MX-5 Levanto

Garage Italian Customs is known for building some outlandish cars, they were the force behind the Star Wars themed Fiat 500e that we shared last year and many other extreme custom builds. Their latest project car, the new Mazda MX-5, is a theme car as well, but a little different. According to the official release this car was inspired by the cult classic film 'Endless Summer.' But for me I am just not seeing it.

How they interpreted Endless Summer to mean full Canadian Tuxedo interior, is a bit lost on me, and it seems to clash with the clean modern lines of the new MX-5. But one thing is certain it is built to an incredible standard.

They go on in the official release to talk about "the art of Takumi" and lots of inspirational sounding verbiage, but looking at all that denim just made me think of the old Levi's edition Gremlin. It's like that old picture of Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, sure they look good, just not in that much denim.

Moving on to the exterior things get a whole lot better, the paint and bodywork are stunning, and the colors meant to invoke the sunset, also happen to look like Gulf Racing colors, and you can never go wrong with Gulf Racing livery. The most impressive part is that the car is painted, not wrapped, the gradient fade between colors was done by hand to create a seamless transition from blue to orange.

Check out the official release below for more detail and let me know if you like the denim or not.

Official Release: MX-5 LEVANTO: Mazda AND Garage Italia Customs bring the beach to Milan

Milan, June 23, 2016. Mazda has chosen Garage Italian Customs, to create a "single piece" of its MX5 fourth generation iconic spider .
Not a casual encounter this one between the Japanese company and the creative hub of Lapo Elkann: Mazda infact is the Japanese company that more than others has adopted the Japanese tradition for fine craftsmanship and the cult of the craftsmanship (the 'art of Takumi) brought to its maximum level.

Natural complement of Takumi could only be evidently the "Maestros" of Garage Italian Customs, specialists with unique skills and absolute exceptionality in customization of products already representing already the excellence in standard products realization.
The creative idea of this spectacular interpretation of the MX-5 comes from the creativity of Lapo Elkann and from the movie The "Endless Summer", the legendary 1966 Bruce Brown film considered a masterpiece of documentary film on the Surf.

The plot of the film tells the story of two American boys who embark on a trip between New Zealand, Australia, Africa and Tahiti and literally chasing the summer - which thus becomes endless - traveling around the globe, always searching for the perfect wave, introducing in each visited country the Surf as a real sport.

The title carries on a very nice concept and absolutely in line with those that are the values of Mazda MX5 and in particular: the taste of freedom, the pleasure of contact with nature and an irrepressible "desire for an endless summer".

And just as the two Brown movie’s protagonists are always in pursuit of the perfect wave, so the MX-5 owners chase instead the "perfect path".

The model realized is called MX-5 Levanto: the name is that of small country, called the pearl of the Ligurian coast,  which is considered -- for the unique characteristics of the seabed of its crystal clear sea -- the Italian surfing birthplace.

The livery of the roadster has been created by developing the concept of 'endless summer” and revisited finding inspiration in Levanto, crossing the legendary aesthetic of the Californian beach boy with the sophisticated elegance typical of the Italian Riviera.

The body incorporates the colors of the long summer sunsets (an endless sunset!). With a bright orange tone that fades in indigo height of the waistline. The special coating has been produced with skilled craftsmanship by Garage Italia Customs able artisans that, carefully measuring out the amount of splash from the paint gun, managed to get a perfect fusion, without any kind of separation between the two colors, which fade into each other naturally. The interior holds the chromatic duality of the exterior with a full dashboard trim, door panels and in Japanese denim upholstery, combined with Alcantara nautical blue for the seats (a material that you can safely bathe, therefore perfectly in line with the concept of car) with orange contrast stitching: so young and practical as they are elegant and absolutely new materials in the Automotive field.

