It took 2 years and 10,000 hours for Rolls-Royce to perfect an illuminated dashboard

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

The Rolls-Royce Ghost will be the first model to feature the technology.

At the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex, England. Artisans, designers, engineers, and craftspeople work together to anticipate the desires of the company’s high-end clientele. Not only are they charged with coming up with extraordinary offerings meant to appeal to the upper crust, they need to deliver customization options that are different from every other automotive manufacturer.

The coach builders extraordinaire at Rolls-Royce have spent two years and over 10,000 hours to deliver Illuminated Fascia. The feature will make its debut in the forthcoming Rolls-Royce Ghost on September 1.

Rolls-Royce Ghost sketch
The next-gen Rolls-Royce Ghost will debut later this year
Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motors Cars

“Illuminated Fascia is perfectly in tune with the Post Opulent design direction we pursued with new Ghost,” said Michael Bryden, Lead Bespoke Designer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “This elegant and minimal aesthetic is a specific response to the layer of clients who respond to Ghost: men and women who share a desire for a clean, pared-back expression of Rolls-Royce. Like the rest of the motor car’s progressive design, this hidden-until-lit feature hides the complexity required to create a sense of effortless luxury with a simple decorative statement.”

The fascia consists of 850 “stars” that illuminate on the dashboard, glowing and surrounding the model’s name. The design is meant to echo the available Starlight Headliner in Rolls-Royce models that has become nearly as synonymous with the company’s deign as the Spirit of Ecstasy and Pantheon Grille.

Crafting the Illuminated Fascia came from the design brief for Ghost. With the new car, designers set out to “pursue a Post Opulent design direction”. The idea for the fascia came straight from the mouths of current Ghost owners. Superficial detailing was set aside for a more bespoke creation – one that does not use screens technology but rather a system of 152 LEDs mounted above and beneath the fascia, which are meticulously color-matched to the cabin’s clock and instrument dial lighting.

A two millimeter thick light guide consisting of more than 90,000 laser-etched dots is used to ensure that the Ghost logo is lit evenly. This allows future Ghost owners to enjoy a twinkling effect as the eye moves across the element.

When the car is not operation, the Illuminated Fascia simply disappears into the background. To achieve this, the company used three layers of composite material: Piano Black substrate that laser etched to remove the black coloring is overlaid with a layer of dark tinted lacquer then the whole area is sealed with a subtly tinted lacquer before being hand-polished to achieve a perfectly uniform 0.5 millimeter-thick high-gloss finish.

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