What you see in the following photos is the (take a deep breath) Rolls-Royce Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow. The limited-edition series marks the end of production for the most powerful Rolls-Royce car in the marque's history. It will also be the last Rolls-Royce coupe to use a V12 internal combustion engine. Let’s take a look at this milestone for Rolls-Royce through some high-resolution images.
Buh bye, N74B66 V12 engine
Under the hood of every Rolls-Royce Wraith ever made, including this Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow, is a 6.6-litre, twin-turbocharged V12 motor. Codenamed the N74B66 (N=New Gen, 7=V12, 4=Turbocharged with variable valve-timing, B=Benzine/Petrol, 66=6600cc), this engine develops 624bhp of maximum power at 5,600rpm and 800Nm of peak torque from 1,500rpm to 5,500rpm.
The ‘Final V12 Coupe Collection’ badge is exclusive to the Wraith Black Arrow and points to the fact that this indeed is the final iteration of the Wraith.
Keeping with the ‘12’ theme, only 12 units of this limited-edition car will be made and all of them have been sold already.
Why the Black Arrow?
The front centre console has a dedicated space for a scale model. Carved from a single piece of aluminium and sitting in an illuminated glass case is the model of the Thunderbolt land speed record car. The brainchild of engineer, inventor, and racing driver, Captain George Edward Thomas Eyston, the Thunderbolt was a teardrop-shaped, polished aluminium race car that holds the record for the fastest time set by a V12 piston-powered engine.
Two 36.7-litre Rolls-Royce R V12 aero engines powered the car, and with the addition of supercharging, the combined powerplant had an output of 2,349bhp. On 16 September 1938, George Eyston drove this 7-tonne, eight-wheeled behemoth to a top speed of 357.497mph or 575.34kmph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in the USA.
As mentioned before, the Thunderbolt had a polished all-aluminium body, and that was creating problems with the optical speed recording equipment. Under the harsh desert-like sun, the equipment couldn’t differentiate the car from its bright surroundings. So, Eyston drew a black arrow with a bright yellow circle in middle, and thus the name Black Arrow.
The black and yellow theme can be seen both outside and inside the limited-edition Wraith, while the record speed figure is engraved below the Wraith signature timepiece.
Rolls-Royce designers have even incorporated the textures of the Bonneville Salt Flats into the new Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow. This has been achieved with the help of 320 layered pieces of open-pore black wood, each one laser cut and then placed onto the door pad panel for that unique look.
Rolls-Royce sets a record of its own
Commemorating a land speed record-setting car and its inventor, Rolls-Royce also set a record of its own while creating this limited-edition car. The starlight headliner is an optional lighting system offered on all Rolls-Royce cars for an extra cost, but for the Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow, the company has added a unique starlight design. A record-breaking 2,177 fibre-optic points have been shaped to form the night sky and constellations which Captain George may have seen at the Bonneville Salt Flats on the night he set the land speed record.
Gradient paint scheme
All units of this limited-edition Wraith will feature a gradient paint scheme, which transitions from ‘Celebration Silver’ colour at the front to ‘Black Diamond’ at the back. Some of the exterior highlights in bright yellow include inserts on the front grille and rings around the centre wheel caps.
Have we told you it is powered by a V12?
Owners of the Black Badge Wraith Black Arrow will have many features in the cabin to remind them of the V12 that sits under the long hood of the car. This includes a line drawing of the V12 motor on the dashboard. This has been achieved by etching the technical drawing onto a single sheet of black-coated aluminium.
While not a speed record-setting car by itself, the Rolls-Royce Wraith certainly added a whiff of sportiness to the company’s range of cars. With the addition of Black Badge editions, the Wraith brought in a younger audience to the brand. While the Black Arrow marks the end of powerful V12 engines for the brand, sporty luxury motoring is not going away anywhere.
Photos of Thunderbolt courtesy Bluebird Earth Concepts