2 2 3 S I M P LY A B U DH A B I S IMPLY CARS E ver since Rolls-Royce released the stunning Wraith, the obvious question immediately after was, “When will we see the Drophead convertible version?” The Wraith was a breakaway model for Rolls-Royce, being the most driver-focused car in many a year with its 6.6-litre, twin-turbocharged V12 engine and eight- speed automatic transmission that works off the GPS satellite data to keep it in the optimum gear. Like Wraith, Dawn is another name that pays homage to Rolls-Royce from another era – in this case the Silver Dawn from 1949. Silver Dawn was produced at their factory in Crewe, UK, until 1955 and was the first model to be shared with Bentley, the Mark VI, following their merger after WW2. For inspiration, today’s designers referred back to the 1950 Silver Dawn Drophead, of which only 28 were built during its five years in production. However, it’s perhaps too much of a simplification to say Dawn is little more than a convertible Wraith. Seventy per cent of its body panels are new, including a front grille that’s been recessed back further and a 53mm extension in the front bumper, which helps give a bit more perspective to the larger 21-inch, polished alloy wheels. In fact, Rolls-Royce claims that only the doors and rear bumper are carried over from the coupé. As the Wraith has a delightfully elegant swept back rear that gives it a speedback look, it gave the designers more freedom to distinguish the Dawn, which needs to accommodate the practicalities of a more traditional bootlid shape in order to stow the folding roof. The result is a pleasantly taut rear with fenders that rise gently to the hipline before stretching toward the tail. The company says it has worked hard to ensure that the Dawn is as smooth and as quiet as other Rolls-Royce models despite the absence of a fixed roof, delivering on the firm’s famed magic carpet ride.