Rolls-Royce Wraith

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1938 Rolls-Royce Wraith with closed coupé bodywork by De Villars

The Rolls-Royce Wraith was built by Rolls-Royce at their Derby factory from 1938 to 1939 and supplied to independent coachbuilders as a running chassis.

Wraith is also the name of a new coupé announced by Rolls-Royce in 2013.

Wraith is an old Scottish word meaning Ghost or Spirit

Rolls-Royce Wraith (1938–1939)[edit]

Rolls-Royce Wraith
SC06 1939 Rolls-Royce Wraith Limousine.jpg
Manufacturer Rolls-Royce Ltd
Production 1938–39 (chassis)
492 produced[1]
Body and chassis
Related Bentley Mark V
Engine 4257 cc Straight 6
Transmission 4 speed manual
Wheelbase 3.45 m (136 inches)
Length 5.15 m (203 inches)[1]
Width 1.87 m (74 inches)[1]
Kerb weight 1.9 tons (approx)
Predecessor 25/30
Successor Silver Wraith

Chassis design[edit]

The in-line six cylinder, overhead valve, 4,257 cc engine was based on that of the 25/30 but featured a cross-flow cylinder head. The four-speed gearbox had synchromesh on second, third and fourth speeds and retained the traditional right hand change.[1] The later engines were used as the basis for the Bentley MK V and the Corniche.

The Wraith featured an independent coil sprung front suspension based on a Packard 120 retaining semi elliptical leaf springs on the rear axle.[citation needed] The hydraulic dampers at the front had their damping rate controlled by governor and so varied with the speed of the car, making it superior to its predecessor, the 25/30 H.P. and on par with the Phantom III. The car was still built on a separate chassis but this was now of welded rather than the traditional riveted construction. The drum brakes were assisted by a mechanical servo driven by the engine patented by Hispano-Suiza and built by Rolls-Royce under licence. Wire wheels of 17 inch diameter were fitted, with the spokes usually covered by removable discs. A built in hydraulic jacking system was fitted operated by a lever under the passenger seat.


Cars based on the Wraith chassis could reach 85 mph (137 km/h); this was very dependent on the weight and style of body fitted. In one test by "The Motor" magazine in October 1938, a 0–50 mph time of 16.4 seconds was recorded.


In 1938, a typical touring car cost £1700, which included the chassis cost of £1100. 492 chassis were made. Although chassis were only produced in 1939, cars bearing 1940 or later delivery and registration dates are not uncommon. Some cars were finished off during early 1940. Others were held in storage and sold and first registered during the war years. A few were actually bodied during wartime. In addition, 16 prewar chassis were bodied in early 1946 and duly delivered to the government. The final Wraith was delivered in 1947.

Movie and book appearances[edit]

Rolls Royce Wraiths are featured in My Favorite Brunette (1947) and in a brief scene of Johnny Dangerously (1984).[2] The eponymous registration plate of the novel NOS4A2 belongs to a Rolls-Royce Wraith. A Rolls-Royce Wraith is also featured in the Man from U.N.C.L.E. episode 'The Foxes and Hounds Affair' (season 2, episode 4).

The vampire Lara Raith temporarily provides wizard Harry Dresden with the use of a 1939 Rolls Royce Silver Wraith in Turn Coat (novel).

Rolls-Royce Wraith (2013–)[edit]

Rolls-Royce Wraith
2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith, diamond black fR.jpg
Manufacturer Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
Production 2013–
Model years 2014–
Assembly United Kingdom: Goodwood, England (Goodwood manufacturing)
Designer Pavle Trpinac
Body and chassis
Class Full-size car
Body style 2-door coupé
Layout Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Platform BMW F01
Related Rolls-Royce Ghost
BMW 7 Series (F01)
Engine 6,592 cc (402.3 cu in) twin-turbo V12[3]
Transmission 8-speed automatic[3]
Wheelbase 3,112 mm (122.5 in)
Length 5,268 mm (207.4 in)
Width 1,948 mm (76.7 in)
Kerb weight 2,440 kg (5,379.3 lb)


On 18 January 2013, calling it the "car Charles Rolls would choose to drive", Rolls-Royce announced the Wraith as a model that would "indulge a passion for innovation, engineering and adventure".[citation needed][4] Its chassis design was created by a Serbian designer, Pavle Trpinac.[5] It has been reported that this will be the fastest British car to be built by Rolls-Royce.[6][7][8]

