TodayApril 16, 2022

Rolls-Royce: The making of the ghost

The hands of Goodwood

People who see a Rolls-Royce on the road stop and look. Traffic practically stopped when we were picked up at the airport in a Rolls-Royce. When someone wants to compare their product to the best they say, “it is the Rolls-Royce of…”

Rolls-Royce has brought back an iconic name from the past. The Silver Ghost was known as one of the best cars in the world. Rolls must have been very sure of this vehicle to make such a bold move.

BMW’s Rolls-Royce has smartly used the engineering and technology of their parent company. Rolls put us, and the cars, through the paces with different maneuvers. The Ghost rides on an intelligent four-corner air suspension system using multi-link aluminum front and rear axles.

Whether we were swerving side to side, going over rough terrain, or hugging an apex at 60 mph, the Ghost had us floating. The Ghost is a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 4-5-passenger, 4-door sedan. The car may weigh almost 5,500 pounds, but this Ghost dances on clouds.

The Ghost is powered by a brand new 6.6 liter twin-turbocharged and inter-cooled DOHC 48-valve charged V-12 engine unique to Rolls-Royce. This engine will produce 563 horsepower @ 5250 rpm and torque of 575 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm, delivering a 0-60 mph time of 4.7 seconds and a governed top speed of 155 mph. The engine is combined with an 8-speed automatic ZF gearbox, giving it
a better fuel economy at 12 city/19 highway miles per gallon.

When you go to Goodwood, you understand why the Rolls-Royce vehicle has a status unparalleled. It is an understatement to say these cars are handmade. These cars are created by artisans, by hand. They are the hands of Goodwood.

The Rolls-Royce Humidor

Humidors are used to keep cigars fresh so that the tobacco leaf feels supple against your lips when you toke on it. Wood needs to stay supple, to be pliable, explains Daniel, “the room stays at 80 percent humidity and 25 degrees (77 degrees Fahrenheit).” The wood is cut .5 millimeters or .019th of an inch. It doesn’t feel like wood, more like soft cotton. “We need it to be pliable because we bend it to fit the car form, and we have some unique shapes.”


“When I see a Rolls-Royce I look to see if it was one of the cars I painted,” Claudia Maier says sheepishly, her young translucent skin turning pink as she acknowledges this tiny hint of pride. Maier is one of four women in the wood department.

Her job is a highly specialized art for all to see. Maier’s job is to fill in the minute cracks in the sidearm on the car door. Most people place their arms on the door without thinking about it. But in the Roll-Royce the driver’s sidearm is a piece of real wood that matches the sidearm on the passenger door, that matches the rest of the wood in the car.

Rolls-Royce Pinstripe
Rolls-Royce Pinstripe

When you go to Goodwood you understand why the Rolls-Royce vehicle has a status unparalleled. It is an understatement to say these cars are handmade. These cars are created by artisans, by hand. They are the hands of Goodwood.

The Rolls-Royce pin-stripe, or coachline

Mark Court is the only person that can paint the pinstripe on a Rolls-Royce. Court says the hardest part about painting the pinstripe was getting over the fact that the car is “6 meters long and costs over 250,000 Euros ($360,000).”

The Infinity dashboard

An infinity-edge pool gives the illusion of extending beyond the horizon. You see these pools in upscale exotic resorts and exclusive estates. The dashboard in the Ghost shows no seams, no stitching. The stitching is the first time this process has been used at Rolls-Royce. You will also find no stitching on the steering wheel, a first for Rolls.

Emily, The Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy

The last loving touches taken before the car is delivered are the umbrella inside of the door, and the Rolls-Royce emblem placed on the front fascia.

The Whisperer, the Silver Lady, the Flying Lady, the spirit of Ecstasy, or Emily. All of these names have been attributed to the mascot that sits on the radiator of the Rolls-Royce today. The small statue of a young woman, robes flying in the air, forefinger on her lips, is as well-known as the Rolls-Royce itself.

The Silver Ghost is the first luxury sedan the Spirit of Ecstasy graced.

Art is forever

You can buy a limited edition piece of art, for a starting price of $245,000, from the hands of Goodwood dealerships, commonly known as a Rolls-Royce dealership.

From their hands to yours.

Rolls-Royce emblem
Rolls-Royce emblem
Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.