Rolls-Royce shows love of sport with ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’ bespoke edition

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 22, 2015

It has long been known that when the rules start to stifle creativity, there will always be individuals that will have the vision to move everything forward. In Great Britain, this has resulted to the invention of two particular institutions.

This is the sport called rugby and the one-of-a-kind Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. In honor of the wonderful history of this game, the company’s Bespoke Design Studio located in Goodwood, England, has come out with the ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’ for the Rolls-Royce.

The ‘Wraith’ is the company’s way of celebrating England’s great love for the game. This expression of individuality served as the inspiration that resulted to the Rolls-Royce and rugby. Rolls-Royce has long been known to show the individual preference and lifestyle of the customers, especially those in the new generation.

However the design team at Bespoke took it one step further by using the rich and long history of this English sport to come up with a very unique car. History-wise, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars was founded by two great men, the Honourable Charles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce.

It was these two men who decided that it was time to change the rules on what a motor car should be and what it could do. This is the same thing that happened with rugby. William Webb Ellis, in 1823, established what would become the game of rugby.

Ellis disregarded what was then established as the accepted rules of football and instead carried the ball in his arms and then ran. This was done at the Rugby School in Warwickshire which was founded back in 1567. Serving as an inspiration, the action done by Ellis formed the basis of how rugby should be played.

Even today there is still a plaque that continues to remind people what Ellis did and this became part of the history of rugby.

According to James Crichton, who is the Regional Director for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Europe, what makes the Wraith unique is the emphasis that it puts on both individuality and vision particularly with the sport of rugby.

Crichton adds that this is seen in the Wraith as well as it shows the efforts of not just the engineers but of its craftspeople too. It is no wonder then why Rolls-Royce in Goodwood continues to produce one of the most individualized and best motor cars worldwide.

Exterior Design

The ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’ has many of its design features that are likely to be familiar with those who follow rugby. Some of the designs though have been built on the traditions of the Rugby School.

Its English White exterior color scheme for example pays respect to the white Rugby shirt that continues to be worn at the Warwickshire Rugby School and is even worn today by England’s rugby team. The second feature that will evoke memories is the red rose that has been part of English rugby as far back as 1871.

This feature was originally hand-finished as part of the shirt’s front. According to folklore, this rose had its origin from the Rugby School and then Queen Elizabeth I.

The school’s founder was granted permission by Queen Elizabeth I to have her emblem, which was a red rose, placed on the school crest.

As part of the company’s reputation for amazing hand-crafted customization, the Wraith has a shoulder-line that is highlighted by a deep green coachline with the red English rose motif. Completing the muscular exterior personality of the Wraith are the five alloy 21” twin-spoke wheels.

Interior Design

It goes without saying that the interior of the Wraith contains what could be said to be the most recognized symbol as it relates to English rugby. The headrests for example have the red rose embroidered to it and then a Hotspur Red continues with this theme to the dashboard accent panel and then the seat, and finally the door piping.

For the dashboard, Piano Black veneer was used with the English Rose delicately inlaid on the center of the panel. The color of the interior is in Seashell which is contrasted with a Navy Blue color. Furthermore the leather used by Rolls-Royce has been spread even beyond the Wraith’s exterior.

Using the same Hotspur Red and Seashell leather, there are balls that craftspeople have embroidered at Rolls-Royce’s Goodwood facility. There is a red rose on one part of the panel while the other panel has the brand’s motif.

In addition, the rugby balls are manufactured by the iconic Gilbert, the very same ones who made the first rugby ball that was carried by Ellis back in the year 1823. Truly, creating the Bespoke Rolls-Royce will always start with inspiration.

All of these are made possible by the Bespoke Design Studio located at Rolls-Royce’s headquarters in Goodwood. The Wraith shows a mix of drama, power, and style and was inspired by the wonderful history of rugby.

Press Release


When the established rules become a constraint to creativity, it takes individuals of vision to carry the game forward. It was this spirit of individuality that has inspired the creation of two Great British institutions – Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and the game of rugby. Celebrating the illustrious history of the latter, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is delighted to introduce the Rolls-Royce ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’, a unique creation from the company’s Bespoke Design Studio in Goodwood, England.

Usually tasked with reflecting the individual taste and lifestyle of a bold new generation of customer, Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke team has drawn inspiration from the rich history of the quintessentially English sport to create a unique car. The Rolls-Royce ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’ celebrates England’s fundamental attachment to the great game, through an expression of individuality in keeping with the pioneering inspiration behind the game of rugby and Rolls-Royce.

In a challenge to established automotive thinking at the time, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars was founded when The Honourable Charles Rolls and Sir Henry Royce re-wrote the rules for what the motor car should represent, and what the best car in the world should be able to do. In 1823, one young man blazed a similar trail in establishing the game of rugby – William Webb Ellis, “With a fine disregard for the rules of football as played in his time, first took the ball in his arms and ran with it.”

The rules of rugby were laid down shortly thereafter, inspired by Webb Ellis’ example. The scene of this exploit was Rugby School in Warwickshire, founded in 1567, where a plaque still stands today to tell Webb Ellis’ story and mark the point at which rugby’s history began.

‘Wraith – History of Rugby’

Many of the design features which run throughout the Rolls-Royce ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’ will be familiar to followers of English rugby, but have their foundation in the traditions of Rugby School. The exterior colour scheme of English White pays homage to the white rugby shirt worn at Rugby School, a tradition continued today by the England rugby team.

Another evocative feature of English rugby since 1871 is the red rose, originally hand-finished on the front of the white shirt. Folklore has it that the rose originates from Rugby School and Queen Elizabeth I, her red rose emblem placed with her permission on the school crest by its founder. Continuing Rolls-Royce’s reputation for hand-crafted personalisation, the Wraith’s signature shoulder-line is accentuated by a hand-applied coachline in deep green, featuring an English rose motif in red. 21” five twin-spoke alloy wheels complete the Wraith’s muscular exterior persona.

The most recognisable symbol of English rugby has been suitably crafted into the interior of the Rolls-Royce ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’. Each headrest features an embroidered red rose, with Hotspur Red continuing the theme onto the dashboard accent panel, seat and door piping. Piano Black veneer has been selected for the dashboard, the centre panel of which is delicately inlaid with the English rose. The main interior colour is Seashell contrasted with Navy Blue.

The use of Rolls-Royce leather has been extended beyond the interior of ‘Wraith – History of Rugby’. Gilbert, the iconic manufacturer of rugby balls – and the maker of the very same football first picked up by William Webb Ellis in 1823 – has produced a limited number of rugby balls to match this unique Wraith. Created using the same Seashell and Hotspur Red leather, each ball has been embroidered by the craftspeople at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, with the red rose on one panel and the Rolls-Royce motif on the other.

The journey of creating a highly Bespoke Rolls-Royce motor car begins with inspiration. Indeed, many Rolls-Royce customers choose to express a particular passion in the design of their motor cars. This is realised at the Bespoke Design Studio at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood. Here, the designers have drawn inspiration from the history of the game of rugby, creating a fitting tribute with the Wraith’s characteristic blend of power, style and drama.

James Crichton, Regional Director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Europe, commented, “This truly unique Wraith emphasises vision and individuality, inspired by the role it plays within a team. While the game of rugby may have been inspired by the act of one individual, it is one of the world’s most popular team sports. In a similar vein, this one car represents the efforts of the team of engineers and craftspeople working at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, producing the most individual motor cars in the world.”

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