Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has always attracted subversive clients – rebellious women and men who built their success by breaking rules, taking risks and challenging conventions. In the 2020s, these women and men engage with luxury products on their own terms. They reject suits for streetwear, use blockchain not banks and influence the analogue world through their digital endeavours. In doing so, they have created new codes of luxury that resonate with their sensibilities: darker in aesthetic, assertive in character and bold in design.
Their approach to Rolls-Royce products is no different. The marque has responded accordingly, developing new colour palettes, more technical surface treatments and even more powerful driving experiences without ever compromising the effortless sensibilities that have drawn this bold group of clients to the Rolls-Royce brand.
THE DARK SIDE OF POST OPULENCE
This motor car has started a new design conversation in its relentless pursuit of minimalism and purity. Named ‘Post Opulence’ by Rolls-Royce designers, this aesthetic movement is characterised by reduction and substance. In service to this, exceptional materials are selected and celebrated while overt design is limited, intelligent and unobtrusive.
However, within this group of clients – who celebrate minimalism and material substance – a rebellious subset sought to create a disruptive expression of Ghost by permanently cloaking it in a shade so pure that its very classification as a colour remains a subject of debate: black. Black Badge Ghost reflects these clients’ desires. It is the dark side of Post Opulence: minimalism in extremis.
Clients are free to select any of the marque’s 44,000 ‘ready-to-wear’ colours or create their own entirely unique Bespoke hue. However, the overwhelming majority of women and men who requested this darker expression of Ghost have selected the signature Black. To create what is the motor car industry’s darkest black, 100lbs (45kg) of paint is atomised and applied to an electrostatically charged body in white before being oven dried. At between three and five hours in duration, this operation is entirely unknown in mass production, creating an intensity simply unattainable elsewhere in the automotive industry.
To match this dramatic coachwork, the marque has created an entirely customisable process that allows Rolls-Royce hallmarks such as the high-polished Spirit of Ecstasy and Pantheon Grille to be subverted. Instead of simply painting these components, a specific chrome electrolyte is introduced to the traditional chrome plating process that is co-deposited on the stainless-steel substrate, darkening the finish.
The exterior treatment resolves with a Bespoke 21-inch composite wheelset. Designed in the Black Badge house style and reserved for Black Badge Ghost, the barrel of each wheel is made up of 22 layers of carbon fibre laid on three axes, then folded back on themselves at the outer edges of the rim, forming a total of 44 layers of carbon fibre for greater strength.
If specified in the client’s commission, the Technical Fibre ‘Waterfall’ section of the individual rear seats receives the Black Badge family motif: the mathematical symbol that represents potential infinity known as a Lemniscate. Rendered in aerospace-grade aluminium on the lid of Black Badge Ghost’s Champagne cooler, it is applied between the third and fourth layer of a total of six layers of subtly tinted lacquer, creating the illusion that the symbol is floating above the Technical Fibre veneer.
Aesthetes from the marque’s design team elected to further enhance the noir ambience of Black Badge Ghost by subduing the brightwork. Air vent surrounds on the dashboard and in the rear cabin are darkened using physical vapour deposition, one of the few methods of colouring metal that ensures parts will not discolour or tarnish over time or through repeated use.
The timepiece is flanked by a world-first Bespoke innovation that debuted with Ghost: the Illuminated Fascia, which displays an ethereal glowing Lemniscate, surrounded by more than 850 stars. Located on the passenger side of the dashboard, the constellation and motif are completely invisible when the interior lights are not in operation.
Key to its potent character is the Architecture of Luxury, Rolls-Royce’s proprietary all-aluminium spaceframe architecture that debuted with Phantom. This sub-structure not only delivers extraordinary body stiffness, but its flexibility and scalability allowed Ghost to be equipped with all-wheel drive, four-wheel steering and the award-winning Planar Suspension system. For Black Badge, these peerless engineering qualities have been comprehensively re-engineered, including the fitting of more voluminous air springs to alleviate body roll under more assertive cornering.
The capacity of the Rolls-Royce twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre V12 engine was deemed sufficient. However, the flexibility of this celebrated power plant has been exploited to generate an extra 29PS, creating a total output of 600PS. The sense of a single infinite gear has also been dramatised with the addition of a further 50NM of torque, for a total of 900NM. The powertrain has also received Bespoke transmission and throttle treatments to further enhance the engine’s increased power reserves.
Black Badge Ghost is available to commission now.