The Rolls-Royce Wraith Eagle VIII Pays Tribute to Pivotal Point in Aviation History

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The newest Rolls-Royce ride is more than another swanky sedan: It’s a stunning tribute to the men who made the first-ever transatlantic flight.

The British marque’s Wraith Eagle VIII is named after the 20.3-liter, 350-horsepower Rolls V12s that powered a Vickers Vimy bomber nonstop across the Atlantic Ocean from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland in June of 1919.

On board were pilots Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Brown of the Royal Air Force. Their nighttime flight quickly turned into something of a perilous nightmare after the radio and navigation instruments failed. Only the biplane’s power plant and Brown’s extraordinary wayfinding abilities got the pair and the aircraft safely through 1,180 miles of frigid clouds to the Irish coast.

The exclusive Wraith’s design is chock-full of nods to Alcock and Brown’s heroic adventure. A two-tone Selby Grey and Gunmetal paint coat divided by a brass line adorns the exterior, while black grille vanes mimic the Eagle VIII engine cowling.

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Inside the brawny coupe’s doors is where Rolls’ attention to detail really shines. The body’s color scheme is reflected with more Selby Grey finishes, black leather and brass accents. A eucalyptus wood dashboard board is “vacuum metalized” with gold, silver, and copper inlays to depict an aerial view of moon-lit Earth.

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The focal point of the dash is a bespoke clock with an “iced” background finish—a reference to the Vickers Vimy’s frozen instrument panel.

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But the real star of the cabin is the painstakingly detailed headliner. Exactly 1,183 glowing fibers are arranged to reflect the same celestial configuration that guided Alcock and Brown on their historic flight a century ago. The flight path, cloud shapes and constellations are all embroidered in brass thread.

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A brass plaque inscribed with a quote from Sir Winston Churchill caps off the remarkable interior.

“I do not know what we should most admire – their audacity, determination, skill, science, their aeroplane, their Rolls-Royce engines – or their good fortune.”

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Just 50 examples of the Rolls-Royce Wraith Eagle VIII will be produced. Contact the storied automaker for more details on this magnificent vehicle.

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