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Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy gets 21st-century aerodynamic makeover

Iconic figurehead reimagined for marque’s electric future

Rolls-Royce has revealed a new streamlined version of its iconic Spirit of Ecstacy figurehead that will make its debut on the all-electric Spectre coupe.

The luxury marque unveiled the new-look statuette exactly 111 years after it first registered the original design as its intellectual property.

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The new figurine is smaller than before but has also been redesigned to be sleeker, lower and “more dynamic” as designers try to make the Spectre Rolls-Royce’s most aerodynamic model ever.

The Spectre’s Spirit of Ecstasy is around 1.5 centimetres shorter than the figure currently fitted to the likes of the Cullinan, Ghost and Phantom - measuring 82mm compared to the existing model’s 95mm.

Even more noticeable is the change to the figure’s stance, which is said to more closely resemble the original sketches of designer Charles Sykes. While the current figure stands with its feet together and bent at the waist, the new design has one foot forward and the body tucked lower, creating what Rolls-Royce humbly calls “a true goddess of speed”. The model’s robes - often mistaken for wings - have also been reshaped to look more realistic and create a more aerodynamic shape.

Rolls-Royce says the new mascot contributes to the Spectre’s drag coefficient of just 0.26, which makes it the most streamlined car in the marque’s history.

The new figurehead will appear first on the Spectre, due to go on sale 2023, and will feature on all future models. The brand’s existing line-up of cars - Phantom, Ghost, Wraith, Dawn and Cullinan - will continue to use the current version.

Unveiling the new design, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, CEO of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said: “Our Spirit of Ecstasy mascot is the most recognisable automotive emblem in the world.

“Like our company and our motor cars, she has changed constantly over time, yet remains true to her origins and inspiration.

“As we enter a new era with Spectre, we have taken the opportunity to revisit our treasured icon and her story, which remains endlessly fascinating, eye-opening and intriguing after more than 100 years. It is both a significant chapter in the brand’s memory, and a rich human drama that, though the product of a bygone age, still resonates with us and our clients today.”

Over the years the famous mascot has undergone a number of changes in design and materials and is now almost 10cm smaller than the first versions which appeared on the 1911-1914 Silver Ghost. Several changes were made between then and 1939 but changes since then have been more uncommon, with the last update coming in 1995 on the Silver Seraph.