Rolls-Royce Project Cullilan begins testing

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Rolls-Royce PROJECT CULLINAN 1 (1)

The reason you see a ultra short wheelbase Phantom Series II on steroids with a spoiler affixed is this – Rolls-Royce has officially started testing Project Cullilan, its upcoming SUV, or a “high-bodied car”, as Rolls-Royce would like to put it.

Rather than let photographers hang around Goodwood and releasing grainy pictures to the fans, Rolls itself has released the first set of pictures of the test mule on which this SUV will be based. They have no reason to worry about this move lessening the impact of the final vehicle when it is unveiled though, because this is only a test bed, or “engineering mule” as they refer to it in their press release. Actually, they also call their press release an “open letter” (below) so there’s that.

Rolls-Royce says that this early engineering mule, based on a shortened Phantom Series II body, has been created purely to begin the development of an all-wheel drive suspension system that will deliver a ride that they say will be “Effortless … Everywhere”- essentially stick to Rolls-Royce’s wafting scheme of things.  The body may hint at the size of the new car, but it features no design aspects of the eventual high-sided, all-terrain motor car announced by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars in February this year.

The first series of tests will focus on Project Cullilan’s on-road behavior from suspension throw to high-bodied stability, and willtest the new suspension across all types of international road surface specification at test facilities, as well as on public roads. Test surfaces will include Belgian Pavé, cobblestones, corrugated concrete, noise development and measurement surfaces, resonance road, and acceleration bumps.

The photographs are of the first engineering mule, which will be seen on public roads this week.

Rolls-Royce PROJECT CULLINAN 1 (2)

In its open letter on 18 February this year, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars gave an undertaking to inform stakeholders of the progress of Project Cullinan.

Goodwood, Wednesday 18th February 2015 : An Open Letter from the Chairman and the Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars on the subject of a new Rolls-Royce

“The launch of Phantom in 2003 marked the beginning of the renaissance of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. Since then, we have set a new benchmark for what a super-luxury car should be – unique, hand-crafted, beautiful and rare. Often imitated, Phantom has never been equalled and continues to be hailed as ‘The Best Car in the World’ by our customers and media alike.

Twelve years later, after the introduction of successful new models like Ghost and Wraith, Rolls-Royce stands proudly at the pinnacle of British luxury manufacturing, confirming our custodianship of this precious marque.

Now we have reached another seminal moment in Rolls-Royce’s 111-year journey.

Today we confirm that we are developing an all-new Rolls-Royce with exceptional presence, elegance and purpose:

  • A car that offers the luxury of a Rolls-Royce in a vehicle that can cross any terrain.
  • A car that meets our customers’ highly mobile, contemporary lifestyle expectations.
  • A Rolls-Royce that is as much about the pioneering, adventurous spirit of Charles Rolls as it is about Sir Henry Royce’s dedication to engineering and innovation.
  • A car that appropriately reflects Rolls-Royce’s brand promise of effortless luxury.
  • A high-bodied car, with an all-new aluminium architecture.
  • A unique new motor car worthy of carrying the Spirit of Ecstasy into the future.

Rolls-Royce PROJECT CULLINAN 1 (3)

This new Rolls-Royce will be Effortless …. Everywhere.

Many of our discerning customers have urged us to develop this new car – and we have listened. At Rolls-Royce Motor Cars we are uniquely focused on the desires of our customers and are driven by our own thirst to innovate. So we challenged our engineers and design team, led by Director of Design Giles Taylor, to create a different and exceptional new car.

This car will embody all the values and capabilities that drove our two Founding Fathers to secure Rolls-Royce’s reputation, early last century, by taking top honours in rigorous overland adventures such as the Scottish Reliability Trials, the London to Edinburgh event and the Alpine Trials.

Rolls-Royces conveyed pioneers and adventurers like Lawrence of Arabia across the vastness of unexplored deserts and over mountain ranges. In other parts of the world including Australia, India and the Americas, Rolls-Royces carried their owners over challenging terrain with absolute reliability and comfort.

History sets our precedent and our future calls us to action.

This new journey begins now. We will take our time in developing and perfecting this new concept in luxury. We will include our customers, enthusiasts and media along the way and will keep you informed of our progress.

Until then, rest assured, we are creating a motor car in the greatest traditions of our marque.

Sir Henry Royce famously said: “When it does not exist, design it”.

We are doing just that.”

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