Rolls-Royce Undertakes Restoration of Soapbox Racers Manufactured in the 2000s

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Rolls-Royce’s current headquarters in Goodwood, England, has been a cornerstone of its operations since its establishment in 2003. However, the company’s involvement in crafting vehicles at this location predates the official inauguration of the plant.

In 2001, it introduced the RR-0.01 soapbox racer, followed by the RR-0.02 in the subsequent year. These unique creations made their mark at the Goodwood Festival of Speed but gradually faded into obscurity until their recent full restoration in 2024.

The decision to venture into soapbox racing may seem unconventional for a marque renowned for crafting some of the world’s most luxurious automobiles. However, Rolls-Royce clarifies that participating in the Soapbox Challenge at the Goodwood Festival of Speed served as a prelude to a pivotal juncture in its history.

In the previous years, the company underwent significant transitions, including its acquisition by Volkswagen from Vickers and subsequent sale to BMW following rigorous negotiations.

Alongside these corporate shifts, Rolls-Royce severed ties with Bentley, its longstanding sibling company, necessitating the establishment of new manufacturing facilities, headquarters, and product ranges.

Crafted by artisans who would later lend their expertise to models like the Phantom, the soapbox racers bore distinctive Rolls-Royce characteristics, notably showcased through their prominent grilles adorned with vertical slats.

These were no ordinary makeshift racers assembled from lawnmower chassis; instead, Rolls-Royce employed advanced materials such as carbon fiber, fiberglass, and aluminum to ensure optimal weight distribution for the RR-0.01.

The RR-0.02 boasted features reminiscent of formula racing, including a specialized steering rack complemented by wood trim and leather upholstery. Noteworthy design flourishes included a hare-shaped hood ornament for the 0.01 and a “??” logo adorning the 0.02 above its grille.

Despite their remarkable performance, with the 0.02 reaching speeds of 72 mph relying solely on gravitational force during their last competition in 2013, both racers were preserved in their raced condition until Rolls-Royce enlisted a team of apprentices to undertake their comprehensive restoration.

This involved rectifying damages sustained during racing, such as repairing the grille on the 0.01 and restoring the wood cowl of the 0.02.

Following their meticulous restoration, both soapbox racers will be showcased at the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts’ Club’s headquarters in Northamptonshire, England, serving as a testament to the brand’s enduring legacy and innovative spirit.

Also read: Rolls-Royce Invests £55M in Capacity Expansion for Growing Demand

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