For petrolheads around the world, 2 May was a day to remember as Rolls-Royce Motor Cars announced that it would be ceasing the production of its Dawn convertible. The much-beloved model first debuted at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show as the successor to the Phantom Drophead Coupe.
Rolls-Royce said the Dawn was the “best-selling drophead in the brand’s history as it takes its own unique place in the pantheon of great Rolls-Royce motor cars.” Its mission was to appeal to “an increasingly youthful, universally self-confident and sociable client base”, and it delivered results.
The history of the Dawn, however, could be traced further back to the early 50s — the Silver Dawn drophead coupe. Its modern reincarnation perfectly embodied the expression “la dolce vita“. As a brand representing ultimate luxury and pleasure, the phrase rings aptly as owning a Rolls-Royce car is about savouring every moment and living fully in the present.
“In reviving the Dawn nameplate, Rolls-Royce reinvigorated something much more than a motor car — like the glamourous convertible it drew inspiration from, the contemporary Dawn has come to characterise a modern expression of ‘la dolce vita’; a way of living that embraces the beauty and richness of life,” shared Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
Dawn’s success prompted the marque to launch an even more powerful Black Badge model in 2017. The standard model is a V12 twin-turbo engine with 563 hp and 820 Nm while the latter delivers 593 hp and 840 Nm of torque. The discontinuation of the Dawn also marked a step closer for the brand towards electrification. Its first electric car, Spectre, will reach showrooms at the end of 2023.
The design of the Dawn was influenced by the fashion trends of the 1950s and 1960s, which emphasised elegance through minimalism and accentuating the wearer’s silhouette. This is reflected in the car’s sleek and uncomplicated design, which envelops the passengers luxuriously and fashionably, similar to how a raised collar on a coat can provide comfort and privacy. As a result, the interior of the Dawn offers a stylish and comfortable environment for its occupants.
About 80 per cent of the Dawn’s panels were made new, including its “wake channel” on the bonnet, which Rolls-Royce’s Spirit of Ecstasy is traditionally found. Additionally, the marque is not shy about breaking away from the norm. Instead of conforming to the usual configuration for a convertible where only the driver and the front passenger get full-size seating, the Dawn has been designed to provide comfort to all four occupants.
Elsewhere, instead of a hardtop, its designers decided that the Dawn’s roof would be created from fabric “to retain the romance of listening to raindrops on canvas”. Extensive research is devoted to optimising the best convertible experience and the result has made Rolls-Royce one of the leading marques in aerodynamic comfort with the roof down. Furthermore, the Dawn is famously dubbed “the world’s quietest convertible”.
“As production of Dawn draws to a close, we can reflect on an extraordinary chapter in the marque’s history. This beautiful motor car perfectly embodies contemporary luxury while celebrating the marque’s founding principles and heritage,” said Müller-Ötvös.
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