Rolls Royce Honors World Speed Record Holder With New Landspeed Edition
Capturing Captain George Eyston’s pioneering spirit, luxury car brand Rolls Royce debuts the Rolls Royce Wraith and Dawn Black Badge.
British engineer, inventor, and racing driver. Captain George Eyston is all these and more. However, he is famously known for setting three land speed records using a Rolls Royce Engine between 1937 and 1939.
Born in 1897, George Eyston was fascinated with motorsports ever since his childhood days. He’d race both cars and (under an assumed name) motorcycles while still at school. Come 1935, Eyston was among the first British racers to travel to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where he set new 24-hour and 48-hour endurance speed records.
And after two years, he then returned to the Flats and set three world land speed records with the Thunderbolt.
The Thunderbolt was powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce R supercharged 37-liter, V-12 aero engines—each producing well over 2,000 horsepower (1491.4 kW). Around only 19 of these engines were ever made. Indeed, they were so rare that Thunderbolt’s engines had a previous career in the Schneider Trophy-winning Supermarine S6.B seaplane. And this would soon lay the foundations for the legendary Spitfire.
The Landspeed Duo
80 years after, the brand launched two new models with R V12 engines—a Rolls Royce Wraith and Dawn Black Badge. Both were inspired by his heroic feat.
The Collection Car duo is presented in a specially created two-tone finish, which marries Black Diamond Metallic with a new Bespoke color, Bonneville Blue. This specially developed hue bears particular significance to the Collection with a color that transitions under sunlight from light blue to silver, illustrating the reflections of both the vast sky over Bonneville and the crisp salt flats on the Thunderbolt’s aluminum body.
“The Collection, which includes both [the] Wraith and Dawn Black Badge, celebrates someone with exactly that dauntless, fearless, pioneering spirit,” Torsten Müller-Ötvös, the CEO of Rolls Royce Motor Cars, said. “His name was Captain George Eyston—a Cambridge University graduate, racing driver, gifted inventor, and engineering genius. He was a true hero from the age of epic endeavors, yet both he and Thunderbolt have been all but forgotten for more than 80 years.”
But with the debut of the Wraith and Dawn Black Badge, Captain George Eyston’s legacy lives on.