From the moment work started on the formative concept sketches of the Phantom, it was crucial that the design team, led by Ian Cameron, had an instinctive feel for what makes the unmistakable Rolls-Royce 'look'.
We can all appreciate the boldness and confidence of a Phantom II or the flowing grace of a Silver Cloud, but it takes a trained eye to assess those lines and see the science behind the shapes. To this end, Cameron and his team scrutinised the company's greatest creations in an effort to discover the essence of Rolls-Royce. Its design DNA, if you like.
The iconic grille and Spirit of Ecstasy mascot are obvious identifiers, but there are numerous more subtle elements that have an equally powerful effect. The coach doors and striking use of chrome. The gentle, upswept line of the sill - known internally as the 'waftability' line – that creates a powerful, poised stance and makes the car appear to be moving when stationary.
With closer inspection, other themes emerge. A long wheelbase is crucial to achieve the classic Rolls-Royce look, as is a long bonnet, but while the front should be bold and upright with a short overhang, the rear needs to be softer, with the roofline blending into a wide 'C' pillar (the rearmost of the car's vertical roof support posts), to give a flowing appearance. Large wheels add an essential sense of proportion: the Rolls-Royce Motor Cars rule of thumb being the diameter of the wheel and tyre is roughly half the height of the car.
'Our absolute priority, explains Cameron, was to create a motor car that is clearly a Rolls-Royce even when the radiator grille is not in view.'
Now that you're armed with the secrets of Rolls-Royce design, you can cast an educated eye over the Phantom, and appreciate how Cameron and his team have fused classic proportions with strikingly modernity to create the definitive 21st century Rolls-Royce.