Monday, September 2, 2013

Rolls-Royce Wraith for 2014

Rolls-Royce is reviving the Wraith name for a new "fastback" coupe design.

Whereas I recognize that Rolls styling had to finally abandon much of its traditional look to keep pace with 21st century technology and the need for improved aerodynamic efficiency, I find the latest designs hard to like.  Proportions of their lower bodies strike me as being too similar to that of a common brick.  I suppose management and stylists were trying to create a car that was as imposing as its price, but otherwise the design makes little aesthetic sense.  Besides, classic custom Rolls-Royces from the 1930s were often graceful designs.

As for the new Wraith, I'll withhold some judgment until I actually see one.  Trouble is, they are sure to be rare.  Perhaps one will turn up next Spring when I'll be in the ritzy Palm Springs part of California for a few weeks.  My preliminary reaction to Wraith photos is below.

Rolls-Royce Wraith - 2014
Three publicity photos of the new Rolls Wraith.  The side view suggests that the fastback might be too heavy-looking.  But the other views contradict that impression to some extent.  The fastback probably counteracts the brick-like appearance of the Rolls body, whereas a bustle-back coupe would have tended to reinforce the heaviness.

Comparison: 1948 Cadillac 61 fastback
This image I found on the Web shows a fastback design on a high-priced car from 66 model years earlier.   The wire wheels were not stock items, obviously added at least a few years later than 1948.   The exhaust pipe extension isn't an original item either.  Regardless, this Cadillac shows how fastbacks were designed when the style was at, or perhaps a little beyond, its initial heyday.  I prefer its styling to that of the Wraith because it's lighter, more graceful.

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