Petrolheads are obsessed with time. We focus on the split second differences in sprints from zero to 60 mph; we compare the miniaturized mechanical components of our watch to the moving parts of a car; and we covet like-minded alliances between watchmakers and brands that showcase jewel clocks in desirable automotive dashboards.
Playing against the usual time-bound tropes, however, is Rolls-Royce’s latest limited-edition Phantom, dubbed Tempus. The 20-car race tramples on temporality by looking back – far away, 1,680 billion kilometers from the earth, in fact – for a cropped perspective on the age-old theme of time. The story goes this way: Rather than focusing on terrestrial timing sources, proprietary variations of the model turn to pulsars, which spin neutron stars that emit electromagnetic radiation in remarkably regular pulses. The pulses of these white-heated celestial bodies are so regularly rhythmic that their signals rival the precision of atomic clocks; hence the nickname “Tempus”, which in Latin means “time”.
With specific reference to a pulsar discovered in 1967, the Rolls-Royce model variant takes a hat off to the distant star by paying homage to its 100 million year period through 100 individually profiled columns in the painting’s “Gallery” on board, the space reserved for a diorama. for individual artistic statements. The single billet aluminum is black anodized and hand polished for a fluid, rhythmic effect that inspires his description of “Frozen Flow of Time”. Perhaps most notably, the tiny sculpture replaces the space usually occupied by the Rolls-Royce analog clock, completely removing the time reference in favor of a static visual. It’s the automotive equivalent of ditching a wristwatch when wearing a tuxedo because you don’t have to worry about spending minutes while celebrating a special occasion.
The theme continues into the doors, where hundreds of backlit perforations create the appearance of swirling stars. Above, some 1,300 points of optical fiber create a luminous painting of the pulsar in question, while more than 200,000 points represent the pulsar and the colorful cosmos that surrounds it. A plaque in the glove box engraved with a quote from the relativistic genius Albert Einstein: “The distinction between past, present and future is only an obstinately persistent illusion.
“I didn’t need a Rolls-Royce,” Gigi Moss insists, standing in front of Rollerblades custom-made for him and her – a Phantom Extended Wheelbase Tempus edition and a Dawn Black Badge – both ordered by her husband , Glenn. Ms Moss’s belief was clearly some sort of stubbornly persistent illusion, which was strongly thwarted by her husband’s desire to commemorate the couple’s 40th wedding anniversary with a sufficiently vibrant vehicle duo.
Mr Moss had never considered ownership of Rolls-Royce until a marketing event for Black Card American Express holders placed him and his wife in a Dawn’s seat for a day in 2017 The two Rolls-Royces feature Easter eggs referencing the couple’s union — dates and points of latitude / longitude when they first met in 1976 and married in 1981.
While the Phantom is finished in Arctic White and the Dawn in Bright Red, the Tempus Edition also features a new bespoke Kairos Blue, which Rolls says was created to embody the darkness and mystery of space. Only one other Tempus exists in the United States (Chicago, if you’re curious), and the remaining allowances are taken into account.
Learn more about Robb ReportCar of the Year 2022 at the Napa Valley event here and Boca Raton here.