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For Rolls-Royce, Bespoke is big bucks
THE latest Rolls-Royce is also arguably the greatest.
Local distributor Eurokars launched the Cullinan Black Badge in Singapore at a closed-door event on Jan 14, and in so doing unleashed the venerated brand's most powerful car here.
It has 600 horsepower (37 more than a regular Cullinan) and the brakes, suspension, steering and transmission have all been tweaked to cope.
The Black Badge package also includes a number of cosmetic upgrades, such as a dark metallic finish for body trim instead of chrome, interior parts made of carbon fibre, bright red brake calipers - a first for Rolls - and sporty 22-inch wheels.
With a starting price of S$1,418,888 without options or certificate of entitlement, the Black Badge costs S$150,000 more than a standard Cullinan.
But that's chump change by Rolls-Royce standards. A source from Eurokars says Cullinan customers typically spend around S$500,000 on options.
The BMW-owned carmaker says nearly every one of the 5,152 cars it sold last year was tailored by the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective, a team of engineers, designers and craftspeople who work on tailoring cars to clients' tastes.
Requests from customers can border on the bizarre. Rolls-Royce already offers 44,000 different colours, but one customer wanted the company to match a vibrant orange shawl that caught his eye in south Florida. The Bespoke team examined the shawl and then worked for nearly a year to come up with a seven-layer surface paint job that was polished by hand for hours.
When a flower-loving entrepreneur wanted a car with what Rolls describes as "floral decadence", designers took inspiration from a rose bred exclusively for the brand. It came up with a floral design for the car's headliner that needed one million stitches.
For one outer space-themed car, the Bespoke department took shavings from a meteorite that fell to Sweden in 1906 and embedded them in the volume controller. When it comes to customising a Rolls, not even the sky is the limit.