Rolls-Royce takes care of all its cars, but no other car gets the whole factory’s attention like the SRH, an electric children’s car it built in 2017.
The toy car holds a special place in the employees’ hearts because of the important work it does. The car is used to let children at St. Richard’s Hospital in Chichester drive themselves to the operating theater for surgery, rather than walking or being wheeled there.
Since leaving the factory, though, the car has taken more than 2,000 children to surgery and signs of its age are showing. So, after 100,000 meters (100 km / 62.1 miles), the Rolls has finally returned to the factory to get the renewal it richly deserves.
“Building the Rolls-Royce SRH for St Richard’s Hospital was tremendously satisfying for all concerned,” says Andrew Ball, head of corporate relations at Rolls-Royce. “That it has been used so extensively and made such a positive contribution to so many children’s experiences, makes it all the more rewarding. It was wonderful to see it back at the Home of Rolls-Royce and to have the opportunity to return it to its original, magnificent state.”
With a body made of fiberglass and carbon fiber, a pantheon grille, a seat hand-made from wood and lined with medical-grade vinyl, a custom 3D printed dash, and more, there was a lot to work on. In all the repairs took around 400 hours to complete, says Rolls-Royce, all of which was done on the employees’ own time. And the timing was perfect.
“The servicing of our mini Rolls-Royce is perfect timing as we transition out of Covid restrictions and begin to restore our pediatric surgical services,” says Linda Collins, Day Surgery Unit Sister. “Once again, our youngest patients can experience the full use of the car as part of their journey to surgery.”
The car, says Collins, helps take the kids’ minds off of the surgery ahead and focus on the fun of driving a genuine Rolls-Royce around in a hospital. With a top speed of 4 mph thanks to its silent electric motor, it helps get the kids to their appointment with the quiet pomp of the real thing.
“In its design, materials and manufacture, this really is a Rolls-Royce in miniature,” says Ball. “It’s very rare that a motor car returns to the Home of Rolls-Royce to have scuffs and scrapes buffed out of its paintwork, and in this instance we’re entirely untroubled. It shows that the car is being used and enjoyed, which is ultimately what every Rolls-Royce is for.”