Off-Roading

Rebelle Rally teams overcome elements, mechanical failures to conquer 1,700-mile course

At the end of the Rebelle Rally, participants drove their vehicles to Broadway Pier in San Diego for a public car show and their awards ceremony.

Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

The recipe for a Rebelle Rally team is straightforward. Take two adventurous women and combine them with analog navigation skills, basic emergency vehicle rescue techniques, and an off-roading-worthy vehicle. Add in a dash of hardiness, good communication skills, and a sense of humor. Marinate for 10 days in California and Nevada's forests, mountains, and deserts. On the last day, bake in the heat of the sun.

The journey itself is anything but simple. Rebelle Rally founder Emily Miller and her team spent months discovering and plotting the course for the navigation challenge, which had its beginning at Lake Tahoe and its end at the Imperial Sand Dunes near the U.S.-Mexico border. Desolate wasteland, tight corners, bulging dunes, craggy trails, and flats were all on the menu. Though the teams likely didn't take the time to stop and enjoy the views, Miller joked during the end-of-event celebration in San Diego on Saturday, the scenery was spectacular.

2019 Rebelle Rally team navigation Rebelle Rally participants were unable to use modern technology to help guide them on the course.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

At the beginning of the journey, temperatures hovered near freezing. By the time the teams reached the dunes, it topped 100 degrees in the abundant sunshine.

The course consisted of a number of check points which garnered the teams points. Green check points, all of which were mandatory, were the easiest and marked by flags. Blue were harder to find with only a few of them marked by flags while the rest were designated by posts. Black check points proved the most difficult with no official markings indicating that the team had arrived at the destination.

2019 Rebelle Rally Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross Team 207 ran a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross in the event and ended up with second place in the Crossover category.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

How many points the teams earned depended on how close they were to the correct coordinate positioning when they signaled in that they had arrived. They competed in two classes – 4x4 and Crossover. At the end of the race, the team in each category with the most points would leave the desert as the winner.

The 2019 Rebelle Rally ran 1,700 miles and featured 76 women paired up in 38 teams from 67 cities in 20 states/provinces in six countries. The vehicles were as diverse as the drivers themselves, with everything from stock vehicles to specially modified rigs.

None of the going was particularly easy. Team 200, driving a Rolls-Royce Cullinan, suffered during the Johnson Valley stage getting three flat tires. They could only carry two spares, so the teammates had to patch one of the punctures and hope for the best heading to Glamis, California and the final day of the competition. Taking on an extra tire would have resulted in a 50-point penalty and the standings were tight.

2019 Rebelle Rally Land Rover LR4 Team 164 had to be towed back to Base Camp after rolling their Land Rover LR4.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Team 210, driving a 2017 Subaru Crosstrek, lost their clutch during that stage, putting them out of the competition, but the event's mechanics were able to replace the clutch overnight making them able to complete the event though they no longer were eligible for points.

On the last day of competition, Team 164 rolled their 2013 Land Rover LR4 in the Glamis dunes, causing multiple windows to break, the windshield to crack, and airbags to go off. The Rebelle Rally support team was able to rescue the team quickly and towed their Land Rover back to base camp.

Later that evening at dinner, longtime Rebelle Rally competitor and 35-year Army Veteran Rachel Ridenour presented the Land Rover team with a large sticker featuring the image of a rolled over SUV and a phrase favorited by Forrest Gump. In front of the Rebelles, as term Miller uses to refer to the competitors, Ridenour reminded the group of a favorite saying of hers, "There are two types of off-roaders. Those that have rolled and those that haven't rolled yet." The crowd roared with laughter and applause.

2019 Rebelle Rally End Day Stage Glamis Rebelle crossed the finish line at the end of each day not knowing how many points they had earned. They would be told several hours later.Photo by Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

The Rebelle spirit of survival and overcoming obstacles is something that Miller doesn't just promote. She lives it as well. As a respected off-road racer and adventurer in her own right, the competition is just as personal for her as it is for the competitors.

Though Toyotas, Jeeps, and Land Rovers are often thought of as the champions of the off-roading space, the teams piloting them did not come out on top in the Rebelle Rally results.

When all was said and done, Team 190 driving a stock 2019 Lexus GX 460 took top honors in the 4x4 category. The Crossover class was won by Team 200 in their 6,000-pound Sapphire Blue Rolls-Royce Cullinan.

"This Cullinan is a hundred percent more capable than I thought it would be," said Team 200 driver Emme Hall during the awards ceremony Saturday at Broadway Pier in San Diego. "I thought we were going to have to go really slow through a lot of things. I thought we were going to have problems in the dunes. I thought it was going to be too heavy … Every single time, every day, it proved me wrong."

