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Rolls-Royce recreates iconic Spirit of Ecstasy for an electric future


111 years to the day that the Spirit mascot was registered as intellectual property, the iconic symbol has been fully redesigned for an electric future

The all-new and all-electric Rolls-Royce Spectre will have a redesigned Spirit of Ecstasy mascot adorning the bonnet of the car when it goes on sale in 2023. 

Originally designed by illustrator and sculptor Charles Sykes in 1911, the Spirit of Ecstasy now stands at 82.73mm tall – considerably shorter than the original, imposing 100.01m height.

The figure has been redesigned to be more aerodynamic than ever. Rolls-Royce says the new prototype Spectre has a drag coefficient of just 0.26, making it the most streamlined Rolls-Royce ever built, so the sculpture definitely helps with this. 

Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy front shot
The Spirit of Ecstasy is an intricate part of every Rolls-Royce

Each figure is cast individually but finished by hand, so each figurine will be minutely different from one another. Until 1939, each model was made and polished by Charles Sykes himself. 

The history behind the Spirit of Ecstasy

One of the biggest misconceptions about the Spirit of Ecstasy is that the figure has wings, when in fact the wings are really a flowing robe (as if it had caught the wind as the car drives).

Charles Sykes was originally commissioned by British politician and aristocrat John, 2nd Baron Montagu to sculpt a mascot for his 1909 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost. This mascot became known as The Whisper and was modelled off Eleanor Velasco Thornton, who was Lord Montagu’s secret lover at the time. 

Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge static
Rolls-Royce has come a long way since the early 1900s

The Spirit of Ecstasy also has the name Eleanor, Silver Lady or Flying Lady, although these are lesser known. 

In February 1911, Sykes presented his sculpture to Rolls-Royce, who then patented it as the symbol of their brand. 

Royce originally wanted the Spirit of Ecstasy to be an optional extra, but the sculpture eventually found its way onto every model at no extra cost. 

Between 1934 to 1939, as well as 1946-1956, Rolls-Royce commissioned Sykes to make a lower version of the symbol to help drivers see the road ahead. 

Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge SOE
The Spirit of Ecstasy now retracts inside the bonnet for safety reasons

Sykes came up with a kneeling version of the Spirit of Ecstasy, which saw service for several years until it was discontinued in favour of a smaller standing version that is still used to this day.

The figurine these days is retractable (for safety reasons) and can raise or lower with the flick of a switch. 

The new Spirit of Ecstasy which will be seen on the Spectre and every new model going forward.

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