Exploration was the main theme of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The discovery of mountains, ancient human establishments, animal species and limits to human capacity marked an era where daring individuals furthered global knowledge. One such individual was Captain George Eyston, British engineer and inventor.
Born in 1897, George Eyston is a British hero who deepened the understanding of aerodynamics and set several world-records, the most notably of which has to be the impressive 357 miles per hour land-speed record. Now a mostly forgotten hero, Rolls-Royce pays homage to Eyston with the Landspeed collection, comprising a total of 60 units: 25 for its Dawn model, and 35 for the Wraith model, all of which have already been allocated to customers.
Rolls-Royce is an integral part of the Eyston mythos, with two Rolls-Royce R V12 aero engines powering the iconic Thunderbird model which the captain used on the Utah Salt Flats to break the limits of human imagination. Now, the Landspeed line takes elements from the entire anecdote and uses them to embellish an instant icon. The Collection Car duo marries Black Diamond Metallic and a bespoke colour made exclusively for the line, inspired by the place where Eyston achieved his feats: Bonneville Blue. This outstanding hue transitions from light blue to silver in a similar manner as the Salt Flats themselves, with clear skies above and expansive reflective surfaces on the ground.
“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. Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
A perforated dark detail decorates the upper steering wheel and is replicated through the driver seat, akin to the black guiding lines painted on the Salt Flats surface to help guide and measure Eyston’s trip. The application of this detail to the driver seat enhances Rolls-Royce driver-focused approach to design with elegance.
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The Bonneville Salt Flats themselves may appear smooth and pristine, but actually feature tiny fissures in a very distinct pattern. This texture has been recovered and replicated on the fascia and console lids, accompanied with further details such as the Thunderbolt’s silhouette and its record speeds etched on the front tunnel. On the backseat, the outline of the Silver Island mountains, which served as the backdrop for Eston’s accomplishments, are masterfully engraved. The dashboard clock’s housing space is also engraved with the record speed and the “Bonneville” name.
The clock itself takes inspiration from an ingenious solution Eyston came up with for an unforeseen problem: the reflective surface of the Thunderbolt made it impossible for the measuring devices to accurately track the speed at the finishing line. The answer was simple: Captain Eyston painted a yellow circle and a black arrow on the vehicle’s surface, and this motif inspired the clock, as well as the two-tone yellow and black bumper inserts.
Now, the Utah Salt Flats are a spot favoured by astronomers who find clear skies and unpolluted stars most of the time. As a tribute to this magnificent natural wonder, the Starlight Headliner of the Wraith model features 2117 individually placed fibre-optic stars that recreate the constellations visible on the Flats on September 16th, 1938, when Eyston broke his final record.
Condecorated with the Military Cross, the Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur, and the Order of the British Empire, Eyston was a notable figure for all his accomplishments. These remarkable awards are homaged on a subtle detail on the driver’s door, which replicates the colours and texture of the original medal ribbons.
A long overdue tribute to a truly inspiring character, the Landspeed collection is an outstanding demonstration of design and elegance on behalf of Rolls-Royce. A quality that can only come from the marque’s Goodwood manufacturing centre prevails through each of the models in an ode to Captain George Eyston’s unparalleled genius.