By on May 24, 2013

IMG_8273

When the call came in, I had shit on my hands. I’m speaking literally here, standing atop Quarry Rock in North Vancouver, tomato-faced and lathered with sweat after a hurried hike. My sleeping infant daughter had somehow just managed to relieve herself on the outside of her diaper – real assassination-of-JFK stuff, a second pooper on the grassy knoll.

Would I like to spend a day squiring a Rolls about town? Would I ever: a few short days later and I’m peering through the steering wheel spokes of a vehicle that is as quintessentially British as Queen Victoria herself.

Which is to say, a big fat German with a limited sense of humour.

IMG_8263

Yes, peel back the aluminium bodywork