.
It also has a bespoke front-lit clock featuring Bluebird’s infinity symbol and “dials hewn from a billet of aluminium” that further evokes the spirit of the speed record chasing era that Campbell inhabited. There is even direct tribute to his records in the glovebox, with a hand-embroidered panel expressing the records the Briton achieved at Lake Maggiore and Coniston Water.
“Finally, the steering wheel is presented in two-tone for the very first time, with Maggiore Blue accents balancing perfectly with traditional black leather to complete a beautifully conceived interior design scheme,” adds Rolls-Royce.
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