The most driver-focused car Rolls-Royce has ever built
by Evan Orensten in Design on 06 December 2013
Our first look at the Wraith came last winter, and left us wanting to get behind the wheel. We recently had the chance to spend a day with it in and around Vienna, where we glided down scenic boulevards, sped on motorways and toured scenic country roads. The 2014 Wraith is a fastback coupe, and it’s the most powerful Rolls-Royce ever made, gracefully moving its 6,000 lbs to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
The coupe to its four door sibling (the Ghost), the Wraith sports a handsome, anvil-like nose that’s raked back ever so slightly, giving it a more athletic lean. The rear is what really shakes things up, though. The cabin sweeps dramatically downward to the butt of the car in a way that was seen in the early 1950s Silver Dawn Coupe and on American muscle cars of the Sixties and Seventies, and it’s a design that works with the brick-shaped front end. That same styling may come as a disappointment to some, either because of its unusual look, or that it isn’t quite sporty enough. Perhaps it’s the severe contrast between what looks like the marriage of a hammer and an egg, but we think the Wraith is a beautiful, unique motorcar to behold.
The interior is, as expected, opulent. Its leather the best money can buy, and you can have it colored and conditioned in virtually any way imaginable. It costs a little extra to get wild with bespoke leathers and woods, but if you’re shopping for a Rolls the additional cost probably isn’t much of a concern, and the opportunity to have it reflect your personal style is part of the brand’s appeal.
In short, we were particularly drawn to two design elements in the Wraith. The first is the optional Starlight Headliner. It’s not the first time we’ve seen it, but it is the first time we’ve seen it cover such a large space. While some may consider it a little gimmicky or better fitted for a party bus with a pole, it really is one of the most brilliant things when seen at night—and quite chic at that. The interior glows with 1,340 fiber optic strands packed into the ceiling of the car—of course, the dazzling lights can be custom-tailored to whatever night sky or design you desire. Rolls-Royce will even meet with an astronomer to determine the starscape over your city on the night of your birth should you desire to commemorate your arrival into the world.
We’re also particularly fond of the wood veneer and the door panels (which Rolls calls Canadel Panelling, inspired by the cove of Le Canadel beach in southern France, a favorite of Sir Henry Royce), which can be sourced from just about any tree on the planet—assuming it’s grown in a renewable forest—making up the largest single piece of veneer in any vehicle on the market. What’s most impressive is that the veneer is curved to fit into the door and the striations line up at a perfect 55-degree angle. Think about that for a second—when you bend a surface filled with parallel lines, they bunch together. The crafty woodworkers at the Goodwood, UK factory have found a way to bend the laws of nature to produce a perfectly-aligned interior finish that design nerds like us can get behind. And because the door panels (and every other wood surface in the interior) are perfectly bookmatched both have to be done flawlessly. One mistake and the pair has to be started from scratch. It’s something you’ll appreciate every time you open the door.
The 2014 Wraith is the most powerful Rolls-Royce in the brand’s 110-year history, producing 616 horsepower from its twin-turbocharged 6.6-liter V12. Driving the Wraith leaves you wanting little more than to spend more time with it. A very fast car, especially for its weight, but in typical Rolls fashion, it doesn’t ever feel wild. There’s beasty power (and braking) on tap, but accelerating feels more like you’ve been scooped up by a wave and propelled forward rather than being thrown back into your seat. The optional "Wraith" package includes the 1,300 watt Bespoke Audio option, which ranks up there with the Mercedes-Benz Burmeister and Range-Rover Meridien systems, both of which we highly regard.
Luxury is having what you want when you want it, and the Wraith fulfills that promise. Endlessly smooth and much more compelling behind the wheel than the sedans in the lineup—even its steering wheel is thicker than the signature pencil-thin one found in the Ghost, suggesting that this car is a little more about driving than being driven. For a nearly 6,000 lb car, handling is surprisingly flat (that’s a good thing). Though we wouldn’t call the Wraith a sports car—“Sport” is a relative term for Rolls-Royce—it absolutely qualifies as one of the world’s most exquisite GranTurismos.
