Iconic Spirit Of Ecstasy Revamped For Most Aerodynamic Rolls-Royce Ever

Rolls-Royce redesigns Spirit of Ecstasy figurine to align with all-electric future.

Photo Credit: Roll-Royce Motor Cars

The Spirit of Ecstasy was officially registered as intellectual property of Rolls-Royce on February 6th, 1911, 111 years ago today. Rolls-Royce has reimagined its iconic Spirit of Ecstasy figurine to grace the bonnet of its new all-electric motor car, Spectre.

“The Spirit of Ecstasy is the most famous and desirable automotive mascot in the world,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “More than just a symbol, she is the embodiment of our brand, and a constant source of inspiration and pride for the marque and its clients. Like our brand, she has moved with the times while staying true to her nature and character. In her new form she is more streamlined and graceful than ever before – the perfect emblem for the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce ever created, and for gracing the prow of our bold electric future.”

The figurine has been remodeled with a lower, more dynamic stance which more closely resembles the original drawings of the early 20th century made by her creator, illustrator and sculptor, Charles Sykes. The redesign of the Spirit of Ecstasy also sees her physical form represent The Expression, which is a visual device that will form a part of the marque’s new visual language.

The new Spirit of Ecstasy stands 82.73mm tall. Its predecessor measured 100.01mm in height. The figurine’s robes, which are often incorrectly characterized as wings, flow behind her in a slipstream and have been subtly reshaped to seem more realistic and aerodynamic.

“111 years ago today, the Spirit of Ecstasy became an official part of Rolls-Royce,” said Anders Warming, Director of Design of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “Yet, she has come to represent a spiritual direction for our brand. Her form perfectly captures the marque – she leans forward, expressing our relentless pursuit of progress, and her dress gracefully flows in the wind, echoing the serenity of our products in motion. For Spectre and beyond, she becomes lower and more focused; braced for unprecedented speed and the exciting future her presence will define.”

Photo Credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

The clearest modification of the redesign of the Spirit of Ecstasy is her stance. Where she previously stood with her feet together, legs straight and tilting at the waist, she is now a true goddess of speed, braced for the wind, one leg forward, body tucked low, her eyes focused eagerly ahead. The changes are not only stylistically beneficial, but practical as well as they will contribute to Spectre’s remarkable aerodynamic properties. The earliest Spectre prototypes have a drag coefficient (cd) of just 0.26, making it the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce ever created. The figure is expected to improve during the product’s exhaustive testing protocols undertaken in 2022.

While the new expression captures the essence of Charles Sykes’ original drawings, it was not merely redrawn or redesigned, rather, the Spirit of Ecstasy’s new shape was digitally sculpted by a computer modeler working at the Home of Rolls-Royce, who has a passion for life drawing and sculpture. Their experience in this field was invaluable in developing the figurine’s elegant life-like facial features as well as her expression, which deftly combines focus and serenity. The designers also consulted stylists at Goodwood for their perspective on her hair, clothes, posture, and expression, adding an authentically contemporary aura to her dynamism and commanding presence.

Photo Credit: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Despite all figurines being made by one of the oldest known casting techniques, named ‘lost wax casting’ or ‘cire-perdue’, each figurine will be unique and minutely different from the other because they are individually finished by hand. As well as continuing a long Rolls-Royce tradition – until 1939, the mascots were made and polished by Charles Sykes himself – this subtle, ephemeral human element creates an intriguing contrast to the precise, highly engineered motor car she sits atop. 

Though relatively rare in the modern era, changes to the Spirit of Ecstasy have been made throughout her 111-year lifespan. She has been rendered in various sizes and materials and, briefly, in a kneeling position. The new version created for Spectre will appear on all future models: the current design will still be used on Phantom, Ghost, Wraith, Dawn and Cullinan and their Black Badge alter egos where applicable.