Rolls-Royce Motor Cars celebrates the 110th anniversary of the Spirit of Ecstasy – its official emblem. The intellectual property of the design was registered on 6 February 1911, establishing a defining feature of the Rolls-Royce brand and one of the most famous, iconic and desirable symbols of luxury in the world. Almost unaltered throughout her long and storied life, the Spirit of Ecstasy graces the bonnet of every Rolls-Royce motor car built at the Home of Rolls-Royce, Goodwood.
“As an emblem, the Spirit of Ecstasy represents far more than just our company and our products. To our customers, she is a potent symbol, instantly and universally recognised – of success, endeavour, achievement and standing. In her beauty, simplicity, elegance and rarity, she encapsulates everything our customers seek – and find – in their Rolls-Royce motor car.
“Within our company, the Spirit of Ecstasy fosters pride and esprit de corps, uniting and empowering the Rolls-Royce family right across the world. She reminds us of our inheritance and principles, and inspiring greatness in all of us. Every car we build must be worthy of bearing her, because it is she that makes every Rolls-Royce, and our company, unique and complete.” – Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive Officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
Her design was taken from a bronze statuette, entitled the ‘Whisper’, created by Sculptor and Illustrator Charles Sykes for his employer, motoring pioneer and Rolls-Royce early-adopter Lord Montagu of Beaulieu. The company’s foundational connection between the automotive and art worlds continues today with MUSE, The Rolls-Royce Art Programme, a lead protagonist in the world of moving-image art.
The first Spirit of Ecstasy figurines stood a statuesque seven inches (c. 18cm) tall. Today, she is a more petite three ¾ inches (9.5cm). She is kept safely out of sight within a special housing in the bonnet until the engine starts, when she takes the stage smoothly and gracefully by a precisely engineered mechanism known as ‘the rise’.