The Rolls-Royce brand is known for many things. It can either be the magic carpet ride, or the immensely powerful engines for both motorcars and the aviation industry. Most of all, though, Rolls-Royce motorcars are known for their excellence in bespoke manufacturing. Nothing embodies this more than the new Wraith Eagle VIII.
We first caught a glimpse of the Rolls-Royce Wraith Eagle VIII at the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Lake Como. However, the stars conspired to give us a more intimate moment with the newest creation of the Bespoke Collective at the House of Rolls-Royce.
And I’m telling you outright: the images are nothing compared to how the vehicle looks in real life. If ever there was a car that seemed bigger, more “real” somehow, this is it. But more than the looks, the Rolls Royce Wraith Eagle VIII is created to commemorate a glorious event, one that will forever be etched in the aviation history books.
The Wraith Eagle VIII is a fitting tribute to Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Brown: the first gentlemen to cross the Atlantic non-stop in June 1919. They did it inside a modified Vickers Vimy bombers aircraft, which came fitted with a pair of powerful Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines. History has it the Rolls-Royce engines were the only ones working perfectly throughout the journey, which speaks highly on the immense peril both men faced in their pursuit of greatness. The Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines were so powerful, they allowed the aircraft to achieve speeds of up to 115 mph, itself a record at that time. Both men completed the 1,880 mile journey in around 16 hours.
Now that I think about the ordeal, it’s hard to imagine what’s going inside the minds of Captain Alcock and Lieutenant Brown when all flight instrumentation instantaneously froze as they gained altitude after taking off. Compounded by snow storms, zero-degree weather, and massively thick fog, they had to fly over the clouds and navigate the skies using the stars and constellations. It’s like flying blind over a seemingly endless ocean, with no hint of whether you’re flying upside down or not, which I assume both men did in the earlier part of their journey.
Using all those incredible details as their inspiration, the Bespoke Collective at the House of Rolls-Royce went to work on the Wraith Eagle VIII to commemorate the 100th year of Alcock and Brown’s flight. They managed to cross the length between St. Johns in Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland courtesy of the indestructible Rolls-Royce engines. So, naturally, it all starts with the Rolls-Royce Wraith, which happens to be – believe it or not – the most dynamic and focused car in Rolls’ portfolio.
As I said earlier, pictures won’t do justice to the Wraith Eagle VIII. At first, it looks like the usual Wraith with an aluminum hood. Look closer, though, and the details start to present themselves in fabulous light. It almost seems too subtle until your eyes catch a glimpse on the unique brass feature line that runs across the body, which is a feature you can only find in the Wraith Eagle VIII. You’ll see a bevy of matching brass-inspired features inside the vehicle, too. The feature line is only a taste of what’s to come as you enter the car. And before I forget, Rolls-Royce chose the brass color theme as a tribute to the brass sextant both men used in the non-stop transatlantic flight. Without it, it would have been impossible to navigate over the clouds.
The subdued gunmetal finish and Selby Gray upper tone is a tribute to the actual colors of the Vickers Vimy WWI aircraft, which purportedly carries the same hue. The grille has blacked-out elements while the wheels – again, unique to the Wraith Eagle VIII – have a translucent shadow finish. The Eagle VIII still looks pretty much like a Rolls-Royce Wraith, but it exudes a special glow that stands out in the face of million-dollar supercars, hypercars, or vintage collectibles.
Opening the suicide doors reveals an elegant and tasteful interior with brass accents, including “RR” monograms on the headrests which are embroidered using brass-colored thread. The seats are engulfed in the softest and finest Selby gray and black cowhide. You’ll also find the brass speaker covers that depict the 1,880 miles of non-stop flight. There are also brass elements on the navigator door panniers. The driver’s door includes a brass plaque with the famous quotes of Sir Winston Churchill after the duo achieved the impossible.
But the single most striking element in the interior is the starlight headliner. Unlike the starlight headliner in your Phantom, the Wraith Eagle VIII has embroidered clouds that took a week to create by hand. There are 1,183 starlight fibers in the headliner, which are arranged to depict the celestial arrangement during the 1919 flight. The flight path and constellations are embroidered using brass thread, but the red fiber optic light points to the exact moment when the duo lifted above the clouds to navigate by sextant.
Meanwhile, the dashboard and console are designed to represent a modern-day abstract interpretation of what Alcock and Brown saw as the aircraft flew clear of the fog. It’s beautiful to behold and speaks highly of Rolls-Royce’s dedication to making the most sought-after bespoke car in the world. Of course, wood is at the center of it all, and Rolls-Royce chose Smoked Eucalyptus planks for this occasion. Each piece is vacuum metalized in gold with silver and copper inlays. You can see the rich detail and meticulous craftsmanship that went into each piece. It also connects the starlight headliner with the rest of the vehicle for a genuinely awe-inspiring driving experience.
But we’re not done yet. Rolls-Royce knew that Alcock and Brown were flying with frozen instruments, and they also knew the duo recalled seeing a faint green glow from the ice-covered instrument panel. The best thing to do is to masterfully fabricate a clock with a soft green glow of light and iced-up background effects. The clock fascia has compass-inspired lines while the landing coordinates are engraved below. That said, it’s a magnificent clock with the whiff of handcrafted jewelry.
Rolls-Royce is only making 50 examples of the Wraith Eagle VIII. And while I can only dream of purchasing this car, I got to experience what it’s like to be a potential owner. Rolls-Royce was more than kind enough to ‘present’ the car as each will be presented to their respective owners. And I’m telling you, it’s like the big unveiling of a Hollywood movie franchise complete with purple curtains, a rotating pedestal, and a throbbing soundtrack. With the limited-edition Rolls-Royce Wraith Eagle VIII, you’re not buying a car. You’re entering a world of handcrafted luxury, heritage, and prestige.