Michael Kors for McLaren-Honda

Michael Kors, a global luxury lifestyle brand, is delighted to announce a new partnership with McLaren-Honda, becoming the official lifestyle partner of the world championship Formula 1 team. Both McLaren-Honda and Michael Kors celebrate design and speed, with the partnership strengthening and amplifying both brands’ embodiment of a fast, jet-set lifestyle.

“Michael Kors and McLaren-Honda are pioneers in their respective spaces, and we firmly believe that McLaren-Honda is the right partner for our entry into the Formula 1 racing world,” says John D. Idol, Chairman and Chief Executive Office of Michael Kors. “This is an exciting moment for us, especially as we continue to grow as a men’s lifestyle brand.”

The Formula 1 audience is a new one for Michael Kors, providing a prime opportunity to familiarize the European consumer with all facets of the Michael Kors world. Additionally, the legendary McLaren-Honda brand and its renowned Formula 1 drivers are an exceptional representation of the Michael Kors man—sophisticated, international and successful, with an appreciation for living life in the fast lane.

“We’re delighted to announce a brand-new partnership between McLaren- Honda and Michael Kors, the world-famous award-winning designer of luxury accessories and ready-to-wear apparel,” says Ron Dennis, Executive Chairman and CEO McLaren Group.

He continues, “Like McLaren, which has raced in Formula 1 all over the world for the past 50 years, Michael Kors is also a truly international company, operating stylish and successful stores in some of the most prestigious cities in the world, including New York, Beverly Hills, Chicago, London, Milan, Paris, Munich, Istanbul, Dubai, Seoul, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

“Moreover, I firmly believe that the corporate cultures of both McLaren and Michael Kors encompass a common dynamism and adventurism, as well as a shared commitment to a similarly relentless pursuit of perfection, and as such the two brands are extremely well suited to a long-term partnership. That brand fit is very important to both of us: both companies have built their reputations on being the very best at what they do, and, as we now march forward together, we’ll both become stronger still.”

As the team’s official lifestyle partner, Michael Kors branding will feature prominently on both the driver overalls and the McLaren-Honda MP4-31 car.
To celebrate the launch of the partnership, Michael Kors has created a limited-edition men’s leather jacket. The 50 specially produced black leather jackets will be sold exclusively on the men’s floor of the new Michael Kors London flagship store, while supplies last. The jackets feature both the Michael Kors and McLaren logos, as well as a limited-edition plaque with each piece’s unique production number.
“This partnership is about the convergence of style and speed, which is inherent to both the Michael Kors and McLaren- Honda DNA,” says Michael Kors. “There is an energy, sophistication and confidence to both of our brands, and we wanted to create a limited-edition piece that spoke to that.”

Car Girl: Sarah Bantay

Sarah Bantay is a diehard automotive enthusiast whose daily driver is her Mazda MX-5 autocross and track day car, while her Turbo RX7 FC is almost ready for the road and track again after a custom engine build. After a few minutes of chatting it's clear that she would much rather be strapped into her racing seat than doing just about anything else in the world. Sarah is such a gearhead she was even asked by Mazda USA to take part in the accumulation testing for the MX-5 ND back in 2015. 

The first generation Miata that serves as Sarah's daily driver had it's engine rebuilt, bored and fitted with forged pistons bringing it up to 1.9 liters. The Racing Beat exhaust sounds smooth and reminds you that this Miata is a true sports car. An ACT Stage 1 clutch and lightened flywheel transfer the power to Enkei RPF1 wheels. Koni Yellows and Flying Miata shock mounts help the car in the corners while inside the Hard Dog roll bar and Sparco Revs with Sparco 5 point harnesses keep everything safe. Outside Sarah has added Project G hardtop spoiler and side skirts. 

Sarah and her MX-5 have competed in a number of autocrosses, and track days at Laguna Seca, Streets of Willow, and Auto Club Speedway.  She credits Steve Lepper from Gearhead's Garage and Alex Tan from Indotech Motorsports for helping her build a car that can serve both as a daily drive and a fun track day toy. 

