BBC Autos

The Roundabout Blog

Pinnacle Travel Phantom is a masterpiece of marquetry

About the author

Editor of BBC Autos, Matthew is a former editor at Automobile Magazine and the creator of the digital-only Roadtrip Magazine. His automotive and travel writing has appeared in such magazines as Wired, Popular Science, The Robb Report and Caribbean Travel + Life. He lives in Los Angeles with his wonderful wife and four-year-old daughter.



Buyers of luxury automobiles in China are a patient bunch. Ordering a prestige vehicle is rarely an off-the-lot affair in this market. The purchase process first involves seemingly endless decision-making: paint chips, hide swatches and wood samples are pored over, and options for bespoke customisation – which can add weeks or even months to a car’s build time – are explored.

So it is no surprise that Rolls-Royce chose Auto China, held this year in Beijing, to unveil the Pinnacle Travel Phantom, a customised edition of its flagship sedan – a car intended, through elaborate marquetry, to celebrate allure of luxury travel. China spent some $125bn on travel last year, according to the United Nations-published World Tourism Barometer, making it the world’s top outbound market for the second year running.

The long-wheelbase Pinnacle Travel Phantom features a two-tone exterior colour scheme: Madeira Red over Silver Sand, with a red pinstripe intended to evoke a speeding train. Inside, seats, headliner, pillars and door inserts wear Morello Red and Seashell hides, with Morello Red lambswool floor mats.

The car’s main attraction, however, is its woodworking. Rolls-Royce claims the Pinnacle Travel Phantom’s cabin, which features 230 individual pieces of marquetry, is the most complex and intricate woodworking project its Bespoke department – which handles its customers’ most individualised requests – has ever undertaken. The hand-crafted pieces on the dashboard, door panels, cabin partition and rear picnic tables depict, again, the speeding train motif, further echoed in smoke-gray embroidery (24,633 stitches, for those keeping, er, track) on the door inserts.

All aboard a rather personalised Orient Express.

Rolls-Royce Pinnacle Travel Phantom

(Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

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