The Sussex countryside in which Rolls-Royces are built, just over the road from the Goodwood circuit, couldn’t be further in character from the hubbub of a busy metropolis. Yet it’s exactly that environment that inspires the new Metropolitan Collection, on show right now at the Paris motor show. Only 20 will be available for commission, following on from the Pinnacle Travel and Waterspeed Collection.
The headline feature of the Metropolitan is the incredible marquetry in the cabin. Open the picnic table, and you’ll discover an elevated view of a cityscape made from over 500 individual pieces of wood. Each takes a Rolls-Royce craftsman several days to complete, and there is more on the dashboard.
Each piece of wood is inspected, and rejected if knots or flecks are evident. They are then painstakingly colour-adjusted using the hand process of hot-sand shading before final inspection under magnification on a lightbox to ensure perfection. The result is as exquisite as it is fascinating to study.
The cityscape theme continues to the grey leather (chosen to reflect the colour palette of a modern metropolis) and the coachlines on the bodywork, which feature an abstract design.
The series of special collections inspires customers, the Bespoke division having reported record demand last month. Almost all Phantoms are now built with a Bespoke element, as are 90 per cent of Wraiths and 80 per cent of Ghosts. The Goodwood Road & Racing choice? That would be the stunning, Festival of Speed inspired one-off Phantom Coupe we commandeered for our trip to Le Mans earlier this year…