It was not the best day to fly, let alone cross the vast Atlantic Ocean in a rudimentary modified Vickers Vimy bomber from the First World War that had seen better days, but British aviators John Alcock and Arthur Brown were determined to be the first people to complete a non-stop transatlantic flight.
The take-off was bumpy and treacherous, the radio failed and rolling fog made navigation next to impossible. Yet, Alcock and Brown persevered and finally landed awkwardly (some would say crashed) into a bog in County Galway, Ireland on June 15, 1919, about 16 hours after they had taken off from St. John’s, Newfoundland.
For their efforts, Alcock and Brown won £10,000 (close to half a million pounds today when adjusted for inflation), offered by newspaper tycoon Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe to the first pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean non-stop within 72 hours.
To commemorate the 101th anniversary of this historic event, Rolls-Royce recently unveiled the Wraith Eagle VIII Bespoke Collection Car. The vehicle was named after the twin V12, 20.3 litre, 350bhp Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines that powered the bomber piloted by Alcock and Brown.
There are multiple bespoke features that pay homage to the flight, including an inscription of Winston Churchill’s quote, “I do not know what we should most admire – their audacity, determination, skill, science, their aeroplane, their Rolls-Royce engines – or their good fortunes”, on the driver’s door.
The dashboard clock is also rendered with a cracked and iced background effect, depicting the condition of the plane’s frozen instrument panel while flying. At night, the clock glows a faint green.
But, the most stunning is the starlight headliner, which features 1,183 starlight fibres that depict the celestial arrangement of the night sky at the time of the duo’s flight.
Only 50 units are available, retailing for about S$1.8 million with accoutrements. Check out the video above to take a closer look at the other bespoke features of the Rolls-Royce Wraith Eagle VIII.