Rolls-Royce has traditionally been the dictionary definition for “staid British.” But, once in a while, the luxury marque likes to shake things up — and it is doing so, both with a special edition of its Wraith Coupe, as well as a series of leaked renderings for what appears to be another mysterious concept.
It also has launched a special new interactive online game to help solve the mystery of the Wraith Kryptos in which it has hidden a cryptic message in everything from the bodywork to the interior embroidery.
As for the other mystery, Britain’s Auto Express has spotted patent renderings of what appears to be a boat-tailed take on the Wraith, complete with a slatted, marine-style trunk lid. Speculation suggests it could be aimed at debuting next year at the postponed Concorso d’Eleganza at the Villa d’Este on Italy’s glamorous Lake Como.
But let’s get back to the first mystery. As the lead image here suggests, the Rolls-Royce Wraith Kryptos is intended to create an almost sci-fi like air of mystery, starting with a ceiling liner that might have been borrowed from the film, The Matrix.
Kryptos, with its obvious reference to cryptology, poses a challenge for anyone who might be able to get up close to one of the special edition models. Rolls says it has worked an elaborate “coded message” into the car’s bodywork, including the chrome accents, as well as its interior.
If you’re looking to solve the mystery, you’ll need to check the sill plates, the door pockets, the seat embroidery and the transmission tunnel. Indeed, the hidden message is found pretty much everywhere. That includes the unusual and constantly changing headliner that uses fiber optic lighting to create an “in-motion data stream.”
Rolls plans to produce just 50 Kryptos coupes and hints it has something special in store for whoever can break the code. Those who think they’ve come up with a solution can offer up their answer on a special app the carmaker has created.
Now, Rolls has launched what it describes as “an entertaining and interactive online game for members of the public and enthusiasts … where they can take part in a cryptic challenge” of four levels, “each getting progressively harder.”
Be one of the first 10 to solve this puzzle, it says, and you’ll receive a personalized Rolls-Royce treadplate. (What, you thought you’d get one of the Kryptos coupes?)
As for the bigger mystery, Rolls says only two people know the secret message hidden in the Kryptos, Rolls-Royce Bespoke designer Katrin Lehmann and CEO Torsten Muller-Otvos. The solution has been locked up at the company’s headquarters in Goodwood, south of London.
We expect both of those folks know the answer to the other puzzle posed by the new renderings. The design appears to be based off of a Wraith – taking in mind the coupe doors and low roofline – but shares many of the details found in a larger, Phantom-based concept, the Sweeptail, unveiled at the Concorso d‘Eleganza back in 2017.
But those slit headlamps and revised take on the classic Rolls waterfall grille are offset by a radically redesigned back end. That includes a flying buttress-style roof and a boat-like deck lid adorned with ribbing and slats, a signature of high-end wooden powerboats of decades past. The design detail also accents an oversized rear bumper.
The folks at Auto Express speculate the leaked images could signal the development of another concept for the Concorso – which was canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, but which is now on the calendar for late May 2021.
For those caught up in the new Rolls-Royce mysteries, here’s another cryptographic challenge to consider. The name, Kryptos, was also used by artist Jim Sanborn for the sculpture he created for the CIA, on display at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia since November 1990. There’s been plenty of guessing but, so far, no one has been able to figure out the four encrypted messages it contains.