When Rolls-Royce Motorcars released their first bespoke family of vehicles they set out to define a new movement within the high-end luxury market. An extension of this, both bold and dynamic, Rolls-Royce Black Badge offers customers a more powerful and sportier base from which to create their personal expression, and Black Badge cars are often among the most customized versions you’ll see on the road. Ahead of the latest release, which the marque is announcing on 28 October (and which we’ll see in person), Rolls-Royce is turning to its heritage in order to continue redefining the future of auto-making, releasing an animation produced in collaboration with NFT creator and illustrator Mason London to set the coming tone.
While the nonconformity of the Black Badge cemented the range as Rolls-Royce’s alter ego, subversion has always been woven into the marque’s DNA, starting with its very founders: Sir Henry Royce and C S Rolls. Royce upended expectation and the parameters of social class, as he broke from his humble beginnings to become an engineering powerhouse who creates cars for the gentry. Rolls, on the other hand, was an aristocrat who didn’t dress like one—his consistently oil-stained ties garnered him the moniker, “Dirty Rolls.”
Rolls-Royce’s beginnings were founded in disrupting the status quo—and Black Badge takes this as its aim and pushes it one step further. The line seeks to counter the typical codes of luxury and inverts the notion of Rolls-Royce altogether. The idea began with a chance meeting. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös met with a client who had cloaked his Wraith in black chrome and darkened wheels—and he hadn’t been the only client to do so. Realizing that a pattern for darker, more technical design was emerging, Müller-Ötvös listened and innovated—and thus, Black Badge was born.
From the power innovations of 2016’s Wraith and Ghost to the seductiveness of Dawn and the pure expression in Cullinan, the Bespoke series breathed a fresh, new purpose into the marque. Its post-opulent aesthetic—one that prioritizes both restraint and discipline as well as bold and individual expression—acts as a response to an increasingly homogenized world.
Hero image and animations courtesy of Rolls-Royce/Mason London