On Rolls’ Latest Announcement

Typically, when an OEM is going to come out with a brand new model, the drill is for someone at the company to hold a press conference or simply send out a press release stating that fact.

Typically, when an OEM is going to come out with a brand new model, the drill is for someone at the company to hold a press conference or simply send out a press release stating that fact.

Oh so déclassé, it seems.

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Phantom Metropolitan Collection

Why not send out letters, some of which are hand-delivered by chauffeurs in limos?

Why not, indeed?

That is what Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Limited did last week, with an “open letter” announcing a new vehicle.

The letter, signed by both Peter Schwarzenbauer, chairman, and Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, chief executive, described what they’ll be coming out with as:

• A car that offers the luxury of a Rolls-Royce in a vehicle that can cross any terrain

• A car that meets our customers’ highly mobile, contemporary lifestyle expectations

• A Rolls-Royce that is as much about the pioneering, adventurous spirit of Charles Rolls as it is about Sir Henry Royce’s dedication to engineering and innovation

• A car that appropriately reflects Rolls-Royce’s brand promise of effortless luxury

• A high-bodied car, with an all-new aluminium architecture

• A unique new motor car worthy of carrying the Spirit of Ecstasy into the future

(Yes, that’s aluminium, as in aluminum. Yes, the Spirit of Ecstasy is a hood ornament, which isn’t typically associated with crossing any terrain that isn’t, well, smooth.)

Of course, they’re talking about some sort of SUV. Bentley is going to have one. Range Rover is one. Soon it will be impossible to name a company that doesn’t have one.

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Bentley Bentayga

While people today don’t associate Rolls with robust and ruddy driving, to assure that they had off-road cred, the company did create press information that included photography like this, which was not taken last week on Boylston Avenue in Boston but on the Pordoi Pass in the Alps in June 1913 (presumably Bostonians are hoping that they still won’t be shoveling come June).

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June.  Snow.  A Rolls

It is interesting to note that Charles Stewart Rolls (yes, as in, well, Rolls) was an adventurer, a racing driver, balloonist, and pilot. He was the second person in the U.K. to have a pilot’s license.

Rolls died at age 32, having been thrown from a Wright Flyer (yes, as in the Brothers).

That was back in 1910.

Does off-road credibility and daring-do last for more than a century?