The Koa Phantom
A Rolls-Royce Phantom is a special automobile, offering luxury a cut above virtually any other car on the road. And in 2017 when collector Jack Boyd Smith Jr. saw the new Phantom at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, he knew one day he would add an example to his collection — although he likely did not realize how long it would take. As with many Phantom buyers, Smith required that his car be unique, so he commissioned a Bespoke Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended and began a process that took three years to complete.
Rocking Chair Inspired
Smith’s bespoke Phantom exudes originality, although the rare Koa wood appearing throughout the cabin naturally led Rolls-Royce creators to dub it the Koa Phantom. Koa wood comes from the Acacia koa tree that can be found only in Hawaii. Smith and family spend time in the island paradise, and on one of their visits they acquired a rocking chair made from the special wood. The rocking chair inspired Smith to trim his new Phantom with this beautiful material.
As it turns out, properly harvesting Koa wood in Hawaii is not an easy nor quick task. The Koa tree is protected in both state parks and national parks of Hawaii, so Koa can only be obtained on private land — and then only after the tree has fallen from natural causes. And given that Smith wanted to use Koa in a Rolls-Royce, not simply any piece of Koa would do. The Wood Specialist at Rolls-Royce (yes, there is such a job title) felt there was a “one in a million chance” of finding the right Koa wood sample to dovetail with the luxurious Phantom.
It took three years and considerable negotiation to obtain the one special Koa log needed to create this elegant Bespoke interior. Since Smith wanted “as much wood as we [could] physically get in the car,” ultimately the Koa Phantom required an entire tree, since his vision for the Phantom’s interior was not simply a small piece of Koa trim. As a result, Smith’s car is the first and currently the only Phantom to use Koa.
There’s much more to this special Phantom than simply a preponderance of Koa wood. Mr. Smith wanted the exterior color to match his rare 1934 Packard Twelve Coupe — one of the many cars in the JBS collection. Matching the paint from an 80-year-old car was no cakewalk either. In fact, Smith had a piece of the Packard’s body removed and shipped to Rolls-Royce headquarters in Goodwood, UK, to be color matched. After 40 tries, Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective was able to concoct a perfect match, creating the deep Packard Blue hue.
Leather and Koa Wood
Rolls-Royce designers were also able to match the Dove Grey interior color of the Packard — now found throughout the interior of the Koa Phantom. Dove Grey leather is offset with Navy Blue highlights and piping, all of which displays brilliantly with the Koa wood.
Koa Wood Appointments
Interior designers also employed the deep-hued wood for the entire dashboard, as well as trim on the steering wheel, doors, picnic tables and seats.
Dashes of Dove Grey also highlight the Koa Phantom’s exterior, including a hand-painted coachline that runs the length of the vehicle as well as matching wheel center pinstripes.
The driver door features the initials JBS Jr, while the front passenger door carries the initials LAS — those of Mrs. Smith.
Spirit of Ecstasy
Completing the elegant appearance is a solid sterling silver Spirit of Ecstasy ornament residing above the classic Rolls-Royce grille.
Ultimate Back Seat
Although Mr. Smith enjoys driving the many cars of his collection, he may want to ride in the back of his new Phantom. This Phantom Extended Wheelbase is the first in the U.S. to features Rolls-Royce Serenity Seats, which recline with powered legrests and massage functions.
A champagne fridge rests between the rear seats, replete with a pair of crystal flutes and decanter — all engraved with the owner’s initials, of course.
Bespoke Starlight Headliner
One of the most innovative features in any Rolls-Royce is the Starlight Headliner, which provides the appearance of twinkling stars above, complete with shooting stars. In this Bespoke Phantom, the 1,420 fiber-optic lights on the Navy Blue leather headliner depict the constellations as they appeared above Mr. Smith’s hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, on the date of his birth.
And as breathtaking as many aspects of this Koa Phantom are, the piece de resistance is a handcrafted Koa wood picnic hamper. Made with the special wood, Dove Grey saddle leather and stainless steel, the hamper includes wine glasses and decanters handmade at the Ajka Crystal factory in Hungary, stainless-steel cutlery handmade in England, and Wedgewood porcelain plates. On the exterior and interior of the basket are stainless steel plaques that carry the owners’ names.
Delivered at Last
“This Bespoke creation joins a collection of truly notable and historic motor cars,” said Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Torsten Muller-Otvos. “The Koa Phantom demonstrates the extraordinary skill of the Rolls-Royce Bespoke Collective — a precious and rare example of a naturally sourced material, Koa Wood, is masterfully incorporated into Phantom’s contemporary interior,” noted Muller-Otvos.
Joining the Collection
The Bespoke Koa Phantom takes its place in the JBS car collection, comprised of about 60 vehicles including four other Rolls-Royces: a 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Pall Mall, a 2011 Rolls-Royce Corniche, a 2011 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Drophead Coupe, and a 2015 Roll-Royce Phantom. And now a Koa Phantom three years in the making joins the ranks — and for Smith it was worth the wait.