Rolls-Royce Motor Cars have always attracted subversive clients – rebellious people who build their success by breaking the rules, taking risks and challenging conventions. In the 2020s, a new client has emerged who engages with luxury products on their terms. This generation rejects suits for streetwear, uses blockchain, not banks and influences the analogue world through digital endeavours. In doing so, they have created new codes of luxury that resonate with their sensibilities: darker in aesthetic, assertive in character and bold in design.
Their approach to Rolls-Royce products is no different from how they live and in 2020 the marque responded accordingly to satisfy this new breed of buyer by developing new colour palettes – 44,000 to be precise, more technical surface treatments, and even more powerful driving experiences.
One would never imagine that the Black Badge, the highly successful alter ego of Rolls-Royce, now represents almost a third of the orders worldwide.
Post-Opulence for a Modern World
Inside this magnificent beast is a darker version of the bright trim and uses dashboard trim, made of carbon and aluminum fibres woven into a check pattern, to create a sporty yet unique look. The dash also features the Black Badge Lemniscate logo, an infinity symbol with a line under it. It originated with Sir Malcolm Campbell’s record-breaking Rolls-Royce-powered Blue Bird K3 hydroplane from the 1930s.
The cabin provides the same type of luxury and theatre as the standard Ghost. The Starlight Headliner creates a mystical sense with the customization of thousands of pinhole lights, and another 850 stars lit by 152 LEDs can appear on the passenger side of the dash. The brightness of each ‘star’ can be adjusted to suit a mood: bright enough to relax and read under or sufficiently dimmed to create a subtle and relaxing glow.
From driver to passengers, every seating position gets supreme comfort with heating and cooling, massage, and an almost overwhelming amount of power adjustments. The armrests are also heated. The soft-close doors latch automatically, and the rear seat passengers can open and close their doors with a button. The umbrellas tucked discretely into the doors are a must-have as one never knows when the elements will make your arrival less than Insta-friendly.
To keep the sound of the intrusive city at bay, sound deadener sandwiched between double-skinned doors and floors block noise, as do seat frames damped to match interior frequencies, ports under the parcel shelf that counteract highway thrum, and even sound-deadened tires. As smooth as the ride is, it is the silence that speaks volumes.
The Dark Side of Post Opulence
Conceived and born in response to a new wave of clients, Rolls-Royce has created a motor car that is agile, discreet, highly connected and free of superfluous design. The Ghost is not just the most technologically advanced Rolls-Royce yet, but also the most aesthetically pure. In the first twelve months after this motor car was available, it became one of the fastest-selling products in the marque’s history, representing more than 3,500 commissions worldwide! A remarkable result of a marque listening and welcoming new customers outside their traditional scope.
The Ghost also started a design conversation in its relentless pursuit of minimalism and purity. Named ‘Post Opulence’ by Rolls-Royce designers, this aesthetic movement is characterized by reduction and substance. In service to this, exceptional materials are selected and celebrated while the overt design is limited, intelligent, and unobtrusive. However, within this group of clients – who celebrate minimalism and material substance – a rebellious subset sought to create a disruptive expression of Ghost by permanently cloaking it in a shade so pure that its very classification as a colour remains a subject of debate: black. Black Badge Ghost reflects these clients’ desires. It is the dark side of Post Opulence: minimalism in extremis.
A Bespoke Conversation for Personalization
Clients are welcome to select any of the marque’s 44,000 ‘ready-to-wear’ colours or create their unique bespoke hue. However, the overwhelming majority of those who request this darker expression of Ghost have selected the signature Black.
The process to create the motor car industry’s darkest black begins with 100 lbs of paint, which is atomized and applied to an electrostatically charged body in white before being oven-dried. The motor car then receives two layers of clear coat before being hand-polished by a team of four craftsmen to produce the marque’s signature high-gloss piano finish.
This operation takes three to five hours to complete and is entirely inconceivable for conventional mass production. This depth of darkness serves as the perfect canvas for clients to add a high-contrast, hand-painted Coachline, which has created the Black Badge ‘black and neon’ aesthetic that characterizes this family of Rolls-Royce motor cars.
Rolls-Royce hallmarks such as the high-polished Spirit of Ecstasy and Pantheon Grille may also be ordered with new processes to achieve a mirror-black chrome finish to match this dramatic coachwork.
An Interior So Truly Divine
Advanced luxury materials have been meticulously created and crafted for a unique ambiance in the interior suite. While recalling the dramatic mechanical intent of the Black Badge Ghost, the materials are true to Ghost’s Post Opulent design philosophy. In this spirit, the marque’s craftspeople created a complex but subtle weave that incorporates a deep diamond pattern rendered in carbon and metallic fibres.
Behind the beauty of the dashboard are multiple wood layers pressed onto the interior component substrates. A black Bolivar veneer for the uppermost base layer provides the foundation for the Technical Fibre layers. Then leaves woven from resin-coated carbon and contrasting metal-coated thread are laid in a 3D diamond pattern and cured for one hour under pressure at 100°C. This is then sand-blasted, followed by six layers of lacquer, which is hand-sanded and polished.
A Driving Experience Unlike Any Else
Black Badge Ghost All Wheel Drive is not just an aesthetic but an experience. The clients who enjoy this motor car enjoy the ability to drive with confidence regardless of the terrain. Suitable for North American winters and the uncertainty of road conditions.
For the curious and the doubters of the Back Badge Ghost to handle supremely in icy conditions, take note that the marque has included AWD since production launched the 2018 Cullinan SUV and the 2020 Ghost. And while you may not require AWD in your territory, the comfort of knowing that it is there when needed is priceless.
Forging Enduring Friendships
Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine extends our appreciation to Gerry Spahn, Head of Communications for Americas Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, and the team at Rolls-Royce for facilitating this incredible driving experience in the Canadian Rockies with the formidable Black Badge Ghost.
Over two days, we experienced the Ghost and its legacy of beauty, grace, and power on the highway, along winding mountain side-roads, through ice, rain and slush, all in glorious comfort and control.
We also spoke in whispers of the highly-anticipated Rolls-Royce Spectre. Not only will this new sleeker motor car be electric but vegan! The prototype was previewed earlier this year in Arjeplog, Sweden. Industry chatter relays this early taste of the brand’s first-ever electrified production car was so well-received, that it was dubbed “Rolls-Royce 3.0.”
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at [email protected].
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