Currently Sarah is building an RX7 FC Turbo, which we will profile in a future story, built to be a serious performance car with the goal of competing in time attack racing we can't wait to see it driving. When Sarah isn't driving her favorite mountain roads or working on her project cars you can find her working at Auto Club Speedway where she is an event manager for CalSpeed Karting.

Be sure to follow her on Instagram @faeracing

photo via Sarah Bantay

Photo via Sarah Bantay

Style by Lamborghini

On the occasion of Milano Moda Uomo, Automobili Lamborghini presents its Spring Summer 2017 collection at the Mandarin Oriental Milan.

A Huracán Spyder, an Aventador Roadster and the clothing on show attracted attention throughout the whole day. Collezione Automobili Lamborghini proved itself to be an appealing brand at Milano Moda Uomo, offering a complete menswear collection.

During the cocktail, Stefano Domenicali, Chief Executive Officer of Automobili Lamborghini, met with the press and guests to underline the importance for the brand of a strong presence at Milano Moda Uomo.

The Collezione Automobili Lamborghini presented at the event portrays the brand values visionary, cutting-edge and pure, the stylistic codes of the most desirable super sports cars in the world, and key points of a collection with strong fashion content and the expressive power of Italian design.

For a cutting-edge interpretation of a timeless dream in the Classic, Casual, Casual Heritage and Squadra Corse lines.

The Spring Summer 2017 Collection

Classic line. Conceived and developed with the same stylistic codes as the iconic vehicles - such as the hexagon, the distinctive shape used here in the weave for fabrics and leather - the Classic line represents a new emotional interpretation of the most refined masculine style. The inspiration of Sartorial Voyager is translated into pieces created and constructed with sartorial care and skill but with great attention to the function of use.

The materials are excellent: hyper lightweight waterproof and breathable cotton for the dark navy or stone trench-coat, Japanese stretch technical fabrics for the single-breasted jacket, ultra soft lightweight leather for the zip-up jacket, extremely comfortable jersey and piquet fabrics for the slim fit shirts and cotton yarn knit with refined fabrications for the sweaters.

Casual line. Premium materials with exceptional performances of comfort for a series of pieces which combine style and relaxation. The essential pieces of the casual wardrobe are given a contemporary interpretation, such as the bomber jacket in Japanese technical fabrics and the Bermuda shorts in cotton with a microweave.

For the Indigo edition a series of polo shirts, t-shirts and sweaters in denim – jersey and treated with the Indigo wash effect. The new graphics, “asphalt marks”, inspired by the marks left by tyres, and the “Y” characterize the beach line made up of boxer shorts and coordinated beach towels.

The line is completed by two capsule collections dedicated to the Huracán Spyder and Aventador Superveloce Roadster, two series with graphics comprising t-shirts, polo shirts and trousers as well as the Special Edition Bull LXIII with the identifying Bull in gold and silver embroidery.

Casual Heritage. The casual line is inspired in the graphics by the iconic Lamborghini models, one for each decade; the t-shirts feature the period graphics of the Miura, LM002, Countach and Diablo models. Slub jersey and piquet for the polo shirts and t-shirts.

Squadra Corse line. The sporting character of Automobili Lamborghini is expressed in the collection for the man who appreciates a style that can also express an elegant performance. This sporting attitude is exalted with the selection of high tech fabrics, the minimalist cuts with cutting-edge design, and the technical solutions that become details of style.

Bold and highly defined colours: black, Argos orange, Horus yellow and optical white with minimalist graphics, inspired by races and minimalist with tone-on-tone prints in relief.

The outerwear is made in fully taped stretch waterproof and breathable technical fabric, or are reversible in lightweight nylon or in padded nylon with fleece sleeves, designed to guarantee maximum comfort in performance.

Special Editions. Fragrances L - Automobili Lamborghini in partnership with Intertrade Group; running shoes with Mizuno; carbon fibre luggage with TecknoMonster.

