Rolls-Royce is about to introduce the first electric model Specter. The luxury brand is also celebrating the new era with a new hood ornament.
The Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament has been adorning the hoods of the classy Rolls-Royce models for 111 years. Over the years, the character popularly baptized "Emily" has undergone a number of design changes, and now the next one is coming up. And Rolls-Royce does this in terms of increased aerodynamics. No wonder: The next model called Specter will be an electric car and, as is well known, the topic of efficiency is always a core aspect. After all, the British are already emphasizing that the first prototypes are already on the road with a drag coefficient of 0.26 - good for a Rolls-Royce, not necessarily for an electric sedan: The current record is held by the Mercedes EQS - with 0.20 .,
A step forward
In the interests of aerodynamics, the new Emily crouches further into the wind and measures just 82.73 millimeters in height instead of the previous 100.01 millimeters. Her flowing robe, often incorrectly referred to as a wing, was subtly modeled. The change in posture is more noticeable. So far, the figure has stood with both feet together, knees slightly bent. In the future, she will take a step forward and thus appear more as if she were in motion. According to the manufacturer, the facial expression has also been revised, but it is difficult to tell from the photos. We just have to believe that now. By the way: In its original form, the radiator mascot reached an impressive 17.5 centimeters in height.
Speaking of origins: There are countless stories about how the Spirit of Ecstasy came about. What unites everyone is "Emily" initiator John Walter Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, Second Baron Montagu of Beaulieu. The car fan and founder of "The Car Illustrated" magazine wanted to decorate his Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost with a bronze figure on the hood in 1909 and commissioned the artist Charles Robinson Sykes to create one. The two knew each other well, after all Sykes also worked as an illustrator for Montagus magazine. The fact that a young woman in a flowing robe was to serve as the model was due to the Art Nouveau aesthetics, which were very popular at the time. Eleanor Velasco Thronton is said to have modeled for the character. The dancer and actress has also served as secretary to Baron Montagu and muse to Sykes. Other sources report that she was the Baron's lover and that he wanted to express his affection in the form of the prominent hood ornament.,
Henry Royce despises Emily
In any case, the fact is: The Spirit of Ecstasy, whose original name was Whisper , was well received everywhere. Other Rolls-Royce drivers soon approached the artists of their choice to have their hood ornaments made.A development that the manufacturer himself did not welcome in all its wild growth. Henry Royce in particular is said to have been upset about this and wanted the attachments to be banned entirely. Probably also because a vicious love affair was the initial spark for this attachment. However, his business partner Charles Stewart Rolls and the company's managing director, Claude Johnson, finally convinced Royce of the identity-forming potential of the hood ornament and so in 1910 Sykes was given the official commission to create a design for all Rolls-Royce vehicles. By the way: A few years earlier, Eleanor Thornton was already working as a secretary for Claude Johnson when he was still working for the British Automobile Club.
In 1911, the Rolls-Royce company registered the mascot as intellectual property and the figure still adorns the British manufacturer's classy vehicles to this day. Without Charles Rolls ever realizing it, he died in a plane crash in 1910 and Royce continued to despise such characters. In the end, it is probably thanks to Baron Montagu, Charles Sykes, Claude Johnson and last but not least Eleanor Thornton that the Spirit of Ecstasy will also be emblazoned on the hood of the brand's first electric car. You can see what the first prototype of the Sepctre looks like in our slideshow at the top of the article.,
A small figure with an eventful history. The Spirit of Ecstasy is an integral part of Rolls-Royce models today and it is not even necessary. In a subtly revised form, "Emily" is taking the path to electromobility together with the brand.