Almost anything is possible at Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke division. Almost every customer request is realized, provided that money is not an issue. And that is almost always the case, after all, Rolls-Royce are not leasing cars. No, you want to show your personal taste and preferences. As with this vehicle: the Koa Phantom.
The basis for this is the new Phantom with a long wheelbase. It is named after the rare Koa wood from Hawaii, which is used in the interior. The client is a certain Jack Boyd Smith Jr., who already owns several new and old Rolls.
After three years of intensive collaboration with the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective, consisting of designers, engineers and craftsmen who are based in the Home of Rolls-Royce in England, Mr. Smith’s vision was realized. The Bespoke assignment reflects both his personality and his love and passion for unique classic cars. The unique creation joins his personal collection of more than 60 unique automobiles in The JBS Collection Museum.
The Koa Phantom is the first Rolls-Royce Phantom to be equipped with Koa wood, a rare species of tree that only grows in Hawaii. The inspiration comes from Mr. Smith and his wife Laura’s love for the warmth and character of koa wood after spending time in Maui, Hawaii.
His enduring association with the koa species is deeply rooted in his family as a koa wood rocking chair has been a centerpiece in their home for many years. Mr. Smith was determined to bring that warm, familiar atmosphere into the interior of his Rolls-Royce assignment.
When they started creating, Mr. Smith quickly learned that its non-negotiable design would give the artisans time to perfect their art. The unique koa tree only grows in Hawaii and is protected in Hawaiian state and national parks. Koa wood can only be harvested on private farm land, and due to the very specific growing conditions, it is really rare to find such unique wood from this extremely limited resource.
A wood specialist from Rolls-Royce described the find as “an opportunity under a million”. Some emerging brands are using more common koa woods, but Rolls-Royce only considered the best of this extraordinary type.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith waited patiently for their perfect veneer for three years while the Rolls-Royce wood specialist negotiated with a supplier over a treasured trunk from his own personal collection. This specimen has a unique, rarely seen depth of character, with a grain that looks like velvet.
The Koa phantom exterior shines a deep blue during the day, but remains hidden in the dark at night. The Bespoke ‘Packard Blue’ shade is color-coordinated with Mr. Smith’s 1934 Packard Twelve Coupe, a rare car in his personal collection. Making an exact match with an 80-year-old paint job was no small feat and even involved shipping parts from vintage cars to the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood.
After tests on more than 40 test panels, the formula was finally found to be a perfect match. An elegant, hand-painted body line in Dove Gray runs the entire length of the deep dark blue Phantom, matching the pinstripes in the center of the wheel. The driver’s door bears the personalized initials “JBS Jr” while the passenger door bears Mrs. Smith’s initials, “LAS”.
When the car doors are opened, a personalized running board reads: “Hand-built in Goodwood, England for Laura & Jack Boyd Smith, Jr.” Above the dashboard of the Phantom is the gallery – a continuous piece of glass behind which customers can commission unique works of art and design. For the Koa Phantom, the focus is on the wood itself, which is preserved and displayed in the heart of the car to showcase its natural beauty.
Koa wood also adorns the dove-gray leather interior, which is coordinated with the Packard Twelve and is set off by navy blue highlights and piping. Above, a handcrafted Bespoke starry sky, made up of 1,420 fiber optic lights on navy blue leather, depicts the constellation of the night sky over Cleveland, Ohio, on Mr. Smith’s date of birth.
The Rolls-Royce monogram on the headrests matches the exterior paintwork, while the rear compartment is adorned with a champagne refrigerator accompanied by a pair of crystal champagne flutes and a carafe engraved with the customer’s initials.
A handcrafted Koa wood picnic basket completes this unique assignment. Koa wood, saddle leather and stainless steel are meticulously processed in a process that takes more than 500 hours. The saddle leather lining and the inner leather are kept in Dove Gray, matching the interior of the unique Bespoke Phantom. Both the outside and inside of the stainless steel basket are provided with plaques that read: “Laura & Jack Boyd Smith, Jr.”
The basket contains handcrafted wine glasses and decanters from the Ajka crystal factory in Hungary, famous for its traditional techniques. The stainless steel cutlery is handmade in England. The 12-piece set is made to the highest standards by skilled artisans using traditional polishing and grinding techniques – a tribute to Britain’s steel heritage. Wedgwood porcelain plates complete the laundry basket.