Collezione Automobili Lamborghini is also part of the County of Milan by Marcelo Burlon clothing range.

The Lamborghini brand is interpreted by the designer through ad-hoc graphics inspired by the House of the Raging Bull. The same graphics adorned the Lamborghini Aventador Coupé exhibited in the internal courtyard of Via Manin 13 in Milan for the entire duration of the designer's sales campaign.

Flagship store, Sant’Agata Bolognese.
At all the official Lamborghini dealers in the world.
At the following points of sale
Taiwan: Taipei - Bellavita Shopping Mall
Thailand: Bangkok - Siam Paragon, Bangkok - The Emporium, Pattaya City - Central Festival Pattaya, Samutprakarn - King Power Duty Free Downtown Complex, Samutprakarn - King Power Lat Krabang , Samutprakarn - King Power Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok

United Arab Emirates: Dubai - The Dubai Mall, Galeries Lafayette - Dubai, House of Fraser, Abu Dhabi
On the site
At the bets multibrand retailers throughout the world.

Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100... Makes Me Say Meh

 The press is quickly heaped praise on the design calling it "astonishing" and "brilliant" to me this just looks like another pretentious Art Center senior project or a 20 year old vision of what the car of the future will look like. It would be more at home on the TV puppet show Thunderbirds or in the 1995 version of Judge Dredd than the future streets of London.

If you haven't gathered it yet, I don't care for this concept, I think it does little to move the brand forward in a meaningful way and disregards too much what a Rolls-Royce is. Change the Grill and it could be any other car makers concept, of "the car of the future."

For more check out the official release below.

Official Release:

Today, Rolls-Royce, the world’s leading luxury brand, has defined the future of luxury mobility. The Grand Arrival of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 boldly points to a bright future for our marque where our patrons’ individual demands for complete and authentic personalisation will be met through an exquisite fusion of technology, design and hallmark Rolls-Royce craftsmanship.”

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

“With the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 we were mindful not to dwell on the past. We wanted to be as innovative as possible and at the same time transcend the design history of the marque.”

Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

In a spectacular event at London’s Roundhouse today, the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 was presented. The car defines the future of luxury mobility. Codenamed 103EX, it is the marque’s first ever pure ‘Vision Vehicle’.

The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 presents an intriguing and aesthetically dynamic vision of the future of luxury mobility  – a completely personal, effortless and autonomous Rolls-Royce experience, wrapped in a design that ensures a ‘Grand Sanctuary’ for its occupants, and a ‘Grand Arrival’.

The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 anticipates the mobility demands of the luxury customer of the future. Brought to life by Rolls-Royce after many months of study and consultation with current patrons of the brand, the car represents their clearly expressed desire for an assurance that the marque’s plans for the future of luxury personal mobility will continue to embody the key attributes that have made Rolls-Royce the preferred marque of the most discerning and powerful patrons in the world for over a Century.

With the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, the brand provides just such an assurance to its valued customers – present and future. It makes a bold and definitive statement of confidence in a future where Rolls-Royce rejects the notion of anonymous, utilitarian and bland future modes of mobility. Through an intimate understanding of its customers’ thinking and their demands in the future, Rolls-Royce presents an exciting and highly appealing vision of effortless, autonomous, spacious and beautiful luxury mobility, as personal as each individual customer.


This ‘Vision Vehicle’ is one of four announced by the BMW Group in Munich on 7 March 2016, as it launched its centenary celebrations – THE NEXT 100 YEARS. In addition to being the centenary of the BMW Group, 2016 also represents a seminal moment in the history of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

For Rolls-Royce, the end of production of the seventh generation Phantom – considered by aficionados to be "the best car in the world" – represents the completion of the first phase of the Rolls-Royce brand’s renaissance under BMW Group custodianship. The success of Phantom, Ghost, Wraith and now Dawn serves as the foundation for a bold new chapter.

This highly successful era for the world’s most celebrated luxury brand has been driven by a restless commitment to always looking forward.

