Rolls-Royce ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’, the most famous bonnet ornament on any car, first introduced in 1911, is 110 years old.
Today, a ‘Flying Lady’ that retracts into the bonnet during collision or when touched, adorns every Rolls-Royce cars.
Rolls-Royce ‘Spirit of Ecstasy‘, the bonnet ornament that has adorned every single Rolls-Royce cars since in 1911, is 110 years. The famous sculpture depicts a woman leaning forwards with her arms outstretched behind and above her.
Originally called the “Whisper”, the now-famous Spirit of Ecstasy started life as a bronze sculpture. It was created by artist and sculptor Charles Robinson Sykes for the personal car of one of Britain’s motoring pioneers, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu.
But Rolls-Royce General Managing Director, Claude Johnson, wasn’t happy with the idea, after other wealthy Rolls-Royce owners commissioned their own hood ornaments.
Then Johnson said :
“How dare these hooligans adorn the hood of our vehicles with such vulgarity. And a sculpture of a woman’s body no less?! The inhumanity!”
To stop the annoying trend, Johnson, in 1911, commissioned Sykes to create an official hood ornament for Rolls-Royce – an emblem that has stood as an internationally-recognised symbol of perfection ever since.
Charles Robinson Sykes and his daughter Josephine hand finished every single “Spirit of Ecstasy” hood ornament themselves, until 1939.
The “Spirit of Ecstasy” also known as the ‘Flying Lady’, was permanently fixed on the bonnet until 1970s after hood ornaments were banned in some countries for safety purposes.
The hiding mechanism, which hides the “Spirit of Ecstasy” away into the bonnet to prevent pedestrian injuries during collision and accident, came about in the 1970s.
Today, a ‘Flying Lady’ that retracts into the bonnet during collision or when touched, adorns every Rolls-Royce cars, including the Phantom; the Ghost; the Wraith; the Dawn; and the Cullinan SUV.
One of a kind a ‘Flying Lady’ that was made of 150 carat diamonds and platinum was commissioned back in 2008. The asking price was $200k dollars, that’s more than the price of a brand new 2021 Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600 SUV.
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