Seeing Ghosts: Rolls-Royce Killed the Wraith
Rolls-Royce of England will no longer sell its Wraith coupe in the United States. The company still offers four-door sedans and the Cullinan SUV to Americans. The death of the Rolls-Royce Wraith foreshadows some major changes to the luxury brand’s lineup.
Rolls-Royce made its first Wraith in 1938
Rolls-Royce began building automobiles in 1904. It quickly set itself apart with its goal of excellent engineering and impeccable craftsmanship. As a result, the brand’s name recognition is second only to Coca-Cola.
Since the dawn of the automobile, famous celebrities and fictional characters have driven a Rolls-Royce. Today, Jay-Z and Lady Gaga are Rolls-Royce fans. Bond villain Aurich Goldfinger uses a memorable Roll-Royce in his schemes. Even Ernest Hemingway was rumored to have fitted a Rolls-Royce coupe with a backseat bar and a gun rack. One early owner nicknamed his Silver Ghost the “Wraith,” the Scottish word for ghost. The manufacturer took note of the clever name.
Rolls-Royce built its first generation of the Wraith in 1938. After ceasing car production to manufacture airplane engines during the war, Roll-Royce picked back up with the Silver Wraith in 1946. In 2013, Rolls-Royce announced an all-new coupe: the new Wraith.
Rolls-Royce canceled its Wraith and the Dawn convertible version
The 2013 Rolls-Royce shares chassis components with the BMW 7-series. A 6.5-liter V12 propels it to 60 MPH in just 4.4 seconds. With a top speed of 155 MPH, it was the fastest car Rolls-Royce ever built. One of the Wraith’s defining attributes is its rear-hinged “suicide” doors. Special editions of the Wraith included the Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos, the Wraith Black Badge, and Wraith Landspeed Edition.
Despite the Wraith’s advanced technology at launch, the rest of the Rolls-Royce line has leapt ahead of it. Today, the Ghost, Phantom, and Cullinan all ride on an all-aluminum “Architecture of Luxury,” chassis. Even BMW is planning to replace the F01 chassis its 7-series shares with the Wraith. Then Rolls-Royce canceled the Dawn convertible and Wraith coupe that share this F01 chassis.
The future of Rolls-Royce
The team at Motor1 asked Rolls-Royce if the company is canceling the Wraith because of its outdated chassis. The answer they received might surprise you. A Rolls-Royce representative told them that the company is not experiencing any sales or production issues. Instead, the company is struggling to get the Wraith past U.S. regulations. Customers in the rest of the world will still be able to buy a Wraith, for the time being.
Under different conditions, the company might have fought the government. But Rolls-Royce has already announced plans to go fully electric by 2030. Because the Wraith sold well until the end, Rolls-Royce will likely roll out a replacement coupe. The luxury performance car that replaces the Wraith will probably ride on the “Architecture of Luxury” chassis. In addition, there is a chance it will be an electric vehicle.