In this spirit, the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 is presented – a truly revolutionary, highly authentic exploration of the future of luxury mobility. It provides a fully authentic look into the potential demands and desires of the wealthy connoisseur of the future.

The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 – a vision of the future of luxury mobility

In creating the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars design team, led by Director of Design Giles Taylor, asked themselves the question, “How can we recast luxury for the next 100 years?” Within that question the team found that they had to address two further questions: “What will a Rolls-Royce owner expect of his or her Rolls-Royce in the coming decades?” and “How do we at Rolls-Royce today envision how we meet those expectations?”. These questions allowed the team to dream of the staggering possibilities for Rolls-Royce’s future.

Rolls-Royce intimately understands its patrons and their likely desires and motivations in the future. It understands that true luxury is deeply personal and that the hallmarks of every Rolls-Royce past and present are key to its future. The designers therefore distilled four key tenets that not only underpin the elegant solution that is the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, but epitomise the future of luxury mobility as a whole:

The Personal Vision
The Effortless Journey
The Grand Sanctuary
The Grand Arrival
In presenting the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, the marque has rejected the common notion that the future of personal transport is a utilitarian and functional one. Rolls-Royce has stepped bravely into the future to propose a no-compromise, fully autonomous, coachbuilt, personalised vision to those customers who wish for an emotional attachment to their car. This reasoning led them to the first key tenet: The Personal Vision.

The Personal Vision

The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, as presented in London on Thursday 16 June 2016, is but one example of a number of possible personal visions of a Rolls-Royce of the future. Indeed, in an evolution of the Rolls-Royce Bespoke experience of today, the customers’ taste will influence the exact design of his or her Rolls-Royce and how it will be configured.

In the spirit of the great coachbuilt cars of the past, Rolls-Royce will create the chassis of the future, hand-built from the most advanced materials and powered by a zero emissions powertrain. Advanced manufacturing technologies will enable customers to involve themselves even more in the design of the shape, size and silhouette of their personal Rolls-Royce vision. The future customer will commission his or her own concept. Rolls‑Royce will design and manufacture this personal vision of each customer and make every Rolls-Royce a unique Bespoke masterpiece.

In short, the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 utilises envisioned advances in technology to herald the return to authentic coachbuilding.

The Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 is the vision of the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars design team, led by Director of Design Giles Taylor. Their deep understanding of the Rolls-Royce customer of the future and the world in which they will live led them to conceive of a motor car that would serve and augment its patron’s lifestyle in every way.

“The Rolls-Royce patron will continue to be a famous figure in the future,” explains Taylor. I envision that the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 will play a key role in these people’s lives, guiding and conveying them effortlessly through their life’s journey in an exquisite sanctuary where they can reflect in peace ahead of arriving in the grandest style.”

The Effortless Journey, the Grand Sanctuary and the Grand Arrival. The next three tenets and hallmarks of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100.

The Effortless Journey

For the 105 years since her creation in 1911, the Spirit of Ecstasy, modelled by sculptor and artist Charles Sykes, on Eleanor Thornton, has silently guided every Rolls-Royce and its owner through the momentous events of their lives. She has stood as an elegant presence at some of history’s most notable events.

Today, the ‘Voice of Eleanor’ inhabits the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, delivering the dream of an effortless future to her owners. Digitally connected to every aspect of her owners’ lives and her surrounding environment, ‘Eleanor’ becomes their virtual assistant and chauffeur, freeing them of all effort and encumbrance. Imbued with her own artificial intelligence, she works intuitively to advise her owners on itineraries, schedules and options before they leave their residence, reminding about appointments and tasks and making suggestions to ease any anticipated impediments.

She ‘brings’ the car around when her passengers are ready to travel and, whilst conveying her charges to their next destination, helpfully but discreetly makes suggestions and recommendations, briefing them ahead of their arrival so they are ready to ‘perform’. And ever vigilant, ‘Eleanor’ safely delivers her passengers to their destination, having already predicted the situation and surroundings that await them.

