Aspire Magazine 1 - Page 32

H AU TE FAC TO R IF YOU TOUR THE ROLLS-ROYCE FACTORY IN GOODWOOD, ENGLAND, DAWN PATROL The all-new 2017 Rolls-Royce Dawn is the third convertible Rolls has made in half a century. Via a test drive in Scotland, auto expert Michael Frank discovers why auto collectors are clamoring for this bespoke design. you’ll quickly spy the Dawn rolling off the assembly line. No ordinary industrial site, here there are no robots and it’s often incredibly quiet. Standing near artisans as they handcraft marquetry surfaces is akin to hovering over Swiss watchmakers totally absorbed in their meticulous work. Many Rolls-Royce cars feature custom silver and gold trim for which the company will bring in smiths who specialize in the materials. If a client wants something in platinum (or if you want customization of almost any kind), Rolls-Royce will scour the globe to find the top person for the job. And the company already employs some of the most skilled craftspeople in wood, leather, silk, metal, and more pedestrian automotive arts. These cars are unlike anything else on the road. A single dashboard may take months to veneer. At the factory you can see marquetry samples of astonishing quality, ranging from a nearly photographically clear rendering of the Empire State Building, made as a bespoke touch for a customer’s car, to the face of a wolf for a glove box panel—so multidimensional, it seems as if it may leap from the wood grain itself. Rolls-Royce is known for using silks and hides (ostrich, alligator, crocodile, and sheepskin are popular), as well as precious stones and metals. But they’ll also go high-tech, hand-threading fiberoptic cables to emit “starlight” within a cabin. And the Dawn is exceptionally quiet inside. Convertibles, especially ones with cloth roofs, tend not to be. CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Customized silver and gold trim are handcrafted by special Rolls-Royce artisans; a single dashboard may take months to veneer; top-of-the-line leather interiors are accented with rare woods. When the Dawn’s six-layer top is closed it’s as if riding in a metal-roof sedan, and the interior is as silent as the cockpit of the hardtop Rolls-Royce Wraith. Beyond the extra-thick glass windshield is a twin-turbocharged, V-12 engine with 563 horsepower. But unless you floor it, you’ll barely notice. That can be a hazard—the Dawn is capable of going very quickly and with great confidence, and at 100 mph the 5,750-pound four-seater flows like a catamaran across glass-smooth water. We experienced this in Scotland, where the macadam is as imperfect as warted North Jersey two-laners. Park yourself in the backseat of the Rolls-Royce Dawn and something else is of note: privacy. The cloth top was crafted to wrap around the rear seat passengers, a shield from prying eyes. Yet there remains easy peripheral vision for any driver, in part because the Dawn sits a bit higher on the road than a traditional sedan. The Dawn is private. It’s fast. And it’s also quiet. Until you want to listen to music and have your mind blown. The 16-speaker system is astonishing, designed not only to be loud, but also so clear and three-dimensional it’s actually haunting. Listen to a song you think you know and hear nuances in voice—and the soundstage—you’d never noticed before. It’s a hypnotic re-wiring of your sonic expectations, and as with everything else about the Dawn, peerless. Yet while the $335,000 Dawn is the freshest face of the brand, Rolls-Royce )݅́Ѽȁͽѡɔᕵ)ԁѡeѡЁ䁝)ѥեȁ)́ѡɅ݅́ѡɱЁѡ(̸䁍ɕѥѽѕɥ)ѡЁЁ̸%ɑ)Ѽ́ɕձѥ́ȁ䁡ٔѼ)եЁݥQٕͥݽձٔ)ѼɅ͠ѕѕɐ]ݽձ)QѽȸI̵I協ᕍѥٕ)ٔ́́ݽձͼ䰁ͥ)ݡӊéɔ፱ͥٔѡI̵I協)I̵I協=)͕ɥ́ᅍѱ䁽()Ѐѡ԰չȵ͕ѕȁ́хɅ)ɽ̵́͵Ѡ݅ѕȸ(I=]II%=H(()%MMU=9MA%I()=H5=I%9=I5Q%=8