Rolls-Royce is notoriously coy about the price of its truly bespoke limousines, yet since this new, outrageously decadent Boat Tail was inspired by the $13 million Rolls-Royce Sweptail from 2017, but with increased complexity, it may easily be the most expensive new car to date. (That title currently resides with Bugatti’s La Voiture Noire, which sold for a reported $18.7 million after taxes.)
The stunning cabriolet is named after the tapered rear end—a style which dates back to the 1920s, when cars like the Auburn 851 Speedster and Bentley Speed Six Boat-Tail were the talk of the town.
In the very early days of boat-tail design, engineers would simply fix the hull of a boat onto the rolling chassis of a car, creating a streamlined automobile with a nautical theme. It’s a design which disappeared gracefully into the history books, until now.
The new Rolls-Royce Boat Tail measures an ocean-going 19 feet in length and is based on the aluminum spaceframe platform shared by the Phantom, Cullinan and new Ghost models, and it shares the same 6.75-liter V-12 engine. Otherwise, this remarkable car is decked out like no other Rolls-Royce on the planet.
The example showcased is one of three different Boat Tail versions that have been recently hand-built as customer commissions, this one for a mystery man and his wife living Stateside—both believed to be in the music industry. And I was recently granted a sneak preview before the car is ceremoniously handed over.
The most eye-catching feature of this vehicle is the enormous, hand-painted Azur blue bonnet, graduating down to a lighter shade. Up front, a painted Rolls-Royce pantheon grille replaces the traditional stainless-steel finish for the first time in the modern era.
At the rear, twin side-opening compartments are hinged in the middle and open like butterfly wings to reveal an Aladdin’s cave of goodies. On the nearside, a dual champagne cooler was specifically designed to fit bottles of the owner’s favorite Armand de Brignac vintage. On the other side is a set of crockery by Christofle of Paris matched to salt and pepper grinders, all engraved with the car’s name. Caviar is kept cool in a proper onboard fridge—with various other food compartments—rather than a chiller.
The crowning glory, however, is a parasol that slots into the rear of the Boat Tail to provide extra shade. With a stainless-steel shaft and aluminum coupling, the high tensile fabric is stretched over carbon-fiber stays. And just to be sure, it was tested in a wind tunnel.