Birth of the Black Badge

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The history of the Rolls-Royce Black badge
 

The Black Badge has been a successful nameplate under the Rolls-Royce cars hat, but do you know how and when this luxury brand appealing to younger clientele came into existence? If not then read on to find out

Words by: Harshit Srinivas

Rolls-Royce, for several years, has delighted us with some of the most luxurious cars under the Black Badge label. The Cullinan, Dawn, Wraith and the Ghost are the ones currently in this special range, but did you know these cars are way more than just colourful interiors and a mild performance upgrade? Shocked! What if we tell you that the Black Badge trim was actually introduced for the customers to get their Rolls-Royce based on historic models, and also to meet their demands to get special equipment fitted in the car? Couldn’t believe what you read, right? Well, then, allow us to start with three such cars that introduced the Black Badge series to the world.

Phantom II Continental (1933)
Rolls-Royce introduced the Phantom II Continental in the 1930s. A car with a short chassis and compact coupe bodywork was produced and created at the request of the company’s co-founder Henry Royce. The experimental model was based on the drawings where the body was created with a retracted subframe for greater stability. Also, the spare wheels were moved from the front fender to the rear side accounting for great weight distribution. The production spec also won the Grand Prix d’Honneur, and this is when Rolls-Royce decided to manufacture a small batch of these cars, originating the Black Badge series.

Phantom V (1960)
In the year 1959, the fifth-gen Rolls-Royce Phantom debuted replacing the Silver Wraith. Aimed to cater to customers who like to go chauffeur-driven, the car was produced with a classic saloon bodywork in a black paint finish in large numbers. Complementing the black body paint was the glossy black finish for the vertical parts making the Phantom V the most elegant Rolls-Royce made till date. Also, this was the first car to have an umbrella along with a holder, and in addition had a set of larger headlamps, fog lamps, smaller tail lamps and exterior door mirrors alongside sliding shutters for rear windows. The Phantom V also served as a daily driver to HRH Henry, The Duke of Gloucester, and the third son of King George V, who ordered the Phantom V with a special chassis number 5AT30.

Phantom V (1965)
Impressed by the Duke of Gloucester, using the Phantom V as his daily driver, John Lennon decided to order himself one too. But things were different in his Phantom V, as he wanted the car to be finished in all-black inside-out. He also insisted on getting the chrome treatments and stainless steel parts, to be finished in shining black. And, then as per his requests, Mulliner Park Ward created this one and in 1964 came out one of the first cars, in all black with just the radiator grille and Spirit of Ecstasy in chrome. Even John Lennon got the rear of the car darkened to protect himself from unwanted glances. Also, the partition between the cockpit and rear side of the cabin was darkened for the security purposes. 

That said, this is how the Black Badge nameplate came into existence. Obviously, the aforementioned cars are not the only cars to be held responsible for the origination of the Black Badge series, but certainly, the customary request associated with them has given birth to the Black Badge series. The Black Badge now on its own has established itself as a brand that appeals more to the younger clientele while the outgoing cars on which they are based, appeal to those who like the cars to be classy symbolising the epitome of premium lifestyle.

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