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Rolls-Royce’s ‘Heaven on Earth’ Droptail Is Exactly That

The wood sections alone required 8,000 hours of development to get them just right.
white car and reflection by cherry tree
Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce is keeping its coachbuilding tradition alive with one-offs like the new Arcadia Droptail, a five-year project commissioned by one of its high-end clients. The name comes from Greek mythology, translated to “Heaven on Earth” in an apparent understatement.

The British luxury brand calls its Coachbuild designers the “automotive equivalent of haute couture” and they create hand-built cars by invitation only. In the case of the Arcadia Droptail, the owner-to-be was first presented with the concept of this vehicle in a sketch back in 2019, and this one was extra intense. Rolls-Royce says the subsequent four years of development was an “unprecedented investment of time” spent on a custom build.

white car rear 3/4 view

Engineered as a left-hand drive vehicle by request, the client wanted to be able to drive it in cities around the world. Using Rolls-Royce’s “holodeck” to offer a 3D rendering of the car with a virtual reality headset, the Coachbuild team gave the client a taste of what it would be like to drive the Arcardia Droptail in different international cities.

Rolls-Royce says the Droptail includes 233 wood pieces, including 76 pieces on the rear deck alone. Designing those pieces and developing the outer protective coating required more than 8,000 hours (the equivalent of nearly 333 days) of development. The brand considered a coating used for superyachts, but that would have required a fair amount of maintenance and re-application, so the geniuses from the Rolls-Royce team came up with a lacquer that requires only a one-and-done application.

During the testing process, Rolls-Royce specialists subjected the wood pieces to a “punishing” cycle inside a machine that simulated global weather extremes. The brand says sample wood pieces were sprayed with water, left to dry in the dark, and then exposed to heat and bright light for a total of 1,000 hours on 18 different samples before they were content with the outcome.

This rolling metal piece of artwork is exponentially more tasteful and serene than Drake’s custom Cullinan and completely different than the orchid-adorned Phantom from 2022. No price was shared for this creation, but I’d guess its upwards of $25 million or more based on previous Droptail customs.

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