Two of the most exclusive Rolls-Royces of modern times have joined new display The Luxury of Motoring at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu with a Wraith built in tribute to Beatles record producer Sir George Martin and a brand new Dawn Black Badge.
The 2017 Rolls-Royce Wraith is a one-off tribute to the legendary Sir George Martin, known as ‘the fifth Beatle’. Commissioned by Sir George’s son, songwriter and producer Giles Martin, the beautifully hand-crafted Wraith is packed with details that pay homage to this giant of the music world.
The titles of Sir George’s 30 number-one hit singles are embroidered into the upholstery between the rear seats, with his signature stitched on each head-rest. Other details include Sir George’s name engraved into the base of the Spirit of Ectsasy mascot. Joining the display courtesy of Rodger Dudding classic vehicle collection at Studio 434, this unique Rolls-Royce is one of nine Wraiths ‘Inspired by British Music’, built to celebrate some of Britain’s most remarkable musical artists, including The Who frontman Roger Daltrey CBE, Sir Ray Davies of The Kinks, Dame Shirley Bassey and Status Quo.
Fresh from the Rolls-Royce factory is the 2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge. The bespoke and contemporary Black Badge range has attracted a new generation to the Rolls-Royce marque. Already a huge hit with Beaulieu visitors, the glamorous open-top on display has a deeply intense and hand-polished black paintwork, with threads of aircraft grade aluminium woven and bonded in carbon fibre, a high-gloss vamp Spirit of Ecstasy with black chrome finish and bold mandarin orange interior highlights.
Though what really makes the car special is beneath its skin. Tighter and more responsive thanks to revisions to its steering, suspension and eight-speed gearbox, the Dawn Black Badge’s 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine is even more powerful than that of the original Dawn, producing 593bhp. An entirely new exhaust system announces the car’s arrival with a menacing bass baritone.
Beaulieu has an unparalleled collection of Rolls-Royces by virtue of the Montagu family connection with its founders. Motoring pioneer John, 2nd Baron Montagu opened the first Rolls-Royce factory and his personal secretary and secret mistress Eleanor Thornton was a muse for Charles Sykes, who designed the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy mascot.
A third car has also joined The Luxury of Motoring display. Just back from Retromobile in Paris is the 1913 Argyll 15/30hp. Although over a century older than the Rolls-Royces, it was just as cutting-edge in its heyday. An exceptionally well-engineered machine, the Scottish-built Argyll was notable for sophisticated features such as brakes on all four wheels and its 4084cc sleeve-valve engine. Inside, its sumptuous interior ensured that rear seat passengers rode in comfort as they were chauffeured to their destination.
This privately-owned car was originally a wedding gift from a husband to his wife and has remained in the same family ever since. Many decades later, it became one of the first historic vehicles to be restored in the National Motor Museum’s restoration workshop.
The Luxury of Motoring not only showcases a selection of the most luxurious cars ever built but tells the story of their design, the people who owned them and the chauffeurs who drove them. Spanning the golden age of luxury motoring to today’s aspirational cars, perceptions of taste and class are themes that are explored through a range of fascinating objects, films and rarely seen images from the National Motor Museum Trust’s archives.
At the glittering heart of the display is a centrepiece of 28 Lalique glass car mascots on show together for the first time. The owner of the private collection chose the National Motor Museum as the home of motoring and therefore the perfect setting to showcase his treasures. From the light radiating, delicate veined wings of a dragonfly to the heartiest falcon mascot with its thick, tapered neck which fits tightly into the mount, the collection includes majestic animals and human forms that bring art into everyday life. The collection is on loan courtesy of Dawson’s Auctioneers & Valuers at Maidenhead.
To celebrate the new gallery, why not enter a competition to say What makes your car luxury? Whether it’s fluffy dice and cushions or a must-have Mercedes, share pictures of what makes your car special. To enter, share your pictures and suggestions on Twitter @Beaulieu_Hants, Facebook at /nationalmotormuseum, Instagram @national_motor_museum or on email to firstname.lastname@example.org. See www.beaulieu.co.uk/the-luxury-of-motoring/ for more details. The winner will be invited for a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of Beaulieu with exclusive access to areas of the National Motor Museum not usually open to visitors.
The Luxury of Motoring display can be seen as part of a visit to Beaulieu. A ticket to Beaulieu includes entry to the National Motor Museum with its collection of more than 250 vehicles from throughout motoring history, the new-look World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, the ancestral Montagu family home of Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the stunning grounds and gardens. Tickets can be bought in advance online. For tickets or more information see www.beaulieu.co.uk or call 01590 612345.