New Rolls-Royce Droptail: coachbuilt V12 roadster unveiled at Monterey Car Week
The Droptail is Rolls-Royce’s latest coachbuilt commission – an open-top two seater limited to just four units
If a standard Rolls-Royce isn’t quite exclusive – or expensive – enough, the British firm’s Coachbuild department caters for the most extravagant customer requests by creating highly bespoke commissions in limited numbers. Coachbuild has already produced the Sweptail and the Boat Tail convertible, and its latest model has now been unveiled at Monterey Car Week: the Droptail.
Built as Rolls-Royce’s first modern-day roadster, the Droptail is clothed in a unique convertible body inspired by the firm’s pre-war two-seaters, underpinned by an aluminium, carbonfibre and steel monocoque developed specifically for the model. Just four will be built, each sharing the same fundamental design but with unique finishes and material choices throughout.
Traditional Rolls-Royce design cues remain, not least the polished Pantheon grille and monolithic silhouette, but the Droptail reinterprets these in a more purposeful two-door bodystyle. The body surfaces are cleaner and more defined than the brand’s series production cars, and while family resemblance to the Ghost and Phantom is clear at the front, the Droptail’s tapered rear end is largely unrecognisable with aero-optimised flying buttresses and a floating spoiler above the rear deck.
With its carbonfibre hard top roof in place the Droptail resembles a traditional two-door GT, and removing it reveals an intimate two-seat cabin with a largely bespoke dashboard and architecture. The cockpit is covered in leather and sculpted wood surfaces, which curve behind the seats to create a wrap-around effect inside – for a more minimalist look, the infotainment display and controls are shielded by wood panels when not in use.
While certain elements of the Droptail appear to link it to the discontinued Rolls-Royce Dawn (including its analogue dial pack and some cabin switchgear), it’s built on a new structure that incorporates bonded carbon rear sections. The rest of the construction is largely aluminium, with steel used for the front wing and door sections for extra strength.
Rolls-Royce’s familiar 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V12 lies under the bonnet, which has been tuned for a 30bhp power increase – presumably over the 563bhp application in the latest Ghost. Torque is rated at a mighty 620lb ft, which should endow the Droptail with the effortless feel befitting of a Rolls-Royce.
Given the astronomical costs of developing a unique platform, bodyshell and interior for just four units, we wouldn’t count against the Droptail being one of the most expensive new cars ever built – just as its Coachbuild predecessors were rumoured to be.