The removable roof panel is carbonfibre, too, which makes it easier for the driver – or indeed their valet – to remove and replace it. It also features a large section of electrochromic glass, which tints and untints at the touch of a button.
Aerodynamics played an important role in shaping the Drop Tail. Rolls-Royce noted that its swooping rear end is “not ordinarily conducive to producing downforce”, which is to say that it was insufficiently stable at high speeds without external assistance. Rather than mount a spoiler, Rolls tweaked the design of the rear deck to produce the necessary downforce without compromising on aesthetics – a process that took two years and 20 iterations.
The Drop Tail’s front end design, meanwhile, is more familiar, although whereas the grille’s bars are typically straight and upright, they are curved on the Drop Tail and end at chamfered – rather than right-angled – corners. These adjustments reflect the car’s “informal spirit”, according to Rolls-Royce.
That ‘informal’ approach continues inside, where the brief was to create an “intimate” environment. Switchgear is obscured where possible. Only three buttons are left in open view, and the powered centre console can be moved to cover the infotainment control dial.
A vast wooden panel cocoons the seats, intended to reinforce the “romantic” atmosphere. It was built by a single craftsman – a former Rolls-Royce apprentice – who is said to have worked on the panel over nine months, in silence, for no more than one hour per day, to ensure complete focus on the task. This was the “most complicated, involved and prohibitive work of craft ever produced” at its Goodwood factory, said Coachbuild design boss Alex Innes.
Each of the four Drop Tails comes with a bespoke Audemars Piguet watch, which also functions as the car’s clock, mounted to the dashboard using a clasp mechanism. This posed a significant challenge, said Innes: “That had to be crash tested, both physically and in virtual simulations, to ensure that the timepiece would remain in situ were the car to experience any sort of abstract movements in a crash situation. [We went to] lengths that nobody would normally go to, were they not instigated by the specific wishes of a commissioning client.”
The first Drop Tail, dubbed ‘La Rose Noire’, is said to have been commissioned by a husband and wife, who are the heads of a “prominent international family”.
It is inspired by their relationship, with ‘True Love Red’ paint and a darker shade dubbed ‘Mystery’. The interior’s wooden panel – made from black sycamore in reference to the car’s French provenance – is supposed to represent falling rose petals. “Even the leather was worked to include a sheen and a texture to its colour that would mimic the richness of the rose petals themselves,” said Innes.