- The “Chariot of Dreams;” a singular, spectacular example of modern coachbuilding at its finest
- Among the final vehicles completed by the revived Hooper & Co.
- Extravagant interior appointments include fine barware, vanity set, and original Toshiba electronics
- Documented with extensive build information and period press articles
- Subject of a comprehensive historical retrospective by Don Stott in The Flying Lady, May/June 2018
Hooper & Company, the revered British coachbuilders once favored by the Royal Family, was revived by a team led by Canadian businessman John Dick in the 1980s to build highly unique, one-off creations, based upon modern Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, for a wealthy clientele worldwide. Their most amazing creation was this car, the Emperor State Landaulet, commissioned by the Silver Lady Trust, an Australian charitable organization backed by 21 investors and led by Stephen Berry.
Based upon a Silver Spirit, the Masons Black and Royal Claret car had its chassis extended by nearly three feet, with new, custom-crafted rear doors and window glass accommodating a raised roofline with a removable center panel and folding landaulet top, in the style of parade vehicles of old. For promotional purposes, the doors could be locked in the open position, with polished “By Appointment” tread plates. The fully custom velour interior, accented by rich cedar-dyed burled walnut, provides seating for four passengers in a “conversation pit,” with entertainment and communications equipment that were, for 1989, state of the art. These included a Philips LCD color television in the armrest, a Philips 984 radio and compact disc player, and a Toshiba computer and printer, as well as sets of crystal flutes and tumblers; a refrigerator was tucked into the trunk.
The Emperor was finally completed in 1991, and widely exhibited throughout Europe before moving to Australia in late 1992, where it appeared at the Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth motor shows in 1993. Apparently, it was planned that “The Chariot of Dreams,” as it was dubbed, would be used to promote charities, with an accompanying book, written by Berry, and a full European tour in the car for a lucky contest winner. Plans for the event never panned out and the car was subsequently acquired by Hooper in 1994, and was maintained in their corporate collection until 2010. Following ownership in Switzerland, it was bought by its third owners, the Calumet Collection. There it would remain until 2019, when it was acquired by the consignor.
Still in excellent, largely original condition, with 13,140 miles recorded at cataloguing and its original accessories and accoutrements intact, this truly is the Chariot of Dreams—one of the most fabulous modern Rolls-Royces ever produced, and a ride fit for an emperor.