Good Oil: Dash it all — I shall have my art
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When you think about it, probably no two Rolls-Royce Phantoms are entirely the same, even after mass-manufacturing maestro BMW took on the brand 14 years ago.
The all-new Phantom made its debut last week and — shock, horror — features plenty of sumptuous detailing not even
a high-end apartment would be able to boast.
It’s a bit of a show-off’s car, this. But then, no one in history has uttered the phrase “crikey, I barely even noticed that Rolls-Royce Phantom back there!”
The new flagship Roller is the first to be built on an all-new aluminium platform unique to the heritage brand (as opposed to the stretched-out 7-Series underbody on which the previous seventh generation Phantom sat).
Drivers will still see some elements inside the luxurious interior borrowed from Rolls-Royces parent company — such as the BMW iDrive-style infotainment controller.
But, for the most part, the Phantom is all about exclusive individualism. Including the opportunity for owners to display one-off pieces of art in the dashboard.
The new Phantom features a glassed-off gallery area within the dashboard where owners can display the work of their favourite artist.
Rolls-Royce says it will liaise with whichever artist an individual owner chooses to commission the appropriately sized work. Er, assuming said favourite artist is alive and happy to work in a miniature landscape format.
Giles Taylor, head of design for Rolls-Royce, told media that a key goal with the new car was to reinterpret the motor cars’ dashboard from being a dead expanse into a riveting focal point.
Kind of kicks the idea of personalised mood lighting in footwells as being uniquely individual into touch, doesn’t it?
While we would love some wag to adorn the Phantom’s gallery area with a detailed painting of the same section of dashboard from, say, a 1980s Ford Sierra, we can only assume much more upmarket works of art will be commissioned.
A shame, but inevitable.
Honda S2000 to be reborn?
There’s nothing like a suggestively blobby design render in a patent application to get the automotive world a-fizzin.
Usually such patent applications detail (at their least-interesting)
a new interior door handle design, or (at their most outrageous), a flying car concept.
But, just occasionally, a fully realised render comes to light, showcasing a tantalising peek behind the curtain at what a particular car company might be thinking about producing next.
Such was the case last week when detailed digital images, penned by Honda designers, were unearthed.
The images show a diminutive-looking open-top sports car, not unlike a mini-me version of the NSX supercar.
Could the plans be for a reborn Honda S2000 – the Japanese carmakers much-celebrated but sadly long-defunct Mazda MX-5 rival?
Nostalgia fans will note that the timing would work, as the 20th anniversary of Honda’s launch of the high-revving cult cabrio isn’t far away.
Toyota has made mileage out of the 86 sports car since it was introduced five years ago, and Mazda’s perennial MX-5 remains
a budget-conscious enthusiast model mainstay of its line-up.
Such a car is missing from Honda’s range though, unless you count the Civic Type R, which packs the requisite punch, but doesn’t offer the same top-down motoring experience as the old S2000 did.
We’re hopeful the digital doodles do indeed represent a return of the S2000.
Don’t leave this e-bike in the rain
E-bikes are fast becoming a way for more than just Victorian-bearded hipsters to get about town.
Electric two-wheelers are starting to be a much more noticeable means of transport on the commuter run, especially when you consider their battery-powered motors allow for a gentle coast uphill, rather than a pedal-powered slog.
Having said that, we’ve come across one e-bike that might just be too beautiful to ride.
It’s called the Avionic V1 and it features a rather lovely silhouette, based around a matte black steel frame and lots of jabota wood detailing, mixed with retro-minded handles and headlight.
There’s a 750-watt electric motor in its wood-cased power pack, which will push the V1 up to a respectable 55km/h, with an estimated battery range of 120km.
So you won’t need to charge it every night after that trip to the shabby-chic hipster bistro for ironic brussels sprouts.
The V1 also features pedals as a back-up option. But you wouldn’t want to put any untoward stress on the detailed rips in your designer jeans doing something as gauche as peddling.
Better to let the electric motor glide you along in style.