Buckle up everyone, because this story is a weird one. What you see here is Rolls-Royce's latest special edition, the Kryptos Collection, of which only 50 units will be built. What makes this so different from other ? Well, its design incorporates encrypted cipher messages that only two people on Earth have the answers to. Take that, CIA!
The idea for the Kryptos was devised by Katrin Lehmann, a designer for the brand's Bespoke department who has a personal love for cryptography. The Kryptos "incorporates a labyrinth of complex ciphers into its beguiling facade," according to a statement from Rolls-Royce on Tuesday. Sure! Basically, the Kryptos' codes were designed to look like regular design flourishes at first, only unraveling to reveal their full meaning upon closer examination.
It all starts, of course, at the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. Engraved in the statute's base, the cipher pattern looks like an artistic interpretation of Morse code using some green enamel details. The car is finished in Delphic Gray, which has blue and green flakes in the paint, and the hand-painted pinstriping ends with another section of the code finished in Kryptos Green and dark gray.
Rolls-Royce says the most "apparent" clue is the section of cipher embroidered into the headrests. The dashboard's metal fascia is covered in a screen-printed pattern that also seems to include parts of the cipher, while the wild green starlight headliner's design depicts an in-motion data stream. The Kryptos also has illuminated door pockets and special stitching for the transmission tunnel.
Of course, there certainly is more to this car than what Rolls-Royce is showing and telling us. If the company revealed everything required to crack the code in these photos then there would be no point to buying one, would there?
Owners will be able to submit their guesses via a "highly secure" section of, Rolls' members-only smartphone social networking app (and, coincidentally, the name of a hotel bar next to Roadshow HQ in San Francisco). Lehmann and Rolls CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös are the only two people with the full "resolution" to the codes, with the answer housed in a sealed envelope that has been put in a safe in the CEO's office in Goodwood.
If you are one of the 50 people lucky enough to buy one of these Wraith Kryptos cars (at a likely cost of close to $400,000), please let us know. Rolls-Royce gives no clues at all as to what the secret message actually reveals; it could be information about a next-gen model, a secret Rolls-Royce family hamburger recipe, a knock-knock joke... who knows? But as far as special edition cars go, this is by far one of the most intriguing we've ever come across.
I don't typically like to copy-paste chunks of press releases in my stories, but I'm going to do so here, as I don't think I've ever seen an automotive press release end with a question mark. In the release, Rolls-Royce asks, "Who will crack the code? And what answers will the code bring? Only time will tell. Or will it?"