Each year, the Rebelles prove a lot of people wrong, including themselves, by rising to the challenge and pushing themselves and their vehicles to the limits.

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Rolls-Royce has crafted numerous vehicles over the last few years that push the envelope.

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Nearly every aesthetic aspect of a Rolls-Royce can be customized. From traditional leather choices to intricate inlays, vapor blasted titanium, and million-stitch embroidery, the options for owners from the Bespoke side of the brand are nearly endless.

"I am proud to say that the craftsmen and women of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars have surpassed themselves once again in creating an array of extraordinary motor cars, tailored to the requirements of some of the most influential and discerning individuals in the world," said Torsten Müller-Ötvös, Chief Executive, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. "These motor cars become unique works of art and it is an extraordinary feat when you consider that each and every single one of these unique commissions has been created on one production line at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex – the skills of these individuals knows no bounds."

Here, AutomotiveMap takes a closer look at some of the most intricate designs that the luxury automaker crafted in 2019.

The Arabian Gulf Phantom

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Canvas: Phantom │Medium: Embroidery, Paint, Mother of Pearl, Sculpted Silk Appliqué
The Arabian Gulf Phantom features the rich colors of the Middle East. The Phantom's Turchese paint job is evocative of vibrant water, while the Andalusian White upper two-tone recalls the purity of natural pearls. The car's Arctic White coachline features a hand-painted Nautilus shell motif.

A sculpted silk appliqué Gallery by British Artist Helen Amy Murray takes centre stage across the motor car's fascia. Reminiscent of swelling oceans, the Turchese Gallery is punctuated by a Mother of Pearl clock.

A take on the Nautilus shell that is on the exterior is embroidered on Phantom's rear doors, The motif is executed in Mother of Pearl marquetry on the picnic tables' fascia. Once deployed, the picnic tables present a complex piece of marquetry, incorporating Mother of Pearl to the picnic table-top.

Wraith Eagle VIII Collection

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Canvas: Wraith │Medium: Gold Vacuum Metalized Wood with Silver and Copper Inlays
Rolls-Royce created 50 unique Wraith Eagle VII Collection models to commemorate the anniversary of the first non-stop transatlantic flight by Alcock and Brown in June 1919. To complete the flight, the pilots were propelled by Rolls-Royce Eagle VIII engines.

The new models feature a unique starlight headliner with 1,183 fiber-optic lights were designed to be reminiscent of the nighttime sky at the time of the historic flight. The flight path and constellations are embroidered with the brass thread. The exact moment the duo left the clouds is marked by a red light.

The brass speaker covers are engraved with Winston Churchill's quote commending the pair's achievement on the driver's door.

It also features smoked eucalyptus fascia, vacuum metalized in gold and inlaid with silver and copper, depicting a birds-eye view of the Earth at night, showing a light map of roads and homes glittering below.

​The Million Stitch Rolls-Royce

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Canvas: Phantom │Medium: Embroidery
The Million Stitch Rolls-Royce Phantom features flowered embroidery that is made with a million stitches. The starting point of the stitching is a rose bred exclusively for Rolls-Royce by Harkness Roses. The Rolls-Royce headquarters in Goodwood, England, is the only place in the work where the rose is grown. Read more about the model here.

Ghost Zenith Collection

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars


Canvas: Ghost │Medium: Engraving, Commemoriate Ignot, Perforated Leather, Embroidery
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars marked the close of a decade of the current generation of Ghost by creating the limited edition Zenith Collection. Just 50 Ghosts were part of the collection, which featured the highest level of bespoke available in a Ghost Collection.

The Ghost Zenith references the 200EX, an experimental car that introduced the contemporary expression of the Ghost nameplate in 2009. This design was immortalized in a blueprint-inspired artwork, divided into 50 distinct parts, and engraved on the centre console of Ghost Zenith.

A commemorative ingot, made from the original Spirit of Ecstasy of 200EX, was set into the centre console of each of the cars. Each Ghost Zenith Collection model's Spirit of Ecstasy and clock are engraved with the Zenith name.

Inside, ambient lighting shines through perforated leather and the rear seats feature embroidery inspired by the seat details of the 1907 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. Standard wheelbase models feature a starlight headliner with a unique Shooting Star configuration. Light trails fire at random across the cabin roof, which consists of over 1,340 individual, hand-finished fibre-optic lights.

Bayside Dawn Aero Cowling

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Canvas: Dawn │Medium: Aero Cowling
Following the arrival of the Dawn Aero Cowling in 2018, a customer in Yokohama, Japan wanted to pay tribute to the sea with the Bayside Dawn Aero Cowling as part of their maritime-themed Bespoke motor car.

