Rolls-Royce revives coachbuilding business

After testing the waters for a modern coachbuilding service with the one-off Sweptail unveiled in 2017, Rolls-Royce is now ready to establish a standalone division catering to well-heeled buyers looking for a unique vehicle.

On Wednesday, Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös confirmed the new division as Rolls-Royce Coachbuild and said it will be able to create a unique vehicle to a customer’s exact requirements.

“We are able to offer our customers the opportunity to create a motor car in which every single element is hand-built to their precise individual requirements,” he said in a statement.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös

Torsten Müller-Ötvös

We’re sure there will still be some guidelines to protect the world from some of the fancies of Rolls-Royce’s customers. Tasteless millionaires and unique vehicles can be a dangerous combination.

Yes, you’re going to have some spare millions if you want Rolls-Royce to build you a unique vehicle. The Sweptail is estimated to have cost its owner close to $12.8 million. That’s a lot, even for a Rolls-Royce.

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There is a lot involved, though. Coachbuilding is the practice of using a donor chassis on which to build a unique body and interior. It’s actually how cars were largely built in the early era of the automobile, including at Rolls-Royce.

Rolls-Royce Sweptail

Rolls-Royce Sweptail

The modern coach-built cars from Rolls-Royce will be based on the automaker’s aluminum space-frame platform that debuted in the latest Phantom and has since made its way into the Cullinan and Ghost. A space-frame instead of a typical unibody structure means unique bodies can be created.

The platform was also designed to be scalable, with the bulkhead, floor, cross-member and side sills all capable of being stretched or shrunk to suit a design. The height of the platform can also be adjusted.

More details on Rolls-Royce Coachbuild will be announced shortly.

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