Rolls-Royce Boat Tail

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Rolls-Royce unveils £20M yacht-inspired car with an 'aft deck'

12 January 2022• Written by Simon de Burton

BOAT takes a closer look at the new motor yacht-inspired Boat Tail car by Rolls-Royce, which even features a 'rear deck' for picnics...

The automotive world might be surging towards electrification, but two of the world’s most revered car marques have stepped back in time to an era when what the owner wanted was what the owner got. Or, to put it another way - the old-fashioned art of coach building is back.

All images courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and Mark Fagelson Photography

Bentley was first to announce the return of a coach-built service early last year when it pulled the wraps off the outrageous Bacalar, an open two-seater with a two-seat body by Mulliner, the oldest coachbuilding company in the world. Just 12 Bacalars will be made, each to the individual buyer’s specification and with price tags of around £1.5 million apiece – which sounded a lot, until Rolls-Royce announced its return to coachbuilding with a special that’s reputed to have cost an eye-watering £20 million.

The Boat Tail, one of three built to the individual specifications of each customer, measures almost 5.8 metres from stem to stern and was commissioned by a couple with a fondness for all things maritime – hence the tapered, wood-clad “aft deck” at the rear of the hand-beaten aluminium body that gives the car its name.

The Boat Tail’s owners requested nods to nautical design including a low trailing edge and fixed-canopy roof

The design harks back to the 1930s when boat tails were relatively common and the majority of luxury motors left the factory as a rolling chassis for which buyers would find a separate coach builder to make the bodywork – a system that petered out during the 1950s thanks to the emergence of automated production lines and mass-produced vehicles. But with today’s billionaires looking to outdo one another, the demand for individualism has returned – even at Rolls-Royce, where almost all of the 3,750 cars completed in 2020 left the Goodwood works with personalised twists.

Coach-built cars, however, are made from the ground up – as demonstrated by the Boat Tail, which incorporates other nods to the nautical such as a low trailing edge designed to evoke the dipped stern of a motor launch, and a fixed-canopy roof that looks like a sort of automotive bimini.

It’s the car’s “deck” area that’s most impressive, however, because at the push of a button it opens to an angle of precisely 15 degrees to reveal a “hosting suite” comprising a  champagne fridge, a parasol, two cocktail tables and a pair of carbon-fibre stools produced by Italian furniture maker Promemoria and covered with the same leather used for the car’s interior.

he Boat Tail’s boot contains a champagne fridge, parasol, tables and stools for impromptu refreshment breaks

And for a finishing interior touch, Rolls-Royce called upon the services of Swiss watch house Bovet 1822 to make two timepieces to grace the car’s fascia. The interchangeable watches have dials on either side to enable them to be reversed when worn on the wrist, and can also be popped off their straps and slotted into the car to serve as dashboard clocks. It makes the average superyacht seem almost pedestrian…


Engine 6.75l, twin-turbo V12
Power 563bhp
Torque 860Nm @ 1,650rpm
0-100km/h circa 4.4 seconds
Top speed 250km/h (limited)
Price Approx. £20 million, dependent on individual specification

This feature is taken from the December 2021 issue of BOAT International. Get this magazine sent straight to your door, or subscribe and never miss an issue. 

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