Rolls-Royce - Spirit of Ecstasy is 112 Years Old
The Spirit of Ecstasy is the bonnet ornament sculpture on Rolls-Royce cars. It is in the form of a woman leaning forward with her arms outstretched behind and above her. Billowing cloth runs from her arms to her back, resembling wings.
In 2023, Rolls-Royce celebrates 112 years of The Spirit of Ecstasy, an iconic feature on its vehicles. This well-recognisable mascot was first registered in February 1911.
She has changed over the years and adopted different stances, sometimes taller, sometimes shorter, but always prominent.
Her most recent streamlined version was specially recreated for the launch of the all-electric Spectre, the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce ever. Even today, she still greatly resembles the original drawings of the creator, Charles Sykes.
To Rolls-Royce customers and fans worldwide, she personifies ambition, achievement, excellence and success. She inspires greatness – every motor car on which she graces has to be worthy of her presence.
The very first Rolls-Royce cars only featured an emblem on the radiator, no mascot. When the first of the iconic sculptures was born it was known as The Whisper because of the finger on her lips and can be seen today on display at the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu along with other Spirit of Ecstasy figurines.
The figure is also known as Eleanor (the name of the model for the original sculpture), Silver Lady, or Flying Lady.
In February 1911 Sykes presented to Rolls-Royce the Spirit of Ecstasy, which was easily recognisable as being a variation on the theme of The Whisper. The similarity was hardly coincidental because the model for both had been Miss Eleanor Thornton.
The Spirit of Ecstasy was also manufactured by the British firm Louis Lejeune Ltd. for several years.
Royce made sure it was officially listed as an optional extra, but in practice it was fitted to almost all cars, becoming a standard fitting in the early 1920s. It was silver plated from 1911 until 1914 when the mascot was made with nickel or chrome alloy to dissuade theft. The only departure from this came in Paris at the competition for the most apposite mascot of 1920, where a gold-plated version won first place.
Gold-plated versions were subsequently available at additional cost. The design of the mascot has had eleven main variations in its life. Lowered height of coachwork forced subsequent reductions in the mascot size. Consequently, several alterations in the original design were made.
The new Spirit of Ecstasy stands 82.73mm tall, compared to her predecessor's 100.01mm. Her robes have been subtly reshaped to make them more aerodynamic and realistic.
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