Luxury car producer Rolls-Royce is equipping some of its vehicles with hidden cipher messages. Two Germans play a major role in this marketing stunt.

In the seven years I have been writing this blog, I covered encrypted letters, postcards, books, diaries, newspaper ads, grave inscriptions, sculptures, geocaching hints, recipes, and graffiti, as well as crypto-related commercial spots, computer games, and movies. But I had never heard of a car producer hiding encrypted messages in one of their vehicle models.


An exclusive crypto-related Christmas present

As it seems, I can now finally close this gap thanks to a new Roll Royce special edition named Kryptos (thanks to blog readers Bill Briere and Eberhard Bauer for making me aware of this story). The Kryptos is produced in a limited series of 50 cars, sold at a price that is expected to be around 300,000 Euros. If you’re already looking for a crypto-related Christmas present and you think that my next book Codebreaking: A Practical Guide is not exclusive enough, here you go.

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“A compendium of historical cryptography. Approachable, accessible, this book brings back the joy I felt when I first read about these things as a kid.”

Sir Dermot Turing, author of “Prof”, the biography of his uncle, Alan Turing


Each Rolls-Royce Kryptos contains a series of hidden cryptograms. The game begins with some Morse code on the car’s Spirit of Ecstasy badge at the front. More messages become evident throughout various places in the vehicle. The solutions of these cipher messages are only known to the German CEO of Rolls-Royce, Torsten Müller-Ötvös. There doesn’t seem to be a formal reward for solving them.

The Car and Driver web portal writes about the Rolls-Royce Kryptos: “There are few truly novel ideas when it comes to car marketing, but this does seem to be one. We’ve seen hidden Easter-egg details in cars before now, but with the Wraith Kryptos Rolls-Royce seems to be attempting something closer to a Dan Brown novel. […] [A car] that could appeal strongly to those who have made their cash in the technology sector, or even more obviously through cryptocurrencies.”

Rolls-Royce writes on their website: “Designed as an homage to the clandestine world of cryptology, this bespoke collection of 50 motor cars beckons to those with an inquiring mind.”


Not much is known

To my regret, not much seems to be publicly known about the cryptograms Rolls-Royce hid in the Kryptos. All I have found so far are two pictures in the press kit that contain hints to ciphers.

Source: Rolls-Royce

However, neither of the two images provides any cryptograms.

Source: Rolls-Royce

On the Rolls-Royce website, it says: “In the coming days, a cryptographic challenge will appear here.” So, I hope that the non-Rolls-Royce-customers among us will have the chance to join the mystery hunt soon.


An idea from Germany

The idea for the crypto puzzle came from Rolls-Royce designer Katrin Lehmann, also a German, who has turned a personal interest in hidden messages into the idea of an encrypted car. In spite of the car’s name, there is no relationship to the famous Kryptos sculpture located at CIA headquarters in the USA.

If you happen to be one of the 50 customers who are going to purchase a Rolls-Royce Kryptos or if you know more about these cryptograms from another source, please let me know. I’m sure many of my readers will be able to help breaking the ciphers.

Further reading: Can you decipher this advertisement poster?


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Kommentare (4)

  1. #1 Klaus Schmeh
    13. Juli 2020

    Christof Rieber via Facebook:
    Is there really anybody here around NOT owning a Rolls Royce..!?? Heart attack.

  2. #2 Breaker
    2. August 2020

    All I got for cracking these codes was a lousy pair of custom limited edition Arnette Sunglasses called Hot Shots……lol

    Combining the font of Kryptos with symbols taken from the Zodiac and Scorpion Ciphers they encoded the words SECRET ART behind the letters in ARNETTE

    Pretty cool to see the Rolls Royce company step in to up the ante, but it’s clearly Kryptos/Sanborn inspired even though they act otherwise

    Guess that means that Rolls Royce has disavowed even the artist that inspired their mystery and are taking it to the next level

  3. #3 Breaker
    4. August 2020

    I played the game and it is pretty cool so far

    Level One is two puzzles that are labyrinths and require you to angle the phone to move a ball through the puzzles to the center, and along the way the puzzle will spin like a clock some degrees. If the ball is in a corner at that point it will sling it out of the labyrinth and you have to start over. The first is a classic roundabout path and the second is a more direct route to the center. After that you are asked to submit your information to progress to Level Two….name and email is all they want to throw out swag about their cars.

    Level Two is takes you into raw cryptography and has an interesting selection of historical value added, beginning with the question that asks you what was the key that was used to break the code behind Egyptian Hieroglyphs, and the answer being the Rosetta Stone, from Campolleon’s study of the 3 alphabets. Second question is a decoded Roman Numeral – MMXIV – giving you 2014 as the answer. The Third question is a ciphertext that has to be decoded – HGVVIRMT DSVVO – and the hint reads “Going Forwards Requires Going Backwards” hinting at the reversal of the alphabet and the substitution revealing the words – STEERING WHEEL. The Fourth requires a translation of a standard Braille ciphertext into the words ALAN TURING

    I am at Level Three with 3 questions now and am stuck. When I take a copy of the photo to break apart the individual letters and numbers, the file name says clearly right after the words .png, Base64, with a huge CT strand. I cannot tell if the text in the photo is the CT or the CT from the file name is used.

    When tried a Base 64 on the file name there was a deceptive result giving jarble…but running an A1Z26 gave a very spaced out set of phrases on the settings of A-0 and A-1, so the code may be used differently

    Regardless neither of the two CTs from the Image file nor the letters revealed in the picture will produce anything that the computer game will accept from computerized results, and even the attempt to anagram a phrase from it directly. So maybe you can figure out the next steps

    So far I have not seen anyone trying or posting the results of their questions online in reddit or Twitter posts but I will add anything else that I can find and maybe we can win a free car…there are only 50 made and they are expensive. Likewise not one of the owners has posted any other pics yet so there is a wonder around the whole puzzle

  4. #4 Brian D Oberg
    12. Februar 2021

    Hello, my name is Brian Oberg. I am a Senior Nuclear Safety Analyst at the Hanford Site in Washington State. I’m a member of the American Cryptogram Association and I have solved the codes on the Wraith Kryptos fascia by looking at online photos. I spoke with the Rolls-Royce Kryptos designers this morning and they have asked me to help keep the secret. If any Wraith Kryptos owners are intrested, they can reach me at