Rolls Royce has many esteemed clients, plenty are repeat owners and all relish the opportunity to personalize their vehicle to almost any specification they can imagine; but none quite like luxury entrepreneur Stephen Hung, joint Chairman of The 13 Holdings Limited.
Mr. Hung is responsible for Rolls Royce’s largest single commission in the company’s 106-year history: thirty highly bespoke Phantoms in total, all destined for the world’s most anticipated hotel: The 13. These Phantoms will be reserved for the hotels most important guests, transporting them from the hustle and bustle of Macau, to the unparalleled luxury of this iconic hotel.
Of the thirty commissioned Phantoms, there are two that are of particular interest: two gold-infused creations destined to be the flagship vehicles of the fleet, with no expense spared; they are the most expensive Phantoms ever built. The pair features applications of 24-carat gold both inside and out, even requiring The Surface Finish Centre at Rolls Royce Global Centre of Excellence to implement new and specialized equipment to ensure no contamination occurs during the paint process. Why go to such extremes you ask? Well, Mr. Hung’s insisted that the paint be enhanced with a very specific touch: 23.75-carat gold particles (a weight selected for even disbursement and a perfectly flawless finish). Using 250% more paint than any other Phantom, the pair are dressed in an astounding ten layers of paint, one of them being a 40-micron deep layer of gold; this is combined with fine aluminium and glass particles for an attention-grabbing shimmer.
These two vehicles are undeniably the most meticulously finished Rolls Royces ever produced; a challenge that the marque’s craftsmen thrive upon as they provide unparalleled attention to detail and uncompromising quality. Did we mention they were expensive?
Rolls-Royce Material Scientist, Nick Geehan, commented, “Only at the Home of Rolls-Royce would a team embark on such an ambitious project on behalf of one of our patrons. We accept nothing but perfection – the finish took eight attempts to mix the perfect colour; an apt number when considering the significance of lucky number eight in Macau, the home for these precious Phantoms.”
Carrying on the gold theme is an uplit 24-carat gold plated Spirit of Ecstasy mascot sitting atop a gold Pantheon Grille, accompanied by the distinguished Rolls Royce badge which received a special treatment of its own. The badge is made from 97.1gms of 18-carat gold, and was then plated in 24-carat gold to tie it to the consistently luxurious colour scheme. The signature “RR” emblem within the badge has 336 pavé set brilliant-cut diamonds surrounding it, with the lettering formed using vitreous enamel. The exterior touches are tied together with a hand painted twin-coachline, flawlessly stroked using a squirrel-hair paintbrush at the hands of Rolls Royce’s expert coachline painter Mark Court.
Of course no Rolls Royce would be complete without the popular door-dwelling umbrellas; perfectly positioned within the framework of the door and easily accessible to guard its passengers from unexpected weather or prying paparazzi. Even the umbrellas on Mr. Hung’s prized pair of Phantoms have received gold handles and trim, along with a gold tread-plate along the door sill, proudly sporting an engraved message: “PHANTOM specially commissioned by Stephen Hung”, assuring hotel guests that they are in the best of company and care.
“A Rolls-Royce motor car is commissioned to express the tastes, desires and lifestyle of its patron. It is testament to the skill of the artisans that so elegantly express their craft at our Global Centre of Excellence in Goodwood, that this bold and technically challenging design scheme has been executed so perfectly.” Says Giles Taylor, Director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
A subtle yet significant homage has been paid to The 13 Hotel’s origin, with the starlight headliner depicting the exact constellation formation that graced the skies over Macau on the evening of the hotels ground-breaking. The outline of the constellation is highlighted using gold thread that has been handwoven into the constellation, while the date and location have been engraved on a, yes…you guessed it, gold plaque. A simple method of underlining The 13’s position as the centre of exclusivity in Macau for the world’s elite as they travel in sumptuous luxury.
The final touch to these Phantoms’ bespoke commissions is the upholstery: giving passengers a taste of the hotel’s grand entrance from the comfort of these extended wheel-base beauties. A black and white seat feature is reminiscent of the hotel’s grand foyer, which features a checkered floor. The expert skills of Rolls Royce artisans were tested as their knowledge of saddlery was utilized for covering the seats in large-scale hand woven black and white leather panels, which create a three-dimensional effect within the car’s interior. The edging on all the seats is made using a specially-created gold pearl-effect leather, yet another nod to the vehicle, and indeed the hotel’s caliber.
Finally, as with every Rolls Royce, the cockpit is sprinkled with opulent touches such as the beautifully-treated dials and clock face, echoing the ongoing red-and-gold theme. The timepiece mounted daintily within the dashboard was designed in collaboration with master jeweler: Graff.
Mr. Hung’s fleet of Phantoms will be a sight to behold as they stand sentinel outside Macau’s newest and most prestigious hotel, ready to transport esteemed guests on the slightest whim.