You could say that Jack Boyd Smith Jr. took a chance when he commissioned his new single, extended wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantom. A resident of Elkhart, Indiana, the classic car collector and industrialist petitioned Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to have his vehicle’s exquisite interior feature one of the rarest types of wood on the planet; Hawaiian koa.
It seems that Smith, whose Gaska Tape company makes duct tape and foam for the auto industry, loves Hawaii and anything made from Koa wood. His favorite piece of furniture is a Koa rocking chair that he and his wife Laura bought years ago in Maui.
Typically sourcing rare wood for veneers on a Phantom is not a challenge for Rolls-Royce Bespoke woodworking craftsmen in the UK. But with the protected koa trees in Hawaii, only dead or downed trees can be harvested. And then it can only be from private land.
According to Rolls-Royce, the search and negotiation process to purchase a suitable copy of the prized Koa took almost three years. The end result, however, is spectacular. Rich, warm honey-colored Koa lining flows through the Phantom’s dash, center console, rear picnic tables, and doors. It’s even used in a matching picnic basket that alone took over 500 hours to create.
Not surprisingly, then, the most complex and expensive example of the model to be delivered to an American buyer is known as “The Phantom of Koa.”
“Now every time I get in the car, I remember Hawaii,” says Smith, who adds the eighth-generation Phantom EWB to his ever-growing collection. With a total of more than 60 cars at this time, its assembly includes four other Rolls-Royce cars; a rare 1923 Silver Ghost, a 2001 Corniche convertible, a 2011 Phantom Drophead and a 2015 Phantom.
But it was another award from his collection, a 1934 Pebble Beach winning Packard Twelve, that inspired the stunning deep blue exterior color of his latest Phantom. And here was yet another challenge.
Matching the exact shade of “Packard Blue” took over 40 tries. To help with the process, Smith even had a fender removed from his Packard and shipped to Rolls-Royce headquarters in Goodwood, England.
Complementing the stunning paintwork, the Phantom features contrasting Dove Gray hand-painted pinstripes on each side, with custom initials “JBS Jr” on the driver’s door and Mrs. Smith’s initials “LAS” on the front. Passenger side.
Other customizations include a solid sterling silver Spirit of Ecstasy accent on that iconic grille, Dove Gray leather interior that also matches the Packard’s cabin, and a twinkling Starlight Headliner with 1,420 fiber optic lights in navy leather. The pattern represents the constellations in the night sky over Cleveland, Ohio, on Mr. Smith’s birthday.
For Smith, who only started collecting cars in 2013 and admits to buying eight classics in one day, his new Phantom was certainly worth the wait, and he refers to it as “a true work of art.” To see the complete JBS collection, go to thejbscollection.com.