This Effortless Journey is enhanced by the hallmark Rolls-Royce ‘magic carpet ride’ delivered through a blend of a futuristic, powerful, zero-emission drivetrain and advanced suspension that sees the vehicle almost skim across the road surface. As a V12 combustion engine is most unlikely to exist in the future, one can only surmise how this Rolls-Royce will be powered. A hint may appear in the Grand Sanctuary that is the interior of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100.

The Grand Sanctuary

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance.” Coco Chanel

Already prepared by ‘Eleanor’ for the next journey in their event-filled lives, our owners are met by the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 which awaits their departure. Entering the Grand Sanctuary, our passengers step in unbowed, with consummate grace and dignity, as with the state carriages of old, taking their place on the best seat in the house. Cocooned in the futuristic but handcrafted lounge atmosphere, the coach door and clamshell canopy glide closed to envelop them in uninterrupted silence and luxury.

As one would expect from a Rolls-Royce, the environment of the Grand Sanctuary is crafted from the most precious and contemporary of materials. What is unexpected is the feeling of lightness and simplicity, an effortless elegance.

True to this spirit, the cabin is encircled by the most modern handcrafted fine-line Macassar wood panelling, sweeping across the interior from the coach door, continuing around behind the generous OLED screen and up beside the second passenger to the side of the sofa. This ensures a continuous, beautifully clean and sculptural surface when the screen is extinguished.

The centrepiece of the cabin is the beautiful sofa. The best seat in the house, it is an exquisite, futuristic interpretation of modern furniture design. Clothed in the most opulent fabrics, it gives the impression of floating within the cocoon of the cabin thanks to the artful use of lighting and modern materials.

Inspired by the early regal Rolls-Royces, but also by the ground-breaking work executed on the 2015 Phantom Serenity, the designers used the symbol of ultimate elegance – silk – to clothe the sofa. This most natural and sensual of materials is combined with wool to create a beautifully textured, ivory-coloured luxurious throne upon which our passengers are conveyed, and from which they command.

A final sensual touchpoint within the cabin is the finest one-off deep-pile ivory wool carpet woven especially in London, which our passengers can enjoy as they luxuriate in the ample space created by the removal of the chauffeur.

This sense of space is accentuated as our passengers’ view from their seats is uninterrupted by a cockpit or steering wheel which are now superfluous. From their powerful position within the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players…”.

Should they choose to drop their eyes from that world stage for a moment and ask ‘Eleanor’ for visual cues, she will provide them on the transparent OLED screen that dominates the front wall of the cabin. Here our passengers can view information regarding their journey, their destination and the people they are expecting to meet. Or they may simply choose to retreat from the outside world and be entertained by their favourite show for a while.

Or they may just contemplate the finely crafted analogue clock that hovers in a central position above the screen, which serves both as a reminder of Sir Henry Royce’s humble beginnings as an electrical pioneer making electric dynamos, and of time as the ultimate luxury.

“Rolls-Royce design today is the epitome of elegance,” Taylor comments, “and this elegance is achieved through simplicity of design under which lies the technology that makes our patrons experience effortless.”

The Grand Arrival

Certain truths are constant over time. One of these truths is how the powerful have always understood the symbols through which they express their standing. From the lavish chariots of the Roman Emperors to the individually hand built state carriages and cars of Monarchy – such as the coachbuilt Rolls-Royce Phantom IV used during Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation – such fine vehicles have been designed to project the importance of the individual inside to those waiting outside.

Waiting with bated breath for a grand arrival, the crowds were never anything but impressed by the stately arrival of their idol. In the future, Rolls-Royce believes that its powerful patrons will wish to continue projecting their power and status in such a manner.

