The Remarkable Story Behind The Rolls-Royce Wraith Eagle VIII
In June 1919, two British aviators Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Brown embarked on a non-stop transatlantic flight from departing from St. John’s in Newfoundland to Clifden, Ireland in a modified First World War Vickers Vimy bomber aircraft.
The aircraft, powered by a twin 20.3 litre, 350 bhp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engine would later become the inspiration for the latest Collection Car from Roll-Royce, the Wraith Eagle VIII. The ultra-exclusive model was crafted at the home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood in West Sussex, southern England. Fittingly, for the piece of art that it is, the model is limited to only 50 units in the entire world.
Despite the perils of the transatlantic flight, the Rolls-Royce powered engine that propelled the duo on their ground-breaking flight proved to be indestructible and marked one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century. A century on from the event, Rolls-Royce marks the 100th anniversary of the historical flight with the new bespoke model, the Wraith Eagle VIII, a svelte model in a suave gunmetal hue with a selby grey upper two-tone and hints of brass with the distinctive black grille vanes feature evoking the features of the Vickers Vimy biplane engine.
One unit of the car has been imported by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ imported dealer in Kuala Lumpur and has already been sold. The exquisitely crafted details commemorate the flight including the mesmerising starlight headliner showcasing 1,183 starlight fibres mimicking the celestial arrangement at the time of Alcock and Brown’s flight in 1919. Meanwhile, the historical flight path and constellation positioning are embroidered in brass thread, while a red fibre optic light indicates the exact moment the two pilots left the cloud to navigate by the starry night sky. The vehicle even comes with a plaque containing the latitudes and longitudes indicating the half-way point of the journey.
We can only imagine, for the 50 collectors who are lucky enough to own the Wraith Eagle VIII, being in the presence of such an engineering and design marvel is probably akin to owning a piece of history.