The upper echelon of the luxury car market hardly ever leaves any expensive stone unturned. Exclusive autos created by the likes of Christian Von Koenigsegg and Horacio Pagani can easily be optioned to a million dollars and up, and with the average Bugatti Chiron costing around $3 million, it doesn’t seem like there would be much headroom for anyone to go higher—except for Rolls-Royce. A new one-off coupe that the automaker has been developing for a customer since 2013 is near completion, and it’s believed to cost upwards of $12 million dollars. This is the ultra-rare Rolls-Royce Sweptail.
This car proves that a manufacturer will build whatever you want, as long as you’ve got the cash. The inspiration behind the Sweptail comes from Rolls-Royce classics from the 1920s and ’30s—and with sweeping lines and coachbuilt quality, it recreates that ethos perfectly.
The customer, described as a “connoisseur and collector of distinctive, one-off items including super-yachts and private aircraft”, wished to have an exclusive two-door Rolls with an eloquent glass roof to match its distinct profile. The manufacturer unveiled the car this weekend at the Concorso d’Eleganza in Italy, much to the amazement of the mega-rich crowd in attendance.
Rolls-Royce gave a thorough backstory to the car’s creation and influences, saying:
The grandeur, scale, flamboyance and drama of the 1925 Phantom I Round Door built by Jonckheere; the svelte tapering glasshouse, dramatic dash to axle proportion and up-sweep of the rear departure angle of the 1934 Phantom II Streamline Saloon by Park Ward; the elegantly falling waist-rail, swept tail coachwork of the 1934 Gurney Nutting Phantom II Two Door Light Saloon, and the flowing roofline, rising departure angle, and again the swept tail coachwork of the 1934 Park Ward 20/25 Limousine Coupé were all considered by today’s Rolls-Royce designers in the creation of this very distinctive motor car.
In regards to price, it more than triples the price of the aforementioned Chiron. According to the Telegraph, the car totals up to £10 million, or about $12.8 million. Based on that, the Sweptail could officially become the most expensive new car ever sold from any era, even when adjusted for inflation.
It may not be your idea of the perfect uber-grand tourer, but to this well-off customer, it’s surely worth every penny.
If money were no object, what kind of car would you buy? Many people would probably choose a top-of-the-line sports car, or even a supercar or hypercar. Others might opt for a more practical luxury vehicle and tick all the options, like the Tesla Model S P100D. But regardless of your real-life financial situation, we all basically approach this dream scenario the same way: somewhere in the world there’s a car that we want more than all the others.
For the richest people in the world, though, this game has an entirely different set of rules. Yes, if you have enough money — I’m talking island-buying, jet-flying, so-rich-that-one-minute-spent-deciding-between-cars-would-actually-cost-you-money rich — you can apparently pay Rolls-Royce to design a car for you.
That’s the story the company is telling, anyway, about the new “Sweptail” coupe that was unveiled this past week at the yearly Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este event in Italy. According to a (fantastically baroque) 2,500-plus-word press release issued by the company, a very rich man who considers himself a “connoisseur and collector of distinctive, one-off items including super-yachts and private aircraft” came to Rolls-Royce in 2013 with a request: would the automaker be so kind as to create a bespoke car for him?
Four years and a reported $13 million later, and the answer to that question is in the official press pictures below, which show off what is ostensibly the most expensive new car ever purchased.
The Sweptail is named after the tapered “swept tail” rear ends that helped make the company’s Phantoms famous in the early 20th century. In fact, many of its design elements were plucked from some of those iconic coupes. The Sweptail borrows from the round door look of the 1925 Phantom I, the silhouette of the 1934 Phantom II Streamline Saloon, and the swept tail designs of cars like the 1934 Gurney Nutting Phantom II Two Door Light Saloon.
Of course, this car’s got plenty of 21st century touches, too. The panoramic glass roof makes the one on the Tesla Model X look like a sunroof — there’s practically nothing blocking this mystery buyer’s skyward view while he drives (or gets chauffeured) around town. (Or, as Rolls-Royce put it, “What a place to be as one watches the world slip by through the vast windows and roof, detached from the outside world in a cocoon of luxury whilst feeling one is part of that passing landscape.”)
The interior is lined with “generous quantities” of polished Macassar Ebony and open-pore Paldao wood, because modest amounts of those materials are obviously out of the question. The analog clock in the dash uses machined titanium. The center console hides a champagne chiller and two crystal flutes. Instead of a hidden umbrella, like in the Dawn, the car’s side walls conceal a pair of carbon fiber attaché cases that have been specifically designed to fit the buyer’s laptop, and they match a set of custom luggage found in the trunk. There’s even a shelf for his hat.
So the next time that dream car crosses your mind, remember that you could actually dream even bigger if you had enough money to bend the rules. Who knows? Maybe someday you will. If the last two years on this Earth have taught us anything, it’s that everything is possible. Especially a custom-built Rolls-Royce with a built-in champagne cooler.