It’s been two decades since the most radical change in Rolls-Royce’s history.
Rolls-Royce has been making some of the world’s finest cars for over a century, and 20 years ago, its storied name and hallowed reputation were presented as an opportunity to be acquired by the BMW Group, and once that acquisition happened, the Rolls-Royce brand that resulted was like never before. The first order of business was to move its headquarters, and Rolls-Royce chose Goodwood, which is not only one of the most important places in the automotive world but an important place for Rolls-Royce specifically.
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It is very near the place where Sir Henry Royce spent the final years of his life, where he designed the Merlin engine that powered the Spitfire airplane. Today, it remains not only the only place in the world where Rolls-Royce cars are hand-built but also a place where the exclusive and unforgettable design and configuration experience of bespoke Rolls-Royce models happens. At the beginning of BMW’s ownership of Rolls-Royce, the only car sold was the 7th-generation Phantom, but in 20 years, as many cars have been introduced.
In the inaugural year of 2003, it was the Phantom, and in 2004, it was the 100EX, which would preview the Phantom Drophead Coupe. In 2005, the Phantom Extended was revealed, followed by the 101EX of 2006 which previewed the Phantom Coupe, and the production Phantom Drophead Coupe of 2007. 2008 saw the introduction of the Phantom Coupe, followed by the 200EX of 2009. 2010 was the inaugural year of the Ghost, while 2011 saw Rolls-Royce dipping its toe into the waters of electric vehicles with the 102EX, also known as the Phantom Experimental electric. 2011 also saw the introduction of the Ghost Extended. In 2013, the brand evolved further with the reveal of the Wraith, and again with the 2016 reveal of the Dawn. A twist came in the form of the introduction of Rolls-Royce’s driver and performance-focused variants, the Black Badge lineup, which started with the Ghost and Wraith, also in 2016. Rolls-Royce capped off its 2016 reveals with the incredibly unusual 103EX concept. In 2017, Rolls-Royce showed off its coachbuilding know-how with the incredibly valuable Sweptail, as well as revealing the 8th-generation Phantom. 2018 and 2019 saw the debuts of the Cullinan and Black Badge Cullinan respectively, while the new Ghost was revealed in 2020, and the Boat Tail arrived on the scene in 2021. As Rolls-Royce celebrates two decades at peak performance, the future of the ultra-luxe brand looks brighter than ever.