This one-off model drew inspiration from yachts and speedboats, and featured a combination of technical and natural materials including open-pore teak Canadel panelling that is reminiscent of a yacht's deck and technical fiber. The leather interior evokes the imagery of blue seas and white sails, two of the hallmarks of Yokohama Bay.

Digital Soul Phantom

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Canvas: Phantom │Medium: Additive Manufacturing, Gold Plating, Gold Inlays
Rolls-Royce describes the Digital Soul Phantom as, "a study in contemporary artisanship; a fusion of human endeavour and computer-generated design." The sedan features a Carrara White with Smokey Quartz two-tone paint job. The model goes beyond common customization.

The buyer's characteristics have been interpreted by an algorithm which translates the data into a swath of 3D-printed stainless steel. This has been hand-polished and plated in 24-carat gold. Additional gold detailing embellishes the interior of the motor car, with gold inlays set by hand in smoked eucalyptus wood and gold-plated speaker grilles.

Horology Phantom

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Canvas: Phantom │Medium: Stainless Steel and Gold Inlay, Coachline
This unique Phantom was inspired by a meeting between a Rolls-Royce designer and master horologists from La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. They had met to explore the complexities and exotic movements of luxury timepieces.

The model has a two-tone gunmetal and black paint job, and features a gold and silver hand-painted twin coachline with a design that was inspired by a watch. The Spirit of Ecstasy is cloaked in 24-carat gold. Its fascia features the largest stainless steel and gold inlay ever made for Phantom.

Positioned below a multiple layered stainless-steel Gallery, the inlay depicts an abstract schematic of a watch movement. The Rolls-Royce clock, housed in the Gallery, is set in a solid silver, guilloché case.

Pebble Beach Pastel Collection

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Canvas: Ghost, Dawn, Wraith │Medium: Paint, Technical Fiber
The Pastel Collection was showcased at Pebble Beach and featured colors drawn from the wildflower super-bloom in California. They're three Black Badge commissions feature new colors for the Rolls-Royce palette.

The Ghost Black Badge in this collection features a Light Green Solid finish, black leather interior with a Serenity Green splash that highlights the technical fibre of the fascia.

The Dawn Black Badge, in Coral Solid, carries seven coats of paint and took more than nine hours of hand-polishing in the Surface Finish Centre at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood to get to the finish line. The Coral colour carries over to the Aero Cowling, while the interior is finished in Artic White and Sunset.

The new Wraith Black Badge is featured in Semaphore Yellow, a bright and sunny finish with a complementary Selby Grey and Lemon interior.

Falcon Wraith

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Canvas: Wraith │Medium: Embroidery, Paint
The Falcon Wraith takes inspiration form the world's fastest bird, the Peregrine Falcon. Its interior features nearly 250,000 stitches. Read more about the Falcon Wraith here.

Tranquility Collection

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Canvas: Phantom │Medium: Meteorite, Space Grade Aluminum, Gold Plate
This vehicle truly pushes the envelope on Earthly delights. According to the automaker, "Tranquillity's Gallery is inspired by the X-Ray coded aperture masks used on the British Skylark space rocket. The Gallery is made from stainless steel, 24-carat gold plating and space grade aluminum."

This vehicle marks the first time in Rolls-Royce history that a meteorite has been incorporated into a car interior. Shavings of the Muonionalusta meteorite, which fell to earth in Kiruna, Sweden in 1906, adorn the Volume Controller, with a detailed engraving of the location and date of its discovery.

Inspired by the light and dark sides of the Moon, The interior's Arctic White or Selby Grey leather is inspired by the light and dark sides of the moon and combines with the veneer combinations of gloss and satin. Bespoke Audio speaker frets are finished in yellow gold, complementing the additional gold elements throughout the car.

A Bespoke 'Technical' yellow gold, vapor blasted and engraved titanium clock and engineered titanium Spirit of Ecstasy complete the aesthetic.

Cullinan in Fux Orange

Photo courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

Canvas: Cullinan │Medium: Paint
At Pebble Beach last year, alongside the Pastel Collection, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars debuted the colourful 'Cullinan in Fux Orange'. Mr. Fux, a prolific car collector, commissioned the model and worked with the Bespoke Collective at the Home of Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, West Sussex to create the custom model.

According to a release, "Fux, challenged designers to match the exterior colour to vibrant orange shawl that had caught his eye in South Florida. The shawl was delivered to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars where a colour-matching process began. Working together for nearly a year, the teams created a seven-layer surface, polished by hand for many hours in the Surface Finish Centre."

Rolls-Royce equipped the interior of the model with hand-crafted Arctic White leather with contrast Orange stitching and Orange Rolls-Royce 'RR' headrest monograms. Arctic White is carried over to the box-grain leather fascia, steering-wheel control stems, and carpets. There's also 'Fux Orange' fascia veneer, rear-view mirror and lambswool floor mats.