Dad dot info
Free online course for separated parents
Forum - Ask questions. Get answers.
Free online course for separated parents
DAD.info | Lifestyle | Motoring | The Rolls has Soul: Touring the Rolls-Royce Factory

The Rolls has Soul: Touring the Rolls-Royce Factory

You need to spend more than £200,000 to own a Rolls-Royce, but what is it that makes them so special? I take a look around their factory in Goodwood and find out why perfection comes with such a high price…

Few brands stir emotions like Rolls-Royce, a name that is synonymous with luxury, refinement and success. The cars are a benchmark of the automotive world, standing head and shoulders above every rival thanks to the very highest levels of craftsmanship.

But what does it take to make a Rolls-Royce? I took a trip to their custom-built factory in the grounds of Goodwood House to find out.

Rolls-Royce-Factory-14.jpg

Set amongst fine and a half acres of perfectly manicured lawns and 400,000 exactingly trimmed trees and shrubs, the cedar-clad factory hides discreetly out of sight of the Earl of March and the public.

Step inside and the mental image of a dark, oily and noisy factory floor is soon discarded. What you find is a production line that is almost clinical in its cleanliness. I wasn’t allowed in without a protective coat, and the coat wasn’t to protect me…

The cars start off as bare shells, shipped in from Dingolfing in Germany, where the bare metal has been checked, corrosion protected and then primed for paint. They’re then painted by robots at Goodwood before making their way down one of two lines – one for Wraith and Ghost, and one for Phantom.

Rolls-Royce-Factory-20.jpg

This is where the craftsmanship really starts, turning a bare hulk of metal in to an automotive artwork.

The painted shells come in one of 44,000 colours available, but that’s not bespoke enough for their wealthiest customers, so an infinite number of shades can be mixed to order. Once customer’s request for a very specific shade of gold meant that 19 grams of pure gold powder were mixed with each litre of paint. As there’s at least 30 litres of paint on a Phantom, that’s £13,500 of gold at today’s price.

The production line moves slowly, stopping at each of the 16 assembly stations for precisely 49 minutes. Technicians, who have been collecting parts in the neatly laid out ‘shopping’ aisles, move in to fit out each unique car. Pre-assembled wiring looms are fitted, doors are prepared, and dashboards installed.

Rolls-Royce-Factory-8.jpg

The upholstery is where quality is paramount, with Austrian bulls giving their hides for the seating and trim. There are no barbed wire fences around their fields, for fear of leaving scars in the leather. However, tiny imperfections, from mosquito bites to scratches, are highlighted and the cuts of leather required extracted from around these areas.

It’s like a virtual laser-light jigsaw, the light show marking out the pieces needed, each being manoeuvred around by hand until they can make the most out of each hide. What’s leftover is often turned to mouse mats for those fortunate enough to visit the facility.

The woodwork on display in each car is astonishing, with many hours spent fine tuning and matching each individual piece of wood. With Wraith though, a younger kind of buyer has arrived, eschewing the traditional walnut for new materials such as carbon fibre or brushed aluminium.

Rolls-Royce-Factory-21.jpg

Each piece can be used to create a unique signature for your car, from incredibly intricate embroidery no a headrest to cityscapes created from different kinds of wood. Seemingly nothing is beyond the capabilities of the staff at Goodwood.

Even the discrete coachline that adorns most cars, just 3mm wide and running the length of the car, is applied by hand.

On the mechanical side, the BMW-built V12 engine and ZF gearbox are married to the chassis, while Bilstein shock absorbers combine with the bespoke suspension to create that magic carpet ride the brand is famed for.

After the 16th stop, the car is literally driven from the line before being subjected to thorough testing and the mother of all polishes.

Rolls-Royce-Factory-5.jpg

A new Rolls-Royce rolls off the line every hour or so, ensuring their exclusivity. The company isn’t chasing volume, preferring to rely on high-margin bespoke design. That choice appears to be working well, with some 91% of buyers choosing to personalise their car, some more so than others.

The factory also exists as something beyond a site for construction of the cars. Buyers, and prospective buyers, are brought down to tour the factory and, inevitably, they end up spending a lot more money than originally planned, such is the level of workmanship on show.

Sir Henry Royce once said “Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.”

On taking a close look at how Rolls-Royce does things, they’re still adhering to those words and, importantly, will continue to do so.

Rolls-Royce-Factory-10.jpg

Related entries

When is the new highway code out?

When is the new highway code out?

January 29th! Once passed through parliamentary review, the new highway code is out! We are all going to have to take a refresher. Some of the changes to the Highway Code coming in on 29th Jan 2022 We are all responsible when we use the roads. We are obliged to follow...

What Family Car should I buy?

What Family Car should I buy?

Help me people with multiple children... what family car can you recommend I buy?   I live on a terraced road. Parking is war. I am dreading the idea of upgrading to  the inevitable seven-seater.  But with the kids...

Driving lessons for teenagers – How to book

Driving lessons for teenagers – How to book

It doesn't feel like a moment since I was teaching them to ride a bike and now I'm meant to trust my kid behind the wheel of a car! But where to start - should I just jump in the car with them? What options are there for driving lessons for teenagers? Young Driver...

Latest entries

Side hustle: find yours to make extra cash

Side hustle: find yours to make extra cash

Many of us are feeling the pinch with the rising cost of living. But, that aside, what family couldn't do with extra money anyway? This is where a side hustle comes in. Using a few free hours around work each week to make some extra money can make a big difference in...

Teaching Your Kids To Avoid Scams

Teaching Your Kids To Avoid Scams

Unfortunately with our kids spending so much time on their phones and online there comes the risk of being scammed. While we as adults might be wise to the tricks scammers use- Nigerian princes included- our children probably aren't. To avoid being out of pocket and...

Pin It on Pinterest