The 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith is a statement of unconventional, beautiful design and impeccable interior finishes. There’s no doubt that it’s powerful, as are all Rolls-Royces, but there are equal amounts of joy found in admiring the car as there are in driving it—maybe a first for the brand, as the Ghost and Phantom lineup tend to be better enjoyed from the rear seats. Most will consider it the first driver’s Rolls-Royce in a very long time, one that innovates in its luxurious appointments and customization and delivers a driving experience that sets it apart from others in its niche.
Visit Rolls-Royce for more information on the Wraith. While nicely kitted out with its $285,000 base price, features and customization can easily add another $50,000.
Night images courtesy of Rolls-Royce, all others by Evan Orensten
An innovative design increases flex and rider stability while cutting tension both on and off road
by Graham Hiemstra in Design on 06 December 2013
As an answer to the cyclist's favorite component to complain about, Slovakian designers have developed a new type of bicycle saddle called the Morgaw. The lightweight, carbon-based saddle combines a modular rail system with two small shock absorbers to add flexibility and stability while absorbing road rumble, thus reducing tension on the spine and lower back. Unlike traditional saddles, the innovative design allows for torsional flex at the point where the saddle, shocks and rails come together, and horizontal flex from where the rails attach to the seat post. Through this, a more natural, responsive ride is achieved, one during which the cyclist is said to be more in tune with the machine.
With the option of using soft, medium or hard shock absorbers, along with steel or carbon fiber rails, the saddle is able to be customized to fit the rider. Additionally, by creating an interchangeable rail system, the saddle's life is extended—no more will a crooked, cracked or broken rail ruin the saddle as a whole. The seat itself will be coated in a non-slip surface to increase traction in inclement weather conditions.
As the Morgaw is currently in the crowd-sourcing phase, we have yet to experience the ride for itself, however from what can seen, the research of the forward-thinking Slovakian cycling enthusiasts behind the project seems thorough. Visit the Morgaw project on Indiegogo now to secure a saddle for just $49 and help give the campaign a little nudge it needs to reach their goal.
Images courtesy of Morgaw
Co-founders Daniel Fogelson and Jordan Barrocas on their grassroots approach to pushing three bold-flavored beef treats
by CH Contributor in Food + Drink on 06 December 2013
by Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi
There's jerky, then there's Three Jerks Jerky. Daniel Fogelson and Jordan Barrocas, the duo behind Three Jerks Jerky have concocted the couture of jerky—drawing from the best filet mignon cut to deliver what could very well be the san gréal of beef jerky. The novelty of fashioning jerky from filet mignon is something that has never been attempted on a production end; hence, each gnaw of sinewy jerky resurrects that tender, buttery texture that is revered in filet mignon. At the same time, the mild flavor of this lean steak cut serves as a perfect base for flavors to translate.
Fittingly, Three Jerks currently boasts three flavors—Original, Chipotle Adobo and Memphis BBQ—that are distinct in how each initially titillates and then lingers on the palette. The pick of the three for us was the Chipotle Adobo with the fragrant adobo base of black pepper, garlic, and oregano seamlessly fusing with a piquant hint of vinegar and citrus. There's a Filipino kick to this complex blend of flavors that filters through with every bite.
The groundswell of support Three Jerks Jerky received in their Kickstarter campaign is a testament to the quality of their product. We had a chance to talk shop with the jerks, Fogelson and Barrocas, touching on their humble grassroots beginnings and life since their auspicious Kickstarter campaign.
"We wanted to make the best damn beef jerky the world has ever tasted."
When did that seminal, late night conversation about jerky take place? How do you feel about the company's progression?
Daniel Fogelson: The original jerky conversation took place last August. Long story short, we were discussing our displeasure with available beef jerky when we simultaneously looked up at each other and immediately realized we should make some for ourselves. Naturally, we were not going to make just any beef jerky. We wanted to make the best damn beef jerky the world has ever tasted. The next day we bought meat, ingredients for marinades and a dehydrator. We tested our chops at making jerky, the result was shockingly good, and the rest is history.
