From the moment work started on the formative
concept sketches of the Phantom, it was crucial that the design
team, led by Ian Cameron, had an instinctive feel for what makes a
the unmistakable Rolls-Royce 'look'.
We can all appreciate the boldness and
confidence of a Phantom II or the flowing grace of a Silver Cloud,
but it takes a trained eye to assess those lines and see the
science behind the shapes. To this end, Cameron and his team
scrutinised the company's greatest creations in an effort to
discover the essence of Rolls-Royce. Its design DNA, if you like.
The iconic grille and Spirit of Ecstasy mascot
are obvious identifiers, but there are numerous more subtle
elements that have an equally powerful effect. The coach doors and
striking use of chrome. The gentle, upswept line of the sill -
known internally as the 'waftability' line – that creates a
powerful, poised stance and makes the car appear to be moving when
With closer inspection, other themes emerge. A
long wheelbase is crucial to achieve the classic Rolls-Royce look,
as is a long bonnet, but while the front should be bold and
upright with a short overhang, the rear needs to be softer, with
the roofline blending into a wide 'C' pillar (the rearmost of the
car's vertical roof support posts), to give a flowing appearance.
Large wheels add an essential sense of proportion: the Rolls-Royce
Motor Cars rule of thumb being the diameter of the wheel and tyre
is roughly half the height of the car.
'Our absolute priority, explains Cameron, was to
create a motor car that is clearly a Rolls-Royce even when the
radiator grille is not in view.'
Now that you're armed with the secrets of
Rolls-Royce design, you can cast an educated eye over the Phantom,
and appreciate how Cameron and his team have fused classic
proportions with strikingly modernity to create the definitive
21st century Rolls-Royce.
Text and Photo's by