It was launched with great enthusiasm as the coveted £ 3,500 "extra" for anyone buying a Rolls-Royce sedan.
The glow in the dark version of the Spirit of Ecstasy has been shining proudly for four years and elegantly illuminating the way into the future.
But now the Flying Lady will have dimmed her lights without further ado after violating the updated EU rules on vehicle safety – which are still in force during the course of the Brexit negotiations.
The illuminated figure has been banned by the European Union, whose latest directives now mean that illuminated hood ornaments are now illegal.
Rolls-Royce's £ 3,500 glow-in-the-dark Spirit of Ecstasy option (pictured) no longer meets EU safety regulations
It is believed that this is part of a much broader response to "light pollution".
Rolls-Royce confirmed the figurines would need to be separated but offered customers a full refund and replacement mascot.
One angry driver said, "I paid £ 3,500 for this option and it turns off like a lightbulb."
Another said, "It's a tragedy – more a spirit of madness than a spirit of ecstasy."
Goodwood, Sussex-based luxury automaker, owned by German auto giant BMW, has tacitly taken the option off the sale, though a quick online search reveals it is still showing up on the company's website with the price on request.
Following complaints from existing Rolls-Royce owners, the Daily Mail reached out to Rolls-Royce, which confirmed it is responding to a change in EU rules and is currently informing its customers of the measures required and the compensation packages it is setting up.
The glow-in-the-dark “Flying Lady” was offered as an option on all models, including the top-of-the-line Phantom, the previous generation Ghost, the sporty Wraith models, the Dawn convertible and the Cullinan off-roader.
Introduced in 2017, the eighth generation Phantom costs from £ 350,000, although most buyers customize their vehicles and bring their final price closer to £ 500,000.
The luxury car manufacturer based in Goodwood in Sussex (picture), which belongs to the German auto giant BMW, has tacitly taken the option out of the sale. However, a quick online search reveals that it continues to show up on the company's website with the price on request.
A Rolls-Royce Phantom, with the illuminated Flying Lady currently still intact and glowing brightly, is currently on sale by leading independent luxury and supercar dealer Tom Hartley, who said "It could become a collector's item."
The illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy first appeared on the prototype of an electric self-driving Rolls-Royce 103EX test model presented in 2016. Soon after, it was offered as a paid option for mainstream models.
The Rolls-Royce website says: “The illuminated spirit of ecstasy, which is provided with a modern matt effect, leaves an impressive impression and projects a crown of light.
Rolls-Royce, contacted by the Daily Mail, confirmed that the "very popular and very much appreciated" lighted Spirit of Ecstasy was withdrawn as a customer option in early 2019 as EU rules on car lighting were likely to have changed part of a lot more comprehensive action against "light pollution".
The glow-in-the-dark "Flying Lady" was offered as an option on all models including the top-of-the-line Phantom (pictured), the previous generation Ghost, the sporty Wraith models, the Dawn convertible, and the Cullinan off-wheeler
It was "a little sad" to do so, but it was a "moral obligation" to comply with the EU directive.
A Rolls-Royce spokesman said: “In February 2019, we sent our dealers a bulletin removing the option of an unlit Spirit of Ecstasy. It should no longer be sold to customers. It was removed from the list of options. "
Regarding the separation of the illuminated ecstatic spirit in existing cars that already have it, the spokesperson said, “Unfortunately we tell our customers that we must legally separate their ecstatic spirit.
The spokesman added, “We are in the process of putting a package together. We will be writing to offer a quote for a full refund, Silver-Plated Spirit of Ecstasy replacement, or any other option from our list. "
“We felt it was our moral obligation. We sold this option in very good faith. We are forced to withdraw it now through no fault of our own. "
The EU directive that has doomed the illuminated flying lady is Regulation 48 – "UNECR48 – with 242 tightly packed pages of technical specifications and drawings under the less snappy headline:" Uniform provisions on the approval of vehicles with regard to installation of lighting and light signal devices. & # 39;
The Department of Transport, which oversees the UK Vehicle Certification Body (VCA), also confirmed: "Illuminated bonnet decorations are not allowed under the EU approval process for the entire vehicle type."
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