Rolls-Royce has officially ended production of the Dawn convertible

By topgear, 05 May 2023

Considering Rolls-Royce tends to eschew explicit technical language and employs vocabulary that uses phrases like ‘power reserve’, we won’t be so crass as to say the 'Dawn is dead’. Mostly because that’s a brilliant zombie film.

No, we shall instead suggest the extraordinary Rolls-Royce Dawn has ‘retired’, with RR officially announcing the end of its production run.

Indeed, at the launch of the car there was less talk of the whisper-silent 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12 underneath those vast flanks, and more on how it made you feel.

“When you arrive somewhere, we want you to feel that you’ve experienced something truly special,” Rolls-Royce told at the car’s launch. “It used to be that you’d get an idea of what it was like to be Cary Grant or Grace Kelly.

“We’re not just creating cars at Rolls-Royce, we’re designing experiences.”

An experience that helped usher in a new generation of customers for RR. Taking up the baton from the Phantom Drophead Coupe that preceded it, the Dawn’s primary responsibility was to appeal to this emerging “youthful, universally self-confident and sociable client base” that was “drawn to the Rolls-Royce brand”.

Much like RR’s ‘Goodwood era’, these buyers wanted a contemporary take on a car Grant or Kelly would have happily smoked around in. And lo, it took the nameplate from the last true coach-built RR: just 28 Silver Dawns were built between 1948 and 1952, each one bodied individually.

Indeed the new Dawn was set apart from its RR stablemates, too. While it deployed the Ghost’s powertrain, 80 per cent of the body panels were new, including that ‘wake channel’ on the vast bonnet emanating from the Spirit of Ecstasy. Few cars offered so much real estate; few convertibles offered genuine space for four.

Rolls-Royce spent months honing the cabin’s airflow with the roof down – neither eliminating it completely nor allowing it to disrupt passenger comfort. A dummy – sorry, mannequin – with a “wig of long, flowing hair” was chauffeured for hundreds of hours while sensors and cameras monitored the way its hair was affected by the airflow, so that Rolls could tailor the Dawn’s shape to ensure an optimum experience.

“Dawn truly reflects the joy of good company, the thrill of adventure and the peace of quiet reflection,” RR boss Torsten Müller-Ötvös said.

“Indeed, this motor car is a testament to the modern art of living, recalling ‘la dolce vita’ spirit in every detail.” What language for its successor, we wonder…

STORY Vijay Pattni

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