Here at LotPro.com we received the information about two unique non-vehicle items from both Chrysler Corporation and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars on the same day. At the time, we thought it would be a real hoot comparing the two side by each (as they say in MinneSOta).
After all, how much of a difference, price-wise, could there be between the two pop-top campers manufactured by Jeep and a “picnic set” – even if it was created by Rolls-Royce?
But alas, we were unable to communicate with Rolls-Royce in time to put them both in the same article. But, not to be deterred, a decision was made to run the Jeep camper article yesterday and, pending receipt of the pricing information, the Rolls-Royce picnic set today. Also, as it turns out, we were a bit off in thinking that the price of even the high-zoot Jeep Extreme Trail Edition camper (MSRP $11,995) would match that of a bespoke picnic set from Goodwood.
Jay Gatsby, eat your heart out
“The creation of a bespoke picnic set was always a question of entertainment, not just functionality. You choose to eat outdoors and you want to do it in an entertaining and elegant way, to make an occasion of the experience. Our design encapsulates that approach.” - Gavin Hartley, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars bespoke design manager
According to Rolls-Royce, the idea for a bespoke picnic set began during development of the Phantom Drophead Coupé back in 2006. Research on the project began in early 2009.
It was discovered that back in the 1920’s, Rolls-Royce owners had their choice of picnic hampers not only from the auto company, but also from manufacturers such as Asprey, Coracle, Vickery and Drew & Sons. Customers could choose from a number of styles including suitcase, wicker or even trunks that folded from the front.
In the autumn of 2009, the design began to emerge. From the first sketches done in pencil, it took another three months to develop a CAD design scheme, and then another three months to build a working prototype. Rolls-Royce estimates that it took, in all, nearly six months and 1,500 hours to design and create the picnic set before it was first unveiled at Villa D’Este, Italy in April of 2010.
It’s all in the presentation
“We wanted to make sure this wasn’t just going to be another box filled with other people’s products; it had to be designed from the ground up. And we wanted to come up with engineered solutions, demonstrating our innovation.” - Alex Innes, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars bespoke designer
“A degree of theatre was particularly important too. We wanted to explore the way the trunk opens in the Drophead Coupé. The way things open out, you appreciate a sense of unpacking. It’s exciting and surprising and exceeds expectations. You might think it’s a box, but when you open it out, it presents owners with useful surfaces like drop-down tables.” - Gavin Hartley
Designers started with a front-folding trunk of oiled teak with an interior constructed of polished aluminum and stainless steel. The saddle tan leather comes from a small tannery in Germany. When the trunk is opened, Indian rosewood tables are folded out and owners are presented with hand-blown cut stemware designed by Goodwood, cutlery made by David Mellor CBE, and ingenious engineering touches that include magnets inside the chopping boards to hold knives in place.
And just like every Rolls-Royce offering, owners can individualize their own picnic set to match everything from the veneer in their vehicle to the color of the leather of their Rolls-Royce luggage (yes, it is a different world, indeed).
According to Rolls-Royce, “The four person picnic set is a commissionable item, made to order. And while the team’s focus was for Drophead Coupé, the first firm customer order came from a Phantom saloon customer in the UK. Further orders are expected, following a number of serious enquiries worldwide and its UK debut at London’s exclusive Hurlingham Club.”
As the saying goes, if you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford it. But as luck would have it, we were able to contact Mr. Nigel Wonnacott, the Product PR Manager for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars who was kind enough to respond to our request for the anticipated price. His answer: “Depending on specification, circa €15,000.”
In case you were wondering, even with the drop in the Euro, that’s US $19,120.00 at today’s exchange rate.
All images courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd.