The new Spirit of Ecstasy

Rolls-Royce has redesigned the legendary figure on its radiator grille. The Spirit of Ecstasy is now flatter and more aerodynamic. And above all, it's still based on a woman. We like that.
Text Jack Weil
Photo Rolls Royce

At least the Female Chauffeurs' Association should have commissioned a petition long ago. Or at least start a hashtag (#RollsRoyceSpiritDiversity). But there is nothing. Not a soul is upset about the fact that the job of the radiator mascot has been held exclusively by a woman for 111 years now. Spirit of Ecstasy is her name. And - as the long and thoroughly tragic legend has it - it is based on Eleanor Thornton (1880-1915), who was as brilliantly intelligent as she was beautiful.

On the other hand, we look at the Spirit of Ecstasy with the relaxed sovereignty and composure of car enthusiasts. We know that the job of the radiator mascot is perhaps not that fun after all. Constantly standing in the driving wind and that with a vehicle whose performance specification has always preferred to be stated as »more than adequate« rather than with concrete horsepower figures. In addition, there is often either the famous English summer, the notorious smog of Chinese megacities, or the scorching sun of Abu Dhabi or Dubai, elements to which a radiator mascot is exposed without any protection. Those things can really ruin your working day. So we prefer to be behind the wheel, especially in a Rolls-Royce.

The newly designed radiator grille will adorn the hood of the future all-electric Spectre. The figure will have a lower, more dynamic stance in the future. This also brings it closer to the early drawings of its original creator, illustrator, and sculptor Charles Sykes. The new Spirit of Ecstasy is 82.73 millimeters tall. The previous icon measured 100.01 millimeters. In addition, her robe, which blows in the slipstream and is often mistakenly referred to as wings, has been subtly reshaped to make it more aerodynamic and realistic. The most noticeable change, however, is her stance.

Now she is a true goddess of speed, leaning against the wind, one leg forward, her body pulled low and her eyes forward.

Previously, she stood with her feet closed and her legs straight and bent at the waist. Now she is a true goddess of speed, leaning against the wind, one leg forward, her body pulled low and her eyes forward. These changes have practical and stylistic benefits and contribute to the Spectre's remarkable aerodynamic qualities. The earliest Spectre prototypes have a drag coefficient of just 0.26, making the Spectre the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce of all time. That figure is expected to further improve during the extensive testing phase in 2022.

And we like to be honest: with job requirements like these, a broad-shouldered man would probably be the worse decision.

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