Matthew BeedhamEditor, SHIFT by TNW
Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls. Matthew is the editor of SHIFT. He likes electric cars, and other things with wheels, wings, or hulls.
The creators of the simply gorgeous electro-resto-mod Jaguar XK120 are back, and this time they’re working their magic on classic Rolls-Royce models.
I’ve fallen foul to clichéd cargasms and written about my love for classic car restorations that feature modern all-electric drivetrains before. For me, the joy that can be extracted from old cars is found in their aesthetic, and a good ol’ Rolls is, and always will be, a shining example of that classic exuberant style.
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So let me introduce you to my latest car crush, Lunaz’ all-electric Rolls-Royce Phantom — I’ll give you a minute to take it in:
Like the Jag before it, the Phantom gets the typical Lunaz treatment, which includes a full structural and aesthetic restoration back to near original spec. The company then adds its own proprietary motor, electric hardware, and a 120 kWh battery pack that Lunaz says is good for 300 miles (483 km) of range.
All this makes it a perfectly usable modern classic. Most conventional restorations become showpieces that never get used due to their difficult upkeep. This Lunaz, though, could be used every day if you wanted.
The level of respect that’s been paid to the original is staggering. For many classic car enthusiasts, electrifying a Rolls and adding a bunch of digital hardware might sound like sacrilege, but Lunaz takes a very classy approach to how it integrates the electronics.
Take the power dial for example: rather than slapping on a modern digital read out or screen, Lunaz fabricates custom gauges that match the original rev counter and speedometer aesthetic.
That said, there are a few modern additions that make the car more usable in today’s world. Given the Phantom is supposed to be a chauffeur driven luxury vehicle, Lunaz has added a couple of screens for passengers in the rear seats, that let them watch films or mirror their phone screens.
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But of course, you’re not here for me to talk about this thing, you want to see it.
These things don’t come cheap, but they will be incredibly exclusive. Lunaz is only going to make 30 of them. After all, it has to first find classic Rolls-Royces’ to restore, and then bring them up to modern spec with its electric drivetrain.
Oh, and like the electrified Jaguar XK120, these things are not cheap. Builds for the Phantom start, yes start, at £500,000. For that hefty price tag owners do get to be involved closely with the build process and can specify custom options and tailor their vehicle to their own tastes however they please. It’s very much a boutique item.
If £500,000 is a bit hard to stomach, Lunaz can also sprinkle its magic dust on a classic Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud, which starts at £350,000. Exclusivity always comes with a price.
Some classic car enthusiasts will probably bemoan the notion of modernizing and adding an electric drivetrain to an old Rolls, but the two could pair quite well.
Rolls-Royces were never about accelerating at light speed, or handling as sharp as a race car. They are about comfort, luxury, and considered acceleration. Power should come in a reassuring swell, and not imitate being hit in the back with a sledgehammer.
With no gears in its electric drivetrain, this Rolls is set up to journey with smoothness, silence, and style. Costing about as much as a modern Roller, but having buckets more style, I know which one I would rather spend the rest of my life with.
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