“Exploration is wired into our brains. If we can see the horizon, we want to know what’s beyond.” This is a quote by the former American astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the Moon during the renowned 1969 Apollo 11 mission. And since time immemorial, humans have been fascinated with what lies beyond our planet and our curiosity has only grown deeper through the ages. The race to space does not only pertain to companies or agencies like NASA; on the ground, car manufacturers are also looking towards the cosmos for inspiration.
British luxury car maker Rolls-Royce has recently unveiled the Black Badge Cullinan “Blue Shadow” Private Collection, which the marque said explores the “beauty and mystery of space” while never leaving the comfort of the car’s cabin. To create this spellbinding vehicle, Rolls-Royce’s team of designers looked towards the Kármán Line for inspiration. For those unfamiliar with the Kármán Line, it is an invisible boundary that defines the edge of space and is 62 miles above the Earth’s surface. Coincidentally, only 62 “Blue Shadow” examples have been made and are available exclusively through the brand’s Private Offices.
“Blue Shadow is a testament to our relentless pursuit of perfection and a celebration of the spirit of exploration, designed for the unique individuals who expand horizons and represent the very best of human endeavour,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.
The Kármán Line is an ethereal region where the Earth’s blueness slowly fades and mixes with the blackness of space. This creates an intense dark-blue zone where darkness is visible, and more than a place for admiration, it is a mysterious world reserved for adventurous individuals who appreciate its serenity and unique atmosphere.
Starting from the “Blue Shadow” facade, it is painted in a new shimmering hue called “Stardust Blue”, which recalls the rich blue tones seen at the upper layers of the Earth’s atmosphere. The special Cullinan features a satin-tinted grille surround and aero bumper insert reminiscent of the thermal tiles used to protect Space Shuttles during atmospheric re-entry.
The same materials used in spacecrafts were utilised to craft the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy. The 3D printing technique involved titanium, which was then coated with a layer of blue-tinted lacquer. This added a pearlescent finish while revealing the titanium’s grained texture. The base of the Spirit of Ecstasy features the Black Badge infinity logo and the name of the “Blue Shadow” Private Collection, both of which are engraved and infilled with Charles Blue. Additionally, the wheels of Blue Shadow have been given a subtle darkening effect using translucent lacquer to complete the exterior look.
The blueish theme continues into the interior of the car’s dashboard and door panels. Specifically, the transitional shades of blue to black are captured using six layers of paint, where they are blended flawlessly to create a captivating three-dimensional effect. As with all Rolls-Royce cars, a bespoke clock is fitted and designed to reflect the Kármán Line with its blue anodised details and “Blue Shadow” engraving.
Looking up, Rolls-Royce’s fabled Starlight Headliner also gets an upgrade. Instead of just being surrounded by stars, an intricate embroidery of the Moon joins the celestial bodies. Sitting in the “Blue Shadow” is like one is brought to the edge of space and given front-row seats to admire these sparkling marvels up close. The embroidery comprises five different thread colours that create a distinct texture representing the Moon’s surface with its multitude of craters in three dimensions, and the embroidery process takes two full days to complete and involves 250,000 individual stitches.
The Starlight Headliner creates a soothing aura in the cabin, evoking a feeling of amazement. It boasts 1,183 stars, consisting of 799 white and 384 blue lights, meticulously inserted into the leather canvas through perforated holes that are accurately marked and punched by hand.
In a first-of-its-kind showcase, Rolls-Royce has made a unique and remarkable change by adding a perforated artwork to both the front and rear seats. This artwork is inspired by the stunning view of Earth from space and is created by using tiny perforations in luscious leather. The pattern resembles the graceful swirls of ever-shifting clouds over the continents and oceans. Each seat has over 75,000 perforations and had to undergo a meticulous design process that lasted two weeks before it was finally applied to these bespoke Cullinan.
Accompanying the “Blue Shadow” is a series of accessories the owners would need to travel to the edge of Earth. This includes a luggage set that corresponds to the colourway of the car. Furthermore, the owners can commission a 1:8 scale replica of the Black Badge Cullinan “Blue Shadow” with functional lights, coach doors, and a detailed interior. All 62 units have all found their respective owners.
For more car reads, click here.