This truth is reflected in the most dramatic aspect of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 – its iconic, imposing and futuristic presence which ensures a Grand Arrival for its occupants. Yet whilst it powerfully expresses the future of luxury, it remains constant to the iconic tropes of any true Rolls-Royce: The Spirit of Ecstasy, the Pantheon grille, the long bonnet and the iconic proportions of the entire vehicle.

The very size of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 announces the importance of its precious cargo. At 5.9 metres long and 1.6 metres high, it mirrors the perfect dimensions of today’s Phantom Extended Wheelbase, whilst the ever constant Spirit of Ecstasy grows in stature, harking back to the regal Phantoms of the 1920s. Hand-crafted by the finest European glassmakers of today, she lights the way to the future of luxury. She is poised atop the re-imagined, yet still iconic, Pantheon grille with the red Double-R badge of an experimental Rolls-Royce.

From these timeless icons of Rolls-Royce design flow the graceful, sweeping lines and expressive surfaces that combine to create a completely futuristic vision of a possible Rolls-Royce exterior.

The polished metal of the grille flows up over the nose, around the base of the Spirit of Ecstasy and along the top of the suspended laser-headlight hoops, before narrowing to shoot down the side of the vehicle’s long bonnet, as a dividing line between upper and lower sections of the car. Not stopping at the extremes of the bonnet, this beautiful metal feature creates a beautiful ‘horseshoe’ as it flows along the top edge of the coach door, describes a parabola up and over the pronounced rear shoulder, encircling the rear of the glass canopy and back down the other flank.

This dividing line accentuates the car’s two-tone design scheme. The upper section is entirely comprised of dark glass. It flows fluidly as a daring fastback, creating a glass canopy over the occupants that provides privacy whilst allowing them to contemplate the majesty of the stars in the firmament above as they glide through the night; a window on the world ahead before resolving itself into the bonnet of the car.

The lower section is more dramatic in its design and in what it achieves. Draped in a silk-like ‘Crystal Water’ colour scheme, its surfacing achieves a lightness that belies the vehicle’s size. This is automotive ‘Haute Couture’. From whatever angle the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 is viewed, it seems to float, whether at rest or in motion.

This lightness is achieved through the paring back of this vehicle to the essence of a Rolls-Royce by the Design team, who were freed from their current constraints by the new propulsion and coach-build technologies now available to them. So, for example, where an engine would once have occupied the entire under-bonnet area of the car, a luggage compartment is positioned just aft of the front wheels.

In conceiving this bold vision of the future of luxury, the designers remain steadfast in their commitment to imbuing every element of the Rolls-Royce experience with effortlessness. The luggage compartment therefore opens automatically following arrival and disembarkation, presenting two Grand Tourer cases. In the case of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100, the cases are fittingly personalised to CS Rolls and FH Royce.

The newly liberated Pantheon grille is now the unencumbered prow of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100. It is the front of a fully enclosed and smooth-bottomed hull that echoes the form language of 1920’s Rolls-Royces, with its ‘boat-tail’, and within which the entire accommodation area is located.

Constructed from light yet incredibly strong materials, the hull ‘floats’ above the road surface as it is suspended from the vehicle’s wheels via exposed arms and struts.

The 28-inch tall but narrow wheels upon which the car glides are each hand-built from 65 individual pieces of aluminium, and enclosed to deliver the impression of a futuristic catamaran.

Seen from the side, the coachwork delivers hallmark Rolls-Royce privacy to the occupants as it rises gracefully like a fine cloak over the shoulders at the rear of the car. However, this fine drapery flatters to deceive as this rear shoulder line also imparts an air of powerful but graceful forward motion, accentuated by the rising beltline that thrusts upwards in a manner reminiscent of the great pre-war Rolls-Royces.

Whilst this radical new design language also contributes to an effortless, unruffled journey thanks to improved air flow and reduced air resistance, its unquestioned drama delivers a grand arrival.