Jordan Barrocas: While we still have much work to do and more to accomplish, we’re extremely proud to be where we are. We started Three Jerks Jerky in our home kitchen, experimenting and making jerky every night after our day jobs, trying to make something we liked. Each step we took was natural and truly based on an organic process. The progression from starting at home to launching our website and now seeing Three Jerks Jerky on the shelves at gourmet stores like Eataly, makes us proud. Most importantly though, to be able to continue making a product we love and building a business that we are passionate about is what we are most excited for.
What do you think your Kickstarter backers connected with—especially those who hadn't even tasted your jerky yet?
DF: When we first developed the concept for Three Jerks Jerky we wanted to build a local foundation, so Kickstarter was a natural place for a grassroots introduction. Kickstarter provided the ability to let personality come through more than other mediums used to introduce a business. Therefore, backers were able to connect with us as the founders and with the characteristics of our brand. Three Jerks Jerky: The Original Filet Mignon Beef Jerky, inherently conveys quality, but is also done so through an irreverent and fun voice. Hopefully people connect with our passion and are thus able to share in our love for Three Jerks Jerky.
Daniel, word on the street is that the Memphis flavored jerky is a rub you concocted when you were seven. How did you arrive at the other flavors?
DF: Jordan likes to exaggerate that a bit! I started using the rub on ribs in high school when I fell in love with cooking. When we were developing flavors for Three Jerks Jerky, the rub's depth and layered flavor was a perfect fit for jerky. Jordan created the Original recipe in his kitchen modeling it after a traditional jerky marinade, but made a few tweaks. For Chipotle Adobo, we reached into our vault of personal favorite recipes. It combined a Filipino Adobo Marinade I love and a homemade Chipotle BBQ sauce Jordan had perfected. We literally threw them into a bag together not knowing exactly what we would get. Magic happened that created a truly unique jerky flavor. Not only do three flavors line up nicely with our name, but it allowed us to concentrate and perfect each flavor. We are however always working on new flavor profiles we like for jerky and should have something new to offer soon.
Since the Kickstarter campaign ended what have you jerks been up to?
JB: Our Kickstarter campaign was a great experience and we want to thank all of our backers for their support. They've provided us the opportunity to follow our dreams and we are undoubtedly grateful. Of course our first priority was to fulfill all our orders. We sold over 2,500 bags of jerky which was by far the largest amount of jerky we had to make. Needless to say it took some planning to scale up our supply chain, but we were able finish and ship all orders only six weeks after the campaign closed. Concurrently, we were working on the full commercial launch of Three Jerks Jerky, including our ecommerce website and our brick and mortar retail distribution. Now, the website is live and Three Jerks Jerky is available at Eataly in NYC as well as four other cities: SnapTop Market in Boston, Epicure Gourmet Market in Miami, Calandro's Market in Baton Rouge, and Broome Street General Store and Say Cheese in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles.
So to follow up with production tidbit following the end of Kickstarter, are all Three Jerks Jerky made in-house by the two of you?
DF: We have found and partnered with a jerky production facility that is about 30 miles east of downtown LA, and with them we are able to produce 15,000 bags of jerky a week if needed. We worked carefully with them over the past eight to nine months to make sure they make the jerky to our specs so that the flavors are just right. It is a handcrafted product from start to finish.
I'm intrigued as to how you built up such an ardent following. What was your means of getting the word out about the Three Jerks?
JB: Everything we have done has been grassroots. The same particularly applies to how we have marketed Three Jerks Jerky. We have almost purely relied on social media to interact with customers and promote our product. Aside from the fact that we don’t have the deep pockets required for traditional advertising and PR, we think that being able to directly communicate is more effective. We enjoy developing relationships with all the fellow jerks out there and have even made new friends in the process.
Three Jerks Jerky retails at $15 a pack or $40 for a set of three, and can be purchased directly from their online store.
Lead image courtesy of Three Jerks Jerky, all others by Samantha Ashley Wilkins