Rolls-Royce's iconic Spirit of Ecstasy gets a makeover in time for the EV revolution

The new Spirit of Ecstasy for Roll's new EVs
(Image credit: Rolls-Royce)

Rolls-Royce can seem like an enigmatic automaker to many people, with cars costing deep into six figures and a clientele list of the world's most famous and well-heeled buyers. 

Though steeped in tradition and unconditionally tied to its human-intensive production methods, Rolls-Royce is looking to the future, with electrification imminent for the West Sussex, England-based automaker. 

In preparation for the move, the company has announced an update to its 111-year-old icon, the Spirit of Ecstasy. The new-look figurine will adorn the upcoming 2024 Rolls-Royce Spectre, the automaker's first full EV, and its most aerodynamic design to date.

Rolls says it took a combined 830 hours of design modeling and wind tunnel testing to refine the shape. The new figurine is shorter than its predecessor, down from around 100mm (just shy of 4 inches) to 82.73mm (around 3.25 inches). 

The robe, which Rolls-Royce notes is frequently mistaken for wings, is reshaped to make it more realistic and aerodynamic. 

A new stance

The figurine's stance is now different than before, with one leg forward and one behind, rather than both feet together. Her body is lower and her eyes are focused on the road ahead. 

The new shape is the work of a computer modeler. In the process, Rolls-Royce designers gave input on hair, clothes, posture, and expression. 

All Spirit of Ecstasy figurines are made using lost wax casting, which Rolls says is one of the oldest casting techniques. Each figure is individually finished by hand, so each one is slightly different.

If you're thinking that 830 hours is a lot of time to spend on a hood ornament, you'd be right, but Rolls-Royce is no ordinary car brand. The automaker's bespoke cars and SUV defy logic with their price tags and customization options, so it's not surprising designers would spend time perfecting the brand's defining design element. 

Of course, the car carrying the new statuette is important, too. The new Rolls-Royce Spectre will be the brand's most aerodynamic car to date, with a drag coefficient of just 0.26 with the new Spirit of Ecstasy contributing to that aero magic in early prototypes.

Chris Teague
Freelance Contributor

After working in the technology and software industry for several years, Chris began writing as a way to help people outside of that world understand the sometimes very technical work that goes on behind the scenes. With a lifelong love of all things automotive, Chris turned his attention to writing new vehicle reviews, detailing industry trends, and breaking news. Along the way, he earned an MBA with a focus on data analysis that has helped him gain a strong understanding of why the auto industry’s biggest companies make the decisions they do.