Rolls-Royce and the art of the Grand Arrival

In the era of the stately carriage, and even of the early coachbuilt limousine, one was guaranteed an arrival befitting one’s stature. As we have seen, the exterior design and adornment of such conveyances announced one’s importance, as did the luxurious appointment of the interior.

However, one other aspect of such vehicles contributed to their suitability for such occasions: their elevated position, suspended as they were on large wheels. Combined with the high ceiling typical of carriage or limousine, one could normally stand before stepping out in a graceful and dignified manner. Modern aerodynamic considerations meant that even modern limousines’ rooflines had to be lowered, thereby reducing headroom and requiring one to stoop slightly when alighting from one’s vehicle.

Unwilling to accept such stricture and compromise in the future, Giles Taylor and his team set to work to reinstate the Grand Arrival as it should be.

The Grand Arrival of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 is first signalled by the Spirit of Ecstasy and Pantheon grille illuminating to cast an ethereal, otherworldly glow from the front of the car. As this vision of the future gracefully sweeps up to its destination, the ethereal glow spreads from the trailing edge of the front wheel arch to the rear of the single coach door, signalling that something momentous is about to happen. As the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 gracefully comes to a halt, something magnificent occurs.

Hinged on the left of the vehicle, the glass canopy lifts to allow the occupant to stand whilst providing shelter from above and behind. Then, in one effortless movement, the single coach door sweeps open and a step emerges from below the running board. As a final flourish, a red light is projected, carpet-like, from the underside of the step as a welcome.

Thus, as in Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’, our guest is framed and ready to step gracefully into the limelight and greet their audience.

“The Grand Arrival gesture of the Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100 creates a stage for our important passengers as they arrive at their ultimate destination,” comments Taylor. “It is an expression of our intrinsic understanding of the possibilities for a true luxury brand and the desires of its customers.”

The Personal Vision, the Effortless Journey, the Grand Sanctuary and the Grand Arrival. Rolls-Royce’s vision of the next 100 years. Rolls-Royce VISION NEXT 100. A vision of the future of luxury.

Virtual Vision

Rolls-Royce has also harnessed the power of the virtual space to bring the experience of the Vision NEXT 100 closer to those unable to personally see the vehicle in London.

The Vision 360 CGI experience immerses the viewer in a journey from Goodwood, the Home of Rolls-Royce, through to vision of the future of luxury. Viewers can enjoy and explore the fine detail of Rolls-Royce 103EX, guided by the voice of the original Spirit of Ecstasy, Eleanor Thornton, on YouTube 360°.

Peking to Paris hits the Gobi

The 2016 Peking to Paris Motor Challenge is already hotting up, as the competition has started in earnest now the rally competitors have reached Mongolia’s Gobi Desert.

With 107 crews and cars making it to the Great Wall of China start line on Sunday 12th June and two days journeying through China, the first test took place after the border crossing into Mongolia.

After a night under canvas, competitors were treated to a trio of special tests that challenged both car and driver, with some cars coming off the worst, including three-time winner Gerry Crown and Matt Bryson in the Leyland P76 who suffered oil problems.

The early leaders in the Vintageant Category are New Zealander Brice Washington and his son Harry in the 1929 Chrysler 75 Roadster, while leading the Classic Category is Italians Giorgio Schon and Pierre Tonetti in the 1971 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super.
Some cars have already retired including the two American LaFrances, whilst others are undergoing repair to get them back on the road for the remaining 32 days.
ERA Rally Director Fred Gallagher, said: “There’s a reason the Peking to Paris is called the toughest motor challenge in the World. Not only is the terrain challenging but the days long and the pace relentless. It’s a hard journey to Paris but the feeling when crossing the finish line will be well worth it.”

Billed as the world’s toughest endurance rally for classic and vintage cars, the competitors will cover around 8,510 miles (13,695kilometres) and 11 countries before reaching Paris on Sunday 17th July at around 1pm.

Those who survive Mongolia will travel into Russia’s Altai Republic on Thursday 23rd June.
For more details including the full results and the latest updates, visit