Rolls-Royce Amethyst Droptail
The Rolls-Royce Amethyst Droptail is a breathtaking coach-built masterpiece celebrating its commissioning client's cultural heritage, family legacy, and personal passions.
One of four unique expressions of the Rolls-Royce Droptail, Amethyst Droptail is a genuinely elevated expression of applied art commissioned by a patron whose family business has grown from a gemstone boutique to a multinational corporation with diversified interests. Exceptionally well-traveled, internationally educated, and truly global in their inspirations, the client is an established patron of the arts, whose collection of precious jewels, significant motor cars, and contemporary artworks is housed in a specially commissioned private museum.
The patron tasked Coachbuild designers to create an elegant expression of Droptail inspired by the amethyst gem - the birthstone of their son and an enduring symbol of purity, clarity, and resilience; themes explored throughout this exceptional motor car in extraordinary depth. The client's passion for quiet artistry and subtle flourishes defines Amethyst Droptail - a projection of true connoisseurship that rewards those who study it with beguiling details.
Rolls-Royce Amethyst Droptail was unveiled to the commissioning client, their family, and friends at a private event in Gstaad, Switzerland - a region of particular significance for the patron.
A Flower In The Desert
The patron and co-creator of Rolls-Royce Amethyst Droptail expressed a profound desire to celebrate the cultural heritage of their home region. Rolls-Royce Coachbuild designers responded with an inspiration point defining this Droptail's exterior treatment: the Globe Amaranth wildflower, which blooms in the desert near one of the client's homes.
The duotone exterior paint finish captures multiple stages of the flower's bloom. The primary body color is a soft purple hue with a delicate silver undertone, named Globe Amaranth, in tribute to the flower. It is enhanced with delicate flecks of powdered aluminum that reflect the light and create a captivating iridescent finish. A deep purple Amethyst contrast paint on the motor car's upper coachwork contains a blend of red, blue, and violet mica flakes that create a unique mauve color with a subtle metallic sheen.
In sunlight, the motor car also reveals a gentle hint of mauve paint on the inside of the 22-inch wheels. It provides a subtle but elegant contrast to the mirror-polished aluminum surface, a touch that the client compared to the colorful lining of their favorite bespoke jacket.
The exterior is finished with a subtle but highly complex treatment of the carbon fiber used to construct the lower sections of the motor car. After two years of development, the marque's craftspeople created a chevron pattern book matched along two axes, adding geometric decoration to Rolls-Royce Amethyst Droptail's technical exterior surfaces. The carbon fiber is finished with a fine layer of lacquer tinted with Amethyst pigment, which reads as body color in most lights. This intricate and technically demanding detail is hidden until the motor car is closely scrutinized, speaking of the client's passion for subtlety and restraint.
Depth Of Detail
The client's trust in Rolls-Royce's artisans to execute the most challenging flourishes is expressed in the Pantheon grille treatment. The exterior grille surround and ‘kinked' vane pieces are partially hand-brushed and partially hand-polished, with a precise line demarking each finish. This surface treatment had never been attempted on this scale before. The concept was suggested by the commissioning client's son, a haute horlogerie collector inspired by the brushed hands of a historically significant piece in his archive. Achieving the perfect uniformity in the finishes and the sharpness of contrast between the finish types resulted from more than 50 hours of collective work.
Beneath this extraordinary expression of contemporary craftsmanship is an intricate lower front air intake. This highly detailed piece was digitally designed and ‘printed' in a lightweight composite and incorporates 202 hand-polished stainless-steel ingots, each of which has been painstakingly painted by hand in the Globe Amaranth hue.
The front end is resolved with a Spirit of Ecstasy figurine surrounded by amethyst cabochons. The client requested the cabochon treatment, whereby a gemstone is shaped and polished into a rounded form rather than faceted to avoid a conspicuous sparkle. This subtle detail recalls the client's early enterprise in the precious gemstone business.
Celebration Of Materials
Rolls-Royce Amethyst Droptail celebrates the materials and crafts the commissioning client and his family personally curated. The material selection began with a sample of wood offered by the client - a stunning Calamander Light open-pore wood with a complex texture and long bands of color.
