The Spirit of Ecstasy Hood Ornament is Shrinking to Make the Battery-Electric Rolls Royce Spectre More Aerodynamic

It just wouldn’t be a Rolls-Royce without a Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament. Or would it?

Back in the brand’s early days, not every car carried the mascot. But we’ll get to that later…

Rolls Royce Spirit of Ecstasy afternoon

As part of its 111th anniversary, Rolls is unveiling a smaller, more aerodynamic Spirit of Ecstasy that will be part of the new Rolls-Royce Sceptre – the venerable British brand’s first battery-electric vehicle.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös Rolls Royce

The brand’s reimaging of the classic automotive mascot comes 111 years after the Spirit of Ecstasy was first registered as the specific intellectual property of Rolls-Royce.

Today’s Spirit of Ecstasy remains “the embodiment of our brand, and a constant source of inspiration and pride for the marque and its clients,” said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, chief executive officer, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “(But) like our brand, she has always moved with the times while staying true to her nature and character.”

In her new shorter form she is more streamlined and graceful than ever before — the perfect emblem for the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce ever created, according to the CEO.

Spirit of Ecstasy new version

The new version measures in at just 3.26 inches tall, compared to her predecessor’s 3.94 inches. 

The new version is lower, more dynamic, and … historically accurate. In fact, it closely resembles the drawings made by her creator, illustrator, and sculptor Charles Sykes, in the early 20th century. 

When originally sculpted, the Spirit of Ecstasy stood with her feet together, legs straight and tilting at the waist.

Today, she stands with one leg forward, as if braced for the wind. Her robes – no, they are not wings – have been revised to make them more realistic and aerodynamic. 

“She leans forward, expressing our relentless pursuit of progress, and her dress gracefully flows in the wind, echoing the serenity of our products in motion,” said Anders Warming, director of Design, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. 

Spirit of Ecstasy sculpted

Interestingly, the new Spirit of Ecstasy was digitally sculpted to better capture the essence of Syke’s original drawings. 

Of course, being a Rolls-Royce emblem, the process was highly detailed and painstaking. To keep her authentic yet contemporary, designers turned to stylists at Goodwood for their input on everything from her hair and clothes to her posture and facial expression.

Until 1939, each individual Spirit of Ecstasy was made by Sykes himself. He even hand-polished each one! Back then, Rolls-Royce had limited production, making this task easier for one man to carry out. 

Today, these very special hood ornaments are still made the way Sykes made them, using the lost-wax process, aka cire-perdue. It’s an ancient procedure that actually dates from the third millennium B.C. 

The lost-wax process is a form of metal casting that starts with a wax model used to create a mold. Once the mold is constructed, the wax model is melted away, and molten metal is poured into the mold. 

The new version Spirit of Ecstasy mold

Keep in mind that this is not the first time Rolls-Royce has altered the Spirit of Ecstasy.

In fact, the original 1911 mascot was 6 7/8 inches tall. By the 1960s, she had changed eight times and then measured a shorter 4 5/16 inches tall. 

And, the distance from her nose to the tip of her outstretched robes shrank as well, from 5 inches to just three. Her base shape, stance, and positioning of her robes have also changed over the decades, according to Rolls-Royce. 
The new version created for the Spectre will appear on all future models. The existing design will continue to adorn the Ghost, Wraith, Dawn, Phantom, and Cullinan and their Black Badge variants. They are made by specialists in Southampton, England.

Interestingly, company founder Sir Henry Royce disliked mascots/hood ornaments of any kind; and The Honorable Charles Stewart Rolls died in a flying accident in June 1910, so he never even saw the Spirit of Ecstasy.  

Models hood ornamet

And back then, buying a Rolls-Royce didn’t ensure your car would get the hood ornament. In fact, it was an option you could purchase through 1939. 

And less than half of the 20,000 cars sold during that period came with one. 

Since then, many subsequent owners of those older cars have added them to make them look more like what people think of as a Rolls. 

And now, the British marque is celebrating its 111th birthday by unveiling a new, more aerodynamic version of the Silver Lady.


Aerodynamics appears to be the big reason for the design changes. 

The Spectre is the Rolls-Royce’s most aerodynamic vehicle ever.

Rolls Royce Spectre

The drag coefficient (cd) is a mere 0.26, something which will help improve battery efficiency and speed. 

And, that figure is expected to improve as testing continues.

“In her new form she is more streamlined and graceful than ever before—the perfect emblem for the most aerodynamic Rolls-Royce ever created, Torsten says, “and for gracing the prow of our bold electric future.”

Rolls Royce Electrical vehicle

The new Spirit of Ecstasy is scheduled to show up in showrooms on the Spectre in 2023.

Contact any of our Rolls-Royce dealerships for more information. 

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