Magnificent speed: Rolls Royce’s New Landspeed Wraith and Dawn
Rolls-Royce has been associated with world speed records on both land and water for more than a century. The British marque celebrates the records set by British engineer Captain George Eyston with two limited editions Landspeed Wraith and Dawn. The engineer used two Rolls-Royce R V12 aero engines in Thunderbolt, where Eyston pursued his record-breaking endeavours in 1937-38.
Thunderbolt was powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce R supercharged 37-litre V-12 aero engines, each producing well over 2,000 horsepower. Around only 19 of these engines were ever made – so rare that Thunderbolt’s engines had a previous career in the Schneider Trophy-winning Supermarine S6.B seaplane that would lay the foundations for the legendary Spitfire. Today, Thunderbolt’s two R engines are preserved at the Royal Air Force Museum, Hendon and the Science Museum in London. The car itself, however, has been lost.
“It’s human nature to want to go further, do more, be greater than ourselves. The innate desire to extend horizons and define new limits is an instinct we’ve always understood at Rolls-Royce; and we have acted upon it once again with our new Landspeed Collection.” “With this Collection, we have revived Eyston’s memory and retold his remarkable story. Throughout Wraith and Dawn Landspeed, clients will find numerous subtle design elements and narrative details that recall and commemorate his amazing achievements, grand vision and exceptional courage.”, said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Now, after more than 80 years, Rolls-Royce recalls this hero’s inspiring exploits.
In Wraith Landspeed, the Starlight Headliner perfectly recreates the heavens as they appeared over the Flats on 16 September 1938, the date on which Eyston and Thunderbolt set their third and final world land-speed record. The constellations are precisely marked using 2,117 individually placed fibre-optic ‘stars’ – the most significant number of stars in a Rolls-Royce Wraith Starlight Headliner ever!
Wraith and Dawn Landspeed further pay their homage with subtle detail in the driver’s door, made in the same Grosgrain weave silk and colours to match the original medal ribbons. The armrests on both the passenger side and below the ribbon detail are specially padded to give them the comfortable ‘club armchair’ quality that Eyston favoured in his driving seats, much to the amusement of his fellow racers.
Aptly named “Landspeed Collection”, Rolls Royce introduced special versions of Wraith and Dawn Black Badge. The Rolls-Royce Landspeed Collection draws inspiration from George Eyston’s remarkable life and record-breaking feats. The Production is limited to just 35 examples of Wraith Black Badge and 25 of Dawn Black Badge. In the same vein, the Wraith and Dawn are powered by twin-turbocharged 6.6-litre V12 engines that deliver a total of 624 hp and 563 hp, respectively.
With his vision, boldness, determination and genius for innovation and invention, George Eyston embodies so much of what makes Rolls-Royce unique. These cars are a fitting and long-overdue tribute to a truly inspiring character.