It was an honour to get an exclusive interview the Rolls-Royce Design Team who designed the Wraith Eagle VIII, a masterpiece car that is limited to 50 units worldwide. Two man from the Rolls-Royce Design Team was responsible for the Wraith Eagle VIII design, Matthew Danton and Kalle Keituri. Let’s dive down some background story of the designer.
Matthew Danton and Kalle Keituri: Designing the modern luxury car
Let’s start with Matthew Danton. He started his journey with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in 2011 and currently is the Lead Designer Collection Cars and Bespoke Designer. The first major project that featured Matthew’s creative touch was the Celestial Phantom. The car was created in celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the first Phantom VII rolling off the line at the Home of Rolls-Royce, on 1st January 2003. For his latest work, Matthew took Bespoke design to new heights, with the Wraith Luminary Collection. Progressive and trailblazing, the Collection presents a limited edition of just 55 Wraiths.
Over to Kalle Keituri, he started his journey with Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in 2017. The Finnish attained a Master of Arts in Vehicle Design at The Royal College of Art in London in 2017. Kalle was also a former professional ski jumper, where he is part of the Finnish Olympic team from 2008
to 2011. Kalle is a recipient of multiple awards, including the Runner-up for the Coachmakers Motorcar Centenary Award, as well as the overall winner of the SAIC Design Competition in 2016.
Question on the Wraith Eagle VIII
I was intrigued with the exclusive features/details available on the Wraith Eagle VIII so ask Matthew and Kalle on how does the team determined the exclusive features/details of the car in the early stage of designing it. Matthew answered that the team had to do an intensive research of the history on the first non-stop transatlantic flight. He mentioned the team was fortunate that the Science Museum in London, UK had displayed the aircraft.
Matthew and Kalle had the opportunity to check out the historic aircraft at the museum and while at there, they also spotted the twin 20.3 litre, 350 bhp, Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines that is used on the aircraft were being displayed. They managed to get upclose to with every detail of the aircraft and engine. “It was really a beneficial visit because we managed to represent detail and colour of the aircraft” added Kalle. Kalle even mentioned that he had more around 50 to 200 post-it notes after the visit. After the research, the team sit down together to brainstorm and select the features/details that could express the story much better.
Matthew even shared the Rolls-Royce process from concept, to designing and to manufacturing the car. The whole process would take at least 2 years to complete the car. Another thing that intrigued me is how does the Rolls-Royce team decides on the limited edition car amount of units to produce. Matthew mentioned that to set an amount for the limited edition car units, it is based on the features and clients that are targeted for the limited edition car. For those who didn’t know, the Wraith Eagle VIII is only produced to a limited 50 units worldwide.
Another detail of the car that has been making me wondering is the installation of the brass plaque with Churchill’s quote on the driver’s door. Matthew was kindly enough to explain it was due to the car was driver eccentric hence you can see a lot of details were being added on the driver’s side.
To end the interview, I ask the designers one very tough question: Which feature in the Wraith Eagle VII that took the longest time to perfect it? Kalle answered it was the extraordinary unique starlight headliner. Because it uses 1,183 starlight fibres to show the celestial arrangement, it was quite tedious to get it right during the development but Kalle was satisfied with the outcome of the final product.
Thanks to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Asia Pacific and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Kuala Lumpur for setting up the exclusive interview.
Image Credit: Rolls-Royce