'Inside Rolls-Royce' Exhibit Debuts in Beverly Hills

Courtesy of Rolls-Royce
'Inside Rolls-Royce'

The free exhibition of all things Rolls runs through May 11 at the SLS hotel.

Those who’ve wondered what it would be like to be transformed into a virtual embodiment the iconic Rolls-Royce hood ornament Spirit of Ecstasy will have the chance at “Inside Rolls-Royce,” an exhibit that deconstructs the design and manufacture of the rarefied British automobiles.

The show opened last year at London’s Saatchi Gallery and traveled to Berlin, Shanghai and Dubai before opening in the U.S. in Beverly Hills Thursday. The tech-intensive exhibit is meant to convey Rolls-Royce’s cultural relevance and hip factor as it targets younger wealthy buyers.

In one of the exhibit’s nine galleries, motion capture technology enables attendees to use their own movements to animate an image of the Ecstasy hood ornament displayed on a video wall. It’s as close as many will get to owning a Roller, which start at $296,000 for the Ghost and top out at $479,775 for a loaded Phantom Drophead. (The recently introduced Phantom Bespoke Limelight, of which only 25 will be produced, is rumored to cost 650 large.)

Part of what makes a Rolls so pricey—and those who can afford one willing to pay the premium—is the marque’s fanatical attention to detail and seemingly endless array of options: a Rolls can be painted in a staggering 44,000 possible hues, a process the show demonstrates in an interactive digital display.

On custom-ordered bespoke models, one of a kind details are possible—if you really want walnut and zebrawood marquetry on the dash that depicts the ‘76 ‘Cuda you bought with your high school dishwashing money before your hedge fund came in, Rolls will give it a go. Designers, engineers and artisans from the company's Goodwood, England headquarters will be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate techniques.

Like superluxury competitor Bentley, Rolls-Royce, which is owned by BMW, has logged record sales in recent years but is feeling the heat from Mercedes and other high-end carmakers that are introducing more luxurious models, such as the Mercedes Maybach S600, and bespoke programs of their own. 

"Inside Rolls-Royce" is open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. May 11.