Geneva 2004 – Rolls-Royce 100EX Concept

Many convertibles debuted at Geneva, but the Rolls-Royce 100EX was certainly the most outlandish and, some say, garish. The first Rolls concept since the British automaker was taken over by BMW in 1998, it commemorates the 100th birthday of Rolls this May. “EX” stands for experimental, Rolls-Royce’s traditional nomenclature for what we now know as a concept car. The nautically themed 100EX has bleached teak “decking” both inside, on the floor, and outside, on top of the hard tonneau cover, as well as on the floor of the trunk. The 100EX’s huge grille, rather than standing ramrod straight like the Phantom sedan’s, curves backward slightly, joining with a huge plane of polished aluminum that spreads across the hood and up the triangulated A-pillars and windshield frame, greatly enhancing rigidity and, arguably, aesthetics. Rolls claims that rear-seat passengers are as well-cossetted as they are in the Phantom, especially since the doors are hinged at the rear, easing ingress and egress. Although the 100EX is based on the Phantom’s aluminum spaceframe structure, its wheelbase is four inches shorter, and the car rides three inches lower and is about half a foot shorter overall. There are no plans to produce the 100EX at this time, but obviously Rolls is aware that it needs more offerings and that the long-running Corniche was one of its most popular models in the U.S., an important market.

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