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Rolls-Royce makes music with pop icon collaborators

March 29, 2017

Rolls-Royce's auto homage to The Who's album "Tommy"


British automaker Rolls-Royce is inviting music legends to take advantage of its bespoke capabilities for a good cause.

The brand commissioned collaborators such as The Who’s Roger Daltrey and The Kink’s Sir Ray Davies to put their own spin on Wraiths, with the resulting vehicles being sold to fundraise for charities. The first four cars in a series of nine Wraith “Inspired by British Music” vehicles were unveiled on March 29 at the Sanderson Hotel in London.

Recording legacies
Rolls-Royce’s charitable effort was inspired by portrait photographer Alistair Morrison, who shared an idea he had while visiting the automaker’s Goodwood, England headquarters, during which he viewed the Wraith Inspired by Music. Having photographed many of music’s greats hailing from Britain, Mr. Morrison thought they would make ideal collaborators for the bespoke vehicles (see story).

Each of the vehicles created shares a Union Jack motif on its C-pillars, making a statement about the impact the artists have made on British culture.

Mr. Daltrey, known as the frontman for The Who, was the first partner announced in this series. The artist was inspired to create two vehicles rather than one, and his commissions to benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust were among the first to debut.

Roger Daltrey with Rolls-Royce's team

One of these cars features lyrics to songs from The Who on the carriage, with headrests featuring the musician’s signature embroidered on the front and a depiction of the band’s habit of destroying instruments as their shows wrapped on the back.

A second vehicle created for Mr. Daltrey was created in collaboration with Mike McInnerney, the artist who created the album art for The Who’s album “Tommy,” with the cover art featured on the bonnet and elements of the design appearing throughout.

Sir Ray pulled lyrics from some of The Kinks’ songs to feature in his design. Rolls-Royce digitized the artist’s handwriting and engraved the words on the door-flights in his hand.

Giles Martin, son of the late record producer and songwriter Sir George Martin, looks at his lifetime achievements, including his work with The Beatles. These include the names of his 30 number one hits embroidered in the rear cabin.

Creation of the Rolls-Royce vehicle for Sir George Martin

The Fly Navy Heritage Trust, a treasured cause of Sir George, will benefit from the sale of the car.

Other collaborators, revealed on March 29, including Dame Shirley Bassey, Status Quo’s Francis Rossi and Ronnie Wood.

These vehicles will all be sold later in 2017, with a portion of proceeds benefiting charitable causes.

“The enduring allure of Rolls-Royce has been encouraged over the years by some of the world’s most famous and important music icons,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “So many have turned to Rolls-Royce to celebrate their success with the ultimate display of originality and creativity.

“This collaboration – with some of Britain’s most celebrated musicians – promises to add to this legacy, creating truly unique collectors’ items which also support worthy charities.”