Rolls-Royce 100EX Centenary Concept

From Rolls Royce press: Based on a lightweight aluminum space-frame, this open-top, four-seat, two-door drophead has been designed and produced to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of Rolls-Royce, which falls in May 2004. There is no plan to produce it as a series model.

While the design of the 100EX and the choice of its special construction materials resonate strongly with Rolls-Royce tradition, both its aesthetic qualities and its technological content place it squarely in the 21st century. A strong nautical theme runs throughout, with bleached teak decking featuring both inside and outside the car. Polished aluminum also features heavily, particularly on the bonnet and windscreen surround, while the composite body is finished in Dark Curzon.

As an experimental car, the 100EX is developed to a far higher level of engineering than a typical concept car. The body structure is a development of the new Phantom's aluminum space-frame, adapted to the different proportions of the 100EX, which is similar in width to the Phantom, but 165 mm (6.5 in) shorter and 71 mm (3 in) lower. The wheelbase is 100 mm (4 in) shorter.

The structure gives the 100EX immense strength and rigidity, something which is clearly vital for an open-top motor car. It also allows for coach doors to be selected, which are integral to the design of the motor car and offer the practical benefit of easing entry and exit. The polished aluminium windscreen surround, with its triangulated A-pillar, is effectively an exposed part of the space-frame structure, which provides excellent roll-over protection.

Suspension and steering geometry are shared with the new Phantom: double wishbone front and multi-link rear axles, with air springs, and rack and pinion steering. Wheels are finished in Meteor Silver, with a 21-inch diameter, and shod with 255/50 tyres at the front and 285/45 at the rear. 

100EX is powered by a 9-litre V16, 64-valve engine. Natural aspiration was chosen over turbo or supercharging to give the instant, yet perfectly smooth style of pick-up which has so impressed in the Phantom. Drive is delivered through a six-speed automatic gearbox.

Gallery: Rolls-Royce 100EX Centenary Concept