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$400K-Plus 2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Carries Secret Messaging

The latest limited-edition luxury coupe from Goodwood is part car, part mystery.

Billy RehbockWriterManufacturerPhotographer

What would happen if Sherlock Holmes and criminal mastermind Professor James Moriarity set aside their differences to create a car? The two famous characters from Arthur Conan Doyle's crime novels operate on opposite sides of the law but share a passion for puzzles, so would make sense if they designed something like the 2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos. Make no mistake, the Kryptos (thanks to its secret messaging) is as much an enigma as it is a means of transportation.

Passion for Puzzles

The British luxury automaker says the concept for this 2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Collection was borne out of Rolls-Royce Bespoke designer Katrin Lehmann's passion for cryptography. The Wraith Kryptos Collection hides secret messaging concealed in a series of glyphs found throughout the car's interior and exterior. The Wraith Kryptos is the latest addition to the marque's line of "Collection Cars," which are produced in themed batches by a select design team.

Remarking on the project, Lehmann said, "As a designer, I've always been fascinated by the notion that you can communicate messages that are understood by only an elite few, using symbols, pictograms, and ciphers. Finding the key becomes integral to appreciating the full meaning of an item that can otherwise be viewed simply as a work of art." For once, it doesn't just take money to be elite, it takes brainpower, too.

Rather than divulge the 2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Collection's secret messaging to its clients, Rolls-Royce gamified the car-ownership experience by placing cyphers throughout the vehicle. Rolls-Royce says "the code is so secret that only two people at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood know the full resolution of the sequence—the designer and the chief executive." In proper detective-novel fashion, the secret messaging is hidden in a sealed envelope in the CEO's safe.

Bespoke Design

The Spirit of Ecstasy adorns the hood, but not without some additional customizations to the iconic ornament. The cypher motif is introduced here at the base of the figurine, engraved with green enamel detailing. Delphic Grey paint covers the exterior, a unique color that combines a base layer of anthracite (sic) with blue and green mica flakes which are visible only in sunlight. Rolls-Royce painted the coachline—the decorative horizontal stripe which runs along the length of the body—"Kryptos Green," which is supported by a shadowed line of Dark Grey paint.

Rolls-Royce says the design invokes a "data stream," with instances of the pattern appearing on the dashboard, headliner, and a "cryptic motif" on the headrests in the place of the usual "double R" logo—perhaps this is a hint useable for decoding the cypher. The doors of the 2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Collection also have lighting accents that hype up the mysterious ambiance. The Bespoke design team brought the Kryptos Green color into the cabin with the installation of a leather headliner of the same color.

As Elusive as an Actual Wraith

Under the hood of the 2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Collection is the same 6.6-liter, twin-turbo V-12 engine producing 642 horsepower and 605 lb-ft of torque that powers the regular Rolls-Royce Wraith. The engine is mated to an eight-speed transmission which sends power to the rear wheels. Although those are still some impressive numbers, this car is much more about owning an incredibly limited vehicle with the embellishment of a designer's vision.

We do not imagine that the overlap between big-budget buyers and cypher enthusiasts comprises a large demographic, but Rolls-Royce seems to think the answer is in the ballpark of 50 people—that's how many examples of the 2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Collection the company will produce. There's no word yet on pricing, but expect the starting MSRP to exceed $400,000.

Rolls-Royce customers are this week able to express interest in the car to their dealer, with deliveries likely to commence in late 2020. If you do purchase a 2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Collection or manage to decode the cypher or even partial messaging completely from the embedded video and photos in our gallery, let us know so we can update this story and share the secret message with the world. As Sherlock Holmes would say, the game is afoot!

2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Collection Quick Facts:

  • Rolls-Royce will build just 50 examples
  • The car contains secret messaging the owner will need to decipher to uncover
  • Only two people now know what the messages say
  • 2021 Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Collection wears Rolls-Royce Bespoke accents inside and out, including special paint with blue and green mica flakes
2020 Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos Collection Specifications
Price: $400,000-plus (base) (est)
Engine: 6.6L twin-turbo 48-valve V-12/624 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 605 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Layout: 2-door, 4-passenger, front-engine, RWD coupe
EPA Mileage: 12/18 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H: 207.4 x 76.7 x 59.3 in
Wheelbase: 122.5 in
Weight: 5,380 lb
0-60 MPH: 4.4 sec (est)
Top Speed: 155 mph