Home Vehicles Automobiles Chasing shadows: The Rolls Royce Wraith

Chasing shadows: The Rolls Royce Wraith

He was not afraid to be a gentleman, because a gentleman is a patient wolf. Some called him demanding, others difficult and temperamental but he knew that there is no grey area when it comes to doing things the right way or the wrong way. It takes a certain character, a certain self-assuredness to hold oneself up to the highest possible standard, and live up to that standard every, single day. A character such as this will never accept nearly, or almost – only perfection in every facet would suffice. His was a life of absolutes and the etiquette that governed him would not shift or waver for anyone or anything, wherever he was, whatever he was doing. In his life, the biggest sin was mediocrity.
Illustrations by : Damiano Groppi 

When power in all its glorious folds and shapes surges forth like some unbridled wildling – unleashed by a simple flex of knee, there is nothing more mesmeric. He gently squeezed his foot down onto the accelerator and the trademark waft of the Wraith was unceremoniously and cacophonously interrupted by overtures of deep, honeyed rumbles. The sudden perception of speed was upon him in a blur of dust and dunes alluding to the car’s glorious pedigree and a brand’s sporting legacy – a legacy too long left dormant. He could almost count the six hundred and twenty four weaponised horses were at his instant disposal, supplied by the sumptuously potent 6.6 litre V12 twin-turbo engine. Aware that should the mood strike under the darkling sky, this monument to grace and speed would snap to 100 km/h from a standing start in 4.6 seconds, he raced onward. Unmatched in approach, unparalleled in ferocity, the sight of a Wraith on the charge is a fine thing indeed – the gentleman’s Gran Turismo.


Owning a Rolls-Royce – a piece of engineering of such innate quality, detail and spirit, it was hard for him to imagine a more deliberate statement of taste. In spite of all he had achieved, he felt truly lucky to possess the keys to such a vehicle. The whisper of the engine start effortlessly points to a classicism and élan that is virtually unparalleled anywhere in the world, let alone in the automotive sphere and he knew he wanted no other. He knew that having a Rolls-Royce was about more than simple possession – it requires not only the understanding of joie-de-vivre, but the desire to revel in life’s ultimate pleasures, something he keenly pursued at every opportunity. From the pleasure the drive gave him, to the comfort of the beautifully crafted cabin with supple leather monogrammed in his initials, to the celestial brilliance of the starlight headliner fashioned to recreate the constellations stars as the night he was born, he knew that owning this car was an assault on the concept of mediocrity.


The stakes were high and the night was young. Our man leaned into the table eager to observe his opponents every twitch tick and breath. The river had been kind but the betting was not certain. He had checked his way past two opponents who had folded early. There were three left at the table. He looked up across the illuminated sea of green felt, the dealer giving no hint or quarter. There are no tells to be found behind the sunglasses and peaked hats at the table – he was on his own and his gut is his guide. He was the master of his own fate. The small breath to steady his hand went entirely unnoticed and he made his move. With no prior hint of his intension he slid his chips across the table. He was all in.

“Accept nothing nearly right or good enough”

                      Sir Henry Royce


The city he remembered was long past recognition. As he grew, so did his city. It grew up and sprawled out with vine like vigour, but as it moved forward it had begun to change. The sand coloured walls that once shaped his world, walls bleached by sun and hardened by time had been swallowed up by this miraculous age of progress. Where once a humble skyline stood now shimmering ode’s to progress stretch upward and the once quiet streets rumble as the city takes its morning breath. But despite the power of its future drawing it onward, the connection to the past is what anchored him, and in small enclaves the traditions hold on, stronger and more appreciated than ever.  Without the past, there can be no future – a lesson he knew should never be forgotten.


His favourite place was that small unassuming street in London’s West End – Savile Row, the place he always visited to sate his sartorial cravings. To him, the beauty of bespoke suit was that it was made to meet every desire and whim and shaped to match his every curve and line – comfort and style encapsulated in all their splendid glory creating a single finely crafted sartorial statement of intent. The allegory between Savile Row and Goodwood was not lost on him. He peered through the window to check on his beloved fastback like the owner of an obedient pet. Even sitting stationary in the street it had begun to garner the wanton stares of both the envious and appreciative. At the Goodwood estate where his Wraith was crafted, the designers and artisans worked hand in hand with him to make his automotive dreams real – from coachline to marquetry, from leather to paint. His choice from the myriad of options meant he felt certain he could call his Wraith uniquely his.


From the moment he clapped eyes on it, he knew he wanted it. With its low slung, rude and rakish silhouette headlights gleaming, spirit shining it was all he ever dreamed of – but times in the 1940s were tough and roads to drive the exquisite Wraith were scarce.  How times have changed.  His grandson now owns one – but not the one that haunted his own dreams. No this is a modern car with all the modern accoutrements, technologies and whistles one expects.  While it is a very different vehicle, he couldn’t help but note its worthiness of the Wraith name when parked next to his own prized classic – the one he spent a decades desiring and a lifetime cherishing. Vintage or new, Wraiths have the power to captivate the senses and linger in the mind.