Our yacht inspired aircraft, Skyacht One, set out to answer to the question "Why does the interior of your private plane lack the romance and craft found in your Rolls-Royce or Bentley?" We invested so much in setting a new benchmark with interior of the plane, we looked back and felt compelled to bring the car up to the same standard. To that end, we thought it would be nice to imagine a nautically inspired "fleet" of vehicles that could be matched to any yacht. We based our designs on the incredible Rolls-Royce Wraith. With Rolls-Royce history as our guide, and the plane as our benchmark, we set out to bring as much handmade heritage into the project as we could. By the time we were done, the Wraith had become so transformed it deserved it's own marque, so we chose Regatta. We got pretty excited, so we even put together this brief video interview.
Reviving a classic. The notion of complimenting the Skyacht Aircraft had grown into a mission. Upon examining luxury cars, it was surprising to see how much plastic has crept into them, including Rolls-Royce. In our residential work we employ the finest wood carvers, engravers, sculptors and inlay experts, so skill was not the issue, but to scale that into a practical automotive execution required a partner that was expert in the highest level of limited production vehicles. Clive Hawkins of Aria Group is that expert, and we met for several hours going over my concept sketches for Regatta. The mission was clear. We would combine our talents to build the ultimate wood-inlaid Rolls-Royce. We both love the planking and natural color of a Chris-Craft Riviera, or a legendary Riva. It is truly what makes a power bot magical.We both walked out of the room knowing that Regatta was to be original, challenging, expensive, and extraordinary in every way. A project driven by fine detail, not gilded bragging rights. A firm handshake launched the journey. To that end, it could not be "art for art's sake." It had to be based on a legacy. The research began. Few are aware of the nautical tradition Rolls-Royce began when coachbuilders imagined wood paneled Phantom "Boattail" or "Skiff"designs. Eccentric models for eccentric clients. These nautically inspired classics truly celebrated the art of the great coachbuilders like Labourdette, Hooper, Barker, and others. Marquetry, exposed joinery, brass details and appointments were evident everywhere. Even Rolls-Royce sees this as a key part of their heritage by mimicking the boat shape in their $10M one-off "Sweptail" project. The noticeable absence of wood on their vehicle only illustrates the executional difficulty and rarity of these wood cars. To that end, we see the spectacular inlaid and paneled exotic woods inside and out as the driving signature of Regatta. Found only in collections, these wood paneled vehicles told the transitional story of transport and quintessential luxury by mixing the media. They would be the benchmark for us to surpass. In today's digital world, why not bring the best of digital precision and the lost arts of hand finishing together to build an even better car? Enter Regatta.
We felt the rakish Rolls-Royce Wraith would be a perfect candidate to revive those traditions with a few simple modifications, like practically everything. Satin Aluminum tracery frames a mahogany planked hood, roof and trunk section, lending the powerboat impression in a subtle way.
"We see Regatta as an extraordinary experience, not just a product. We are selling a "making of" journey for the client as they are connected to the process every step of the way as we build this historic vehicle. The real value lies beyond the object. The Regatta is the souvenir of an amazing process of craft, skill and design. All of which we involve the client as a collaborator. Our passion comes from the process of designing bespoke projects that speak through their detail and story, as opposed to the braggadocio of cost or finish. Artifact versus artifice. The scarcity is in the adventure. Our goal is to create something authentic, that, as art does, evokes a satisfying emotion as opposed to just being a trophy of means, Rolls-Royce being such to many. Trophy shelves are never full. Ancient wisdom describes this as "chasing the wind," so designing something to merely outdo breeds a hollow emotional result. We find great satisfaction in challenging ourselves through hard work, and in knowing that there is a sincere appreciation from our clients for our attention to detail. That is where the client shares the story and has an intrinsic and meaningful relationship to it. The Regatta should stand alone as something that emotionally rewards you from a genuine place. Close inspection brings a smile because you saw how hard it was to accomplish and can tell others your story. Our best bespoke work so far exists in secret and will likely remain that way because the clients love it for what it is. That is our highest compliment. The Skyacht One and Regatta were not imagined for a target audience, but because they would be interesting to design, even if never purchased." - Edward Sotto
Hoods will never be the same again. Satin aluminum surrounds the inland hood available in many combinations and types. We show the mahogany and white, yet the species and colors can vary. Clean and crisp. So many customs try so hard to speak louder, Regatta makes a subtle statement in it's attention to the details.
Just as Skyacht has a solid mahogany tail, so does Regatta. We finish the job properly by giving the vehicle a "golden hind" of precision joinery. Special trim lends a fastback look that makes the Rolls-Royce Wraith the perfect subject of the Regatta treatment. Planking reveals the craftsmanship every time you gaze at the silhouette. Regatta is to cars, what Skyacht is to the skies, a breath of fresh air.
Inspiration. The interior of Regatta picks up where the entry of Skyacht One left off. It is a riot of handcrafted details. Marquetry and 15th century inspired intarsia recall the Studiolos of Italy (as pictured.) Each door panel is embedded with metallic details, mother of pearl, and inlaid patterns, then subtly accented by the soft patina of nautical brass inlays and trimmed vents. Speaker grilles are replaced with engraved astrolabes. The seating is offset by ocean blue carpeting and trim, along with hand engraved appointments, bejeweled controls and antique brass exposed mahogany beam structure. Nothing is left to chance and plastic dare not enter. Starry night or tooled leather headliner is a matter of choice. These are features resurrected from classic coach building.
Making Regatta a reality. Intricate wood joinery is the hallmark of Regatta, and the closer you get, the more it rewards your gaze. You might wonder how we can deliver on all of this fine craftsmanship? Can the wood exterior really be done?
Yes, and to the extent you maintain the wood on a boat which is in the elements, you care for Regatta. Today we can use many new methods and materials to apply and protect the veneers. To your point, I was concerned about the execution of this car, given the interior marquetry and engraving that is the handmade essence of what we are doing, I was thrilled to join forces with Aria Group here in California. They build and engineer aircraft interiors and limited production cars for companies like Singer Vehicle Design. The incredible “Singer 911”, the ultimate reimagined Porsche. A stunning achievement and so popular there’s a 2 year waiting list. After touring the Aria plant and sensing the culture of precision they foster, felt Regatta, the “ultimate Rolls Royce” has be built there. Execution is everything.
Here are some images from the workshop of Aria Group. Their shop is an amazing visit, as they can take a project from sketch to reality. The disciplines shown below are examples of what we will use in production of Regatta. We will scan a Wraith into a digital model and from there engineer each new part to perfectly fit into existing car. The best of modern technology supports the best artisanal craftsmanship. Aria has every technique imaginable in it's execution arsenal. From clay modeling, 3D printing, engineering and even milling full size cars of foam, it's all there. The finest leather and trim shop along with perfection in paint. They have experience in limited production vehicles for major manufacturers as well. I was impressed by their track record, but more so by the culture of excellence Clive has bred into the crew. Regatta is in good hands, and as a designer, I'm truly thrilled to be in Clive's amazing sandbox.
Of course, we began exploring many exotic wood species and color schemes and developed a fleet of options. As you view the next gallery, we hope you see something you like.
If you would like to be on our confidential interest list or have further inquiry, feel free to leave us a means of contact here.
I'm Edward Sotto, Regatta designer, thanks for looking us over.
A Fleet for the eyes. Regatta is just that. A fleet of choices that alter mood and emotion. Imagine the possibilities of exotic woods and color schemes, make it your own. Explore.