rolls-royce sweptail coupé pays homage to the world of racing yachts

rolls-royce sweptail coupé pays homage to the world of racing yachts

one year ago rolls-royce presented ‘vision next 100‘ concept to the world, it applied its coachbuilding heritage to inspire its future clientele. this vehicle envisaged a world of personal luxury mobility where new technologies would allow every rolls-royce to be designed in their owners’ image. such a vehicle would represent a personal, bespoke motor car for each individual. in 2013, one of the company’s most valued customers approroached it with a very particular request–a connoisseur and collector of distinctive, one-off items including super-yachts and private aircraft, this individual came to rolls-royce to realize their vision of a one-off luxury motor car. 

all images © rolls-royce motor cars / james lipman



this individual approached rolls-royce with their own idea of a contemporary two-seat car, and the automaker has crafted and christened it ‘sweptail’. inspired by the beautiful coachbuilt rolls-royces of the 1920s and 1930s, the client’s desire was for a coachbuilt two seater coupé featuring a large panoramic glass roof. as a connoisseur of rolls-royces, he was inspired by many of his favourite cars from the marque’s golden era of the early 20th century, as well as many classic and modern yachts.



when seen from the front the ‘sweptail’ signals that this is one very different and distinct rolls-royce. attention is first attracted by the confident and solid character of the front profile, centred on a new treatment of the rolls-royce pantheon grille. the largest of any modern era rolls-royce, the grille is milled from solid aluminium before being painstakingly polished by hand to a mirror finish. the periphery of the front face of ‘sweptail’ is framed in brushed aluminium. moving around to the side of the car, you find that it is the striking silhouette that defines its unique character. flowing as they do from upright and formal frontal aspect, the lines of ‘sweptail’ resolve into a sveltely elegant form. the grandeur of this regal looking coupé is evident. from the leading edge of the windscreen, the roofline accelerates as it fires backwards towards the rear of the motor car, overshooting the boot lid edge to emphasise its length. the longer side window graphic and wide C-pillar finisher underscore the length, and proportions of this coupé.



the rear of the vehicle pays homage to the world of racing yachts that inspired the client, with its raked stern. seen directly from behind, the taper contrasts strongly with the front of the motor car, shaping a new perception of the dramatic coupé.  both the roof line as it tapers towards the centre line of the car, concluding in a ‘bullet-tip’ that houses the centre brake light, and the sweeping lower bumper area of the motor car, combine to create a greater feeling of elegance in motion. the highlight feature of ‘sweptail’ was requested specifically 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. creating the ambience of the interior of the motor car, the glass of the roof is framed by polished aluminum rails that channel it into a vanishing point at the rear of the cabin.



the interior is ruled by a philosophy of simplicity and minimalism leading to refinement of componentry and a purification of clutter. polished macassar ebony and open-pore paldao adorn the interior, creating visual and tactile contrasts for the owner, both classical and contemporary. all their forms however are thoroughly modern as they echo the exterior lines of ‘sweptail’, hand-formed to encircle the occupants with some of the most beautiful natural materials in the world. this choice of dark and light, ebony and paldao, is set off by contrasting light moccasin and dark spice leathers that adorn the seats, armrests and dashboard top. behind the occupants, a feature named the passarelle flows from the rear edge of the windscreen to resolve in a teardrop as it connects to the hat shelf to join all interior volumes. this element also includes the only visible presence of this singular motor car’s name as ‘sweptail’ is discreetly debossed into the surface, exactly on the centre line.



presenting the car to guests at the concorso d’eleganza at villa d’este on saturday 27th may 2017, where designboom was present, torsten müller-ötvös, CEO rolls-royce motor cars said, ‘sweptail is a truly magnificent car. it exudes the romance of travel for its own sake, and immediately places ‘sweptail’ in the pantheon of the world’s great intercontinental tourers. rolls-royce’s history as the world’s leading coachbuilder is at the very core of its identity as the world’s leading luxury brand. the arrival of 103EX shone a light on the future of rolls-royce in this field, and ‘sweptail’ is proof, today, that rolls-royce is at the pinnacle of coachbuilding. we are listening carefully to our most special customers and assessing their interest in investing in similar, completely exclusive coachbuilt masterpieces. at the same time we are looking into the resources which will allow us to offer this unique service to these discerning patrons of luxury.’

designboom was present at the world premier of the rolls-royce ‘sweptail’
image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom


image © designboom



  • Unfortunately, Rolls Royce or, who knows, its customers, seems to have lost connection with reality and also with sense of design.
    Sensation of déjà vu about what happened to the brand in the year of 1976.

    Sérgio Werneck de Figueiredo says:
  • Has anyone seen a Buick Riviera 1972 lately. That car must have been inspired by a Racing Yacht also.

    gus says:
  • We used to call wallowing beasts, ‘Boats’. This looks more like is was designed for Benny Hill rather than Sir Peter BLake.


    JimCan says:
  • the front of this Rolls looks like an old firetruck. Upon further inspection I think the whole thing looks adhoc….

    Rich says:
  • Surely RR is cribbing from the fashionable boattail luxury-car bodies of the 1920s?

    Mort d'Urban says:
  • I’d gladly have one

    peter wessell says:
  • The design fits the newer rich, with scarce further knowledges, no names.

    Finn Sloth says:
  • Bow and stern do have no design connection, unfortunately, although both have their own interesting character.

    Dirk says:

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