Spirit of ecstasy: Rolls-Royce redesigns its iconic ornament

Rolls-Royce's glides into the future with a reimagined figurine atop its first fully electric car

Motoring 1 Jun 2022

Eleanor Thornton, who is said to have inspired the original figurine

The most famous hood ornament of all has been given a makeover for the new Rolls-Royce Spectre. The redesign – lower and more dynamic – brings the figurine closer to the original designed by Charles Sykes in the early 20th century. It is rumoured that Sykes modelled it on Eleanor Thornton, who had an affair with John Montagu. Baron Montagu of Beaulieu was enamoured with Thornton and decorated his Silver Ghost with the statue dubbed “The Whisper”, which was later refined and adopted by Rolls-Royce for all of its vehicles.

A slightly less romantic fact is that the new model will help the all-electric Spectre achieve an even better drag coefficient and make it the most aerodynamic that Rolls-Royce has ever created.


The original inspiration for Rolls Royce’s figurine