Rolls-Royce is a quintessentially British brand, even if Germans own it right now. And British music has left an indelible mark on 20th-century history. So why not combine the two?
According to a line of reasoning that must have boiled down to, "Well, it's all British," Rolls-Royce decided to make a series of nine Wraith "Inspired by British Music" models. They were built in collaboration with some of the country's best artists, utilizing the skills of RR's Bespoke department, which regularly whips up one-off creations for well-heeled owners.
The first four are out in public, and the one that immediately grabbed my attention was the Wraith that pays homage to The Who's "Tommy." It has the album's cover art painted on the hood, like one might airbrush a wizard onto the side of a 1980s GM conversion van. There's a depiction of a pinball machine inside the car, as well as lyrics on the door panels.
It's all very rock and roll, if you consider six-figure luxo-barges to be rock and roll, which I don't. I can't really make fun of it too much, though, because it will be auctioned off to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust. In fact, all of these cars are being auctioned off for charity.
There is also a second Daltrey Wraith, which focuses less on an individual album and more on the whole band, sporting The Who's logo and some lyrics on the doors. The headrests sport Roger Daltrey's signature, and Keith Moon's exploding drum kit is embroidered into the leather, as well.
Sir Ray Davies helped craft a tribute to The Kinks. There are Kinks lyrics on the doors, using a digital recreation of Davies' own handwriting. There's a Kinks logo in the "waterfall" between the two rear seats, and the umbrellas that pop out from the door handles also feature Kinks lyrics, albeit modified to make mention of rain.
Finally, there's a Wraith that honors Sir George Martin, the record producer known as "the fifth Beatle," even though I'm pretty sure that honor goes to Apu Nahasapeemapetilon. The "waterfall" features a list of Martin's 30 number-one singles, and his signature is embroidered in the headrests. The door panel also features a handwritten arrangement of The Beatles' "Yesterday."
Other music-inspired Wraiths are on the way -- Status Quo, Dame Shirley Bassey and Ronnie Wood are all on the docket. It may not be that rock and roll, but it's for a good cause.