Rolls-Royce builds its smallest, but perhaps its most special, car

Hari Rajyaguru takes the SRH for a test drive in the Rolls-Royce assembly plant | Rolls-Royce photos by James Lipman
Hari Rajyaguru takes the SRH for a test drive in the Rolls-Royce assembly plant | Rolls-Royce photos by James Lipman

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has produced the smallest vehicle in its history, but for very big reasons. The car, the Rolls-Royce SRH, has been presented to the St Richard’s Hospital Pediatric Day Surgery Unit, a hospital in Chichester, West Susses, England, the automaker’s home city. The car was designed so children can drive themselves to the operating theater, and do so through corridors lined with traffic signs.

“The experience of ‘self-drive to theatre’ aims to reduce child patient stress,” Rolls-Royce said in the news release announcing the car’s delivery.

Rolls-Royce staffer introduces Molly  Matthews to the SRH
Rolls-Royce Bespoke staffer introduces a delighted Molly Matthews to the SRH

That delivery to the unit included inviting two child test drivers — Molly Matthews and Hari Rajyaguru — to the automaker’s Goodwood Studio, just like any of the company’s VIP customers for the final validation and pre-delivery inspection before the car was presented to St Richard’s.

“In true Rolls-Royce style, the two children and their families enjoyed VIP hospitality with one notable addition to the usual customer experience,” Rolls-Royce reported. “Molly and Hari both enjoyed first drives on the Rolls-Royce production line, an exceptionally rare privilege usually reserved for the marque’s chief executive during the validation process for new model families, and most recently auctioned for the forthcoming Phantom 8.”

The automaker supplied full-scale Rolls-Royce Ghosts to carry the children and their families back to their homes after the factory visit.

“We are a proud member of the community here in West Sussex, Torsten Muller-Otvos, chief executive of Rolls-Royce, said in the news release. “The Pediatric Unit at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester does such vital work in providing essential care to young people and their families. We hope that the Rolls-Royce SRH will serve to make the experience for young people during treatment a little less stressful.”

The SRH was built by Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke Manufacturing team, the group that customizes its cars for its best customers. The team devoted 400 hours of work to the car’s creation.

3D printing technology was used in the car’s creation, including the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament and the paddle controls. The car is presented in two-tone Andalusian White and Salamanca Blue colors with and hand-applied St James Red coachline.

Taking a test drive along the Rolls-Royce assembly line
Mollly takes the SRH for a test drive beside the Rolls-Royce assembly line

“The interior space is appointed with the same finesse and attention-to-detail afforded to every Rolls-Royce patron, with the two-tone steering wheel, seats and self-righting wheel centers perfectly color-matched to the St James Red coachline,” the company said.

The children’s car is powered by a 24-volt gel battery “that propels the car with the same whisper-quietness as Rolls-Royce’s magnificent V12 engines” and can achieve a top speed of 10 mph, though it also has a governor that can limit it to 4 mph.

“Just like the joy it will bring to our young patients, the Rolls-Royce SRH is simply priceless,” said Marianne Griffiths, chief executive of Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. “It is a very special gift and one of the most wonderful donations ever received by Love Your Hospital, our trust’s dedicated charity.”

“It’s wonderful seeing a smiley face on the way to theatre, rather than an apprehensive one, and everyone caring for children at St Richard’s is so grateful to Rolls-Royce for this unique donation,” added Sue Nicholls, the foundation’s pediatric matron.

“We know boys and girls alike will love driving it and in the coming years, it will help turn a daunting experience into a more fun and enjoyable one for hundreds and hundreds of children.”

Photos by James Lipman / jameslipman.com

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