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Sweptail: Rolls Royce's $13 million masterpiece

BEAM Staff
April 16, 2018

Eponymous with luxury, Rolls Royce has curved the boundaries of high end with its one-off coupe that cost its owner a reported $13 million. Launched under the name Sweptail, it took nearly 5 years for the car manufacturer to deliver this bespoke design to a repeat client.

Sweptail's owner initially put in the order for his unique car in 2013. Inspired by Rolls Royce classics from the 1920s, its sweeping lines remind of luxury cars of the 30s. Described as a "connoisseur and collector of distinctive, one-off items including super-yachts and private aircraft", its owner wanted an exclusive Rolls that fit his profile.

Apart from the car's unique curved back, its most noticeable feature is a glass roof that extends from its wheel back to its trunk. Unveiled in Italy at the Concorso d'Eleganza in front of an ultra-rich crowd, the Sweptail caused a wave of envy across attendees. At a $12.8 million reported price tag, the car became the most expensive new car ever sold.

Despite her classic, 1920s roots, the Sweptail has many features that only a few modern supercars would boast. Amongst them are its panoramic glass roof that lets passengers look out to the sky without any obstructions. Within the centre console is a champagne chiller and space for two crystal, champagne flutes.

Fully customised for its owner, Rolls Royce event went to the point of custom designing two briefcases that fit into special lockers within the passenger's cockpit. These were specifically made for the owner's laptop. In its trunk is a special shelf for the owner's hat and an assortment of custom luggage. Its analog clock uses machined titanium.

Inside, the $13 million car features a bespoke mixture of white leather coupled with darker wood finishes. The wood is a mixture of Macassar Ebony and open-pore Paldao wood, adding a feel of luxury to the supercar. "Sweptail is the automotive equivalent of Haute Couture" commented Rolls Royce Design Director, Giles Taylor.

“Our job was to guide, edit and finely hone the lines that would ultimately give our client this most perfect of Rolls-Royces." Taylor added. Although the identity of the owner is unknown, the fact that the Sweptail is right wheeled does hint that the owner is from a UK-dependent country. Her speed and technical specs are, for now, unconfirmed.

According to the car manufacturer,  "Taylor and his team of designers engaged with the client in a wonderfully intellectual journey as they worked together to realise the customer’s distinct vision and bring it to life. The ‘Sweptail’ is without question a Rolls-Royce that fits to the marque’s DNA. Its initial formality when seen from the front signals that this is one very different and distinct Rolls-Royce"

"The highlight feature of ‘Sweptail’ however is that specifically asked for by the client. An uninterrupted glass roof, one of the largest and most complex ever seen on a motor car of any marque, allows the cabin to be flooded with natural light, animating a host of beautifully handcrafted materials and componentry."

Whilst paying $12.8 million for a supercar is, surprisingly, no longer unique, spending that amount for a unit of the production line is a feat that was never seen before. Collector's cars tend to appreciate over time, when a limited edition vehicle is unique enough for collectors to get caught up in bidding wars to obtain prized units. Yet, this tends to happen over decades.

In November 2016, a Ferrari 250 GTO, one of the most prized cars amongst collectors went for sale at an asking price of $56.8 million, the highest ever registered for a car. The previous record was set by another GTO at $38.1 million. Whilst higher than the Sweptail's price tag, these cars were built in the 1960s, winning races with only 36 of them in existence.

Short of the Sweptail, the most expensive production car was the Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita that Floyd Mayweather had purchased for $4.8 million in 2015. The car was also built as one-off by the Swedish hypercar builder. Last year, the car, however, sold at auction for $2.6 million, nearly half of what Mayweather had paid for it initially.

The most unique attribute of the Sweptail is, however, that Rolls Royce went through all of the required certification and design for just one car. Famed for selling cars for half a million, the UK manufacturer was in no need of a one time payoff, yet, Sweptail's owner, somehow, got one of the world's most luxurious car builders to build him a custom car.