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Cars are often considered works of art by auto enthusiasts, but Rolls-Royce is taking that idea a step further by turning the dashboard of its new Phantom into a gallery for works commissioned by individual artists.
Recognizing that the dashboard space in front of the passenger seat is often a blank canvas, the British car company is now calling that area “The Gallery.” Bespoke customers can work with the artist of their choice to create their own dashboard masterpiece. Once completed, the art and an analog clock are enclosed in a horizontal swath of toughened glass. The bespoke clock is more intricate in design than the standard issue, with a lighter, backlit face with crystal details and counterweighted hands.
“I wanted to take a motoring constant that has existed for a century but served little purpose but to hide airbags and componentry, and give it another purpose,” Giles Taylor, director of design for Rolls Royce, said. “I really loved the idea of taking your art with you when traveling, and so I acted on it.”
Rolls-Royce has already commissioned a number of works to demonstrate the type of creations possible. These include an oil painting by Chinese artist Lian Yangwei, a gold-plated map of an owner's DNA by German designer Thorsten Franck, a hand-made stem of porcelain roses by porcelain maker Nymphenburg, a starburst of gemstones emanating from a diamond by goldsmith Richard Fox, and an abstract silk design by British artist Helen Amy Murray. Silk, wood, metal, and leather treatments also are available from in-house Rolls-Royce designers and craftspeople.
The new Phantom is the eighth model in a lineage that stretches back to 1925. The car features a new twin-turbo V12 engine and a new aluminum chassis that makes it both lighter and more rigid than its predecessor. That translates into a top speed of 155 mph and a zero to 60 mph bolt in 5.3 seconds.
A bevy of safety systems ranging from night vision to cross-traffic warnings are included, as is a Wi-Fi hotspot. A 12.3-inch color systems information display retracts behind the center console when not in use.
The base price for the new Phantom is $450,00, but the gallery adds between $50,000 and $100,000 to the cost, perhaps more if the work is particularly complex; rolls-roycemotorcars.com.