The colors of the client's initial wood sample served as the inspiration for the motor car's leather treatment - the gently contrasting leather, in the aptly named Sand Dunes hue, was developed to perfectly match the caramel strands on the Calamander Light open-pore wood. Following this, wood specialists were challenged to source material with bands in precisely the same color as the leather, which took more than six months to resolve and required specialists to review more than 100 logs before the perfect piece was discovered.
The primary leather hue, named Amethyst, complements the exterior surface and is finished with a subtle pearlescent lacquer, reminiscent of the brilliance of the precious gemstone after which the motor car is named.
For Amethyst Droptail, Rolls-Royce has created the most extensive wooden surface area in its history, with the material extending from the motor car's fascia and doors to the shawl panel, cantilevered ‘plinth' center armrest and onto the aft deck.
In applying wood to the aerodynamically functional aft deck, the marque's aerodynamicists and wood specialists worked closely together to experiment with not just the panel form but with different wood-grain textures and the precise angle of the placement of the veneer. The result is an extraordinarily artistic piece and the world's only ‘raw' wooden surface that produces downforce on a new roadgoing motor car.
A brand new veneering process was explicitly developed for Amethyst Droptail, with each veneer sheet placed upside down to expose the raw wood texture. Two techniques are combined: "book matching" at 55 degrees, in which the sheets of wood mirror each other, and "slip-matching," in which the sheets of wood are aligned side by side in sequence, to create a repeating grain pattern for an organic, natural effect that gives the illusion of a single piece of wood.
To ensure Amethyst Droptail can be enjoyed by its commissioning client in various climates worldwide, the interior wood parts were tested to meet the same rigorous endurance standards as the exterior parts. Before its final construction, more than 150 samples underwent over 8,000 hours of testing. This included a full sunlight exposure simulation, rain fastness assessment, and testing for durability in temperatures ranging from +80°C to -30°C. The deck's protective coatings, explicitly developed for Amethyst Droptail, have been granted their patent.
To complete the interior treatment, the client requested an elegant addition: the adornment of the rotary dials with rare amethyst gems. As with the jewels at the base of the Spirit of Ecstasy figurine, they too are shaped in a convex cabochon style rather than faceted. The stunning depth and clarity of each stone are of a standard usually reserved for fine jewelry. Experts within the client's organization examined each stone before the client personally and individually approved it. The interior suite is filled with woven leather floormats - a subtle tribute to the traditional weaving crafts found for centuries in the souks of the client's original home region.
A removable hard top has been designed to give the Rolls-Royce Droptail two distinct characteristics: without its roof, the Droptail is a lithe, open-top roadster; with the roof installed, it is a formidable and dramatic coupé.
The roof incorporates electrochromic glass, allowing the surface to change color and transparency instantly. The client challenged Coachbuild designers to develop a glass that would alter its hue to correspond with the colorway of Amethyst Droptail. In response, the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective developed a unique chameleon effect for its electrochromic glass: it is completely opaque when deactivated. It has a subtle purple tint, mirroring the motor car's Amethyst exterior finish. Once the glass is activated at the touch of a button, it becomes translucent with a hue that matches the Sand Dunes leather color used in the interior suite. The realization of this extraordinary flourish required specialists to experiment with 60 iterations of glass coloring before a perfect match was found.
A Singular Timepiece
Rolls-Royce Amethyst Droptail fascia is graced with a unique timepiece commissioned by the client from the renowned Swiss haute horlogerie maison, Vacheron Constantin. Handmade in Geneva, the piece "Les Cabinotiers Armillary Tourbillon" has an intricate hand-wound movement. It is securely housed in a specially designed holder, enabling it to be removed and stored separately from the motor car if desired. The timepiece features a bi-retrograde display with an instantaneous return of the hours and minutes and a bi-axial tourbillon.
Vacheron Constantin and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars worked closely to ensure the timepiece's forms, materials, and colors were perfectly harmonized within the motor car. The instrument dials combine amethyst-colored inserts with the partially brushed and polished finish of the timepiece's hands. The clock is affixed to a white-gold baseplate with a hand-crafted sunburst guilloché pattern.