Rear view, showing the rear-hinged doors

A four-seat coupé based on the chassis of the Rolls-Royce Ghost, the vehicle was unveiled at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show,[9][10][11] followed by luxury department store Harrods in Knightsbridge, London,[12] Beijing Art Zone,[13] 2013 Concorso d'Eleganza, Villa d'Este,[14] Singapore,[15] Moscow,[16] Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Academy in Guangzhou,[17] Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Brussels in Belgium,[18] 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed,[19] Concours d'Elegance Japan 2013,[20] Euro Motors in Bahrain,[21] India (including New Delhi,[22] Mumbai,[23] Chandigarh and Hyderabad, Ahmedabad), Rocky Mountaineer Train Station in Vancouver[24]

Deliveries are expected from 4th quarter of 2013. All models include the ZF "8HP90" 8-speed automatic transmission. In anticipation of the unveiling, Rolls-Royce also created a series of pre-promotional animated media for the Wraith.[25][26][27]


Petrol engines[28][29]
Model Years Type/code Power/rpm, Torque/rpm
Wraith 2013- 6,592 cc (402.3 cu in) V12 twin turbo (N74B66) 632 PS (465 kW; 623 hp) at 5600, 800 N·m (590 lb·ft) at 1500–5500

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Bird, Anthony; Hallows, Ian; James, Brendan (2002). The Rolls Royce Motor Car: And the Bentley Since 1931 (6 ed.). Batsford Books. p. 432. ISBN 978-0-7134-8749-7. 
  2. ^ "Rolls-Royce Wraith in Movies and TV series", The Internet Movie Cars Database .
  3. ^ a b "Rolls Royce Wraith 2013". Auto evolution. 
  4. ^ "Rolls-Royce Wraith" (Press release). Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-03-05. "The Honourable Charles Stewart Rolls, one of the company’s founding forefathers, embodies many of Rolls-Royce Wraith’s characteristics. […] he was born an aristocrat but eschewed the path his social standing suggested, choosing instead to indulge a passion for innovation, engineering and adventure. […] Were he alive, this is the car Charles Rolls would choose to drive." 
  5. ^ "Wraith", You tube (video), Google 
  6. ^ Wraith, Rolls‐Royce, retrieved 2013-03-05, "The most potent and technologically advanced Rolls-Royce in history. Wraith is a car for the curious, the confident and the bold. With the power, style and drama to make the world stand still" 
  7. ^ Madslien, Jorn (2013-03-04). "Rolls-Royce unveils 'most powerful' model". Geneva Motor Show: BBC News Online. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  8. ^ Ireson, Nelson (2013-03-04). "2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith Unveiled: 2013 Geneva Motor Show". MotorAuthority (Geneva Motor Show: High Gear Media). Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  9. ^ Lienert, Anita (2013-01-18). "2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith Set for 2013 Geneva Auto Show". Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  10. ^ "Most Dynamic and Powerful Rolls-Royce in History Set for Debut at Geneva Motor Show" (Press release). Rolls‐Royce. 2013-01-18. Retrieved 2013-03-05. 
  11. ^ "2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith is everything you need, everything you don't", Auto blog, Mar 6, 2013 .
  12. ^ Wraith UK debut in Harrod’s window (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  13. ^ Rolls‐Royce unveils Wraith to Northern & central China customers at Art zone Beijing (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  14. ^ Wraith makes its Italian debut by lake Como (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  15. ^ Wraith makes Singapore debut (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  16. ^ Wraith debuts in Russia (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  17. ^ Wraith debuts with Rolls-Royce motor cars academy in South China (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  18. ^ Wraith debuts in Belgium – 100 years after the first Rolls-Royce was sold to a Belgian customer (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  19. ^ World to stand still for Rolls-Royce Wraith at Goodwood festival of speed (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  20. ^ Wraith makes public debut at Yokohama Concours d’elegance (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  21. ^ Wraith makes its Bahrain debut (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  22. ^ Wraith begins India tour (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  23. ^ Wraith premieres in Maharasthra (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  24. ^ Wraith officially arrives in Canada with dramatic Vancouver unveiling (press release), Rolls‐Royce .
  25. ^ Introducing the dramatic new shape from Rolls-Royce, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, retrieved 2013-03-05 
  26. ^ Wraith: And the world will stand still, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, 5 March 13, retrieved 2013-03-05 
  27. ^ The Frozen Moment, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, retrieved 2013-03-05 
  28. ^ Wraith Technical specification USA Version (PDF), Rolls Royce motor cars .
  29. ^ Wraith Technical specification World Version (PDF), Rolls Royce motor cars .

External links[edit]

  • Wraith, Rolls-Royce .
  • Wraith (press kit), Rolls‐Royce .