With an estimated price tag of US$28 million, the new Rolls-Royce Boat Tail is not only the world's most exclusive picnic table on wheels, but also an ambassador for the brand's new business model based around ultra-high-end coach building and customization. Credit: Rolls-Royce.

The millionaires of the past, have now become billionaires. People like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, have amassed huge fortunes.

So how do folks with so much money to spare, get to feel special?

How about, a bespoke US$28 million Coachbuild Rolls-Royce Boat Tail, the most expensive luxury car in the world.

The car — if one can call it that — is the first of what will be many custom one-off creations from Rolls-Royce Coachbuild, a new division of the company aimed at giving the growing customer base exactly what he or she wants.

Historically, coachbuilding had been an integral part of the Rolls-Royce story,” said chief executive Torsten Muller-Otvos.

“In the contemporary Rolls-Royce narrative, it has informed our guiding philosophy of Bespoke. But it is so much more.

“Rolls-Royce Coachbuild is a return to the very roots of our brand. It represents an opportunity for the select few to participate in the creation of utterly unique and truly personal commissions of future historical significance.”

Coachbuilding is the lost art of creating bespoke body styles for early automobiles.

Like its method of construction, the Boat Tail’s aesthetic draws inspiration from Rolls-Royce’s past and the nautical, half-literally boat-tailed bodies of some coachbuilt cars of the ’30s. Credit: Rolls-Royce.

Back in the early days of motoring, carmakers will only produce the mechanical components, including the engine, transmission, driveshafts, and wheels referred to as a “rolling chassis.”

After which, the rolling chassis will go to specialist coachbuilders to add the custom bodywork. Clients had the freedom to specify and create unique features resulting in spectacular, one-off renditions of vintage motorcars.

Rolls-Royce shifted from making a “rolling chassis” to a semi-monocoque construction in 1965 with the Silver Shadow.

However, Rolls-Royce continued to build the Phantom VI on a separate chassis until 1993 with coachwork by Rolls-Royce subsidiary H.J. Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd.

Now, Rolls-Royce is re-establishing the art and science of modern coachbuilding. The newly-opened Coachbuild department is opening the doors to infinite possibilities of commissioning your one-off Rolls-Royce.

The Boat Tail’s roots trace back to another Rolls-Royce commission, the 2017 Sweptail. When that car was revealed at Villa d’Est, certain well-heeled Rolls revelers all said, apparently in unison, “We want one, too!”

Open up the nautically-styled wood panels at the rear of the Boat Tail and you’ll find what Rolls calls a “hosting suite.” There’s a double fridge for champagne, RR-branded champagne flutes, and a bunch of other wealthy-person-picnic paraphernalia. Credit: Rolls-Royce.

Thanks to the Sweptail, three Rolls-Royce patrons with shared appreciation of contemporary nautical design found themselves commissioning three cars with a common body, but each would be highly personalized.

Their brief was to graft the hull forms of sailing boats onto the rolling chassis of a Rolls-Royce, resulting to Coachbuild’s first project: the Rolls-Royce Boat Tail.

The Boat Tail is 19 feet long, from its unique grille to its pointy transom. The roof is a “fixed canopy,” not a convertible, so you have your staff remove it before your drive.

Should you encounter inclement weather, there’s a tonneau you can unroll to protect that dark blue leather inside.

If splendid weather prevails and you decide to picnic, the rear deck opens “in a sweeping butterfly gesture to reveal an intricate and generous hosting suite.”

“The chest is appointed with the perfect accoutrements for a true Rolls-Royce al fresco dining experience; one side dedicated to aperitifs, the other, cuisine, complete with cutlery engraved with the name ‘Boat Tail’ made by Christofle in Paris.”

There’s also a double refrigerator to accommodate the client’s favorite Armand de Brignac champagne. Of course.

The Boat Tail is the first effort out of the iconic British marque’s new Coachbuild wing, but isn’t exactly a one-off. Indeed, three customers signed on to have their own unique variations on this new body style assembled. Credit: Rolls-Royce.

And whilst Rolls-Royces are known for the umbrellas they have stowed in each door, this one adds a “parasol” for picnicking.

A pair of cocktail tables rotate into place and there are two slim-line interlocking stools swathed with the same leather found inside the car. You will be the hit of the tailgate party.

His and her BOVET 1822 watches match the BOVET 1822 dash clock, naturally.

While the price tag has not been officially revealed, blogger Mr JWW, who was given a tour of the Boat Tail firsthand, relays that the commission apparently cost around £20 million, or $34.2 million in Canadian funds (US$28 million).

According to the company, three well-heeled customers signed on to have their own unique variations on this new body style assembled, with the metallic blue example being the first.

“Rolls-Royce Coachbuild clients are intimately and personally involved at each step of the creative and engineering process,” said Muller-Otvos.

We work in harmony with the client to gain complete fluency in the nuances of their character and personality. We carefully translate these qualities into the elements with which they wish to imbue their commission.”

The first quarter of 2021 is a landmark moment for Rolls-Royce.

For the first time, every Rolls-Royce motor car sold across the entire model family (including the Phantom, Ghost, Wraith, Dawn, and Cullinan) includes bespoke elements, further establishing the brand’s luxury credentials and not merely as an automaker per se.

Sources: ClassicDriver.com, AutoWeek.com, HotCars.com, SlashGear.com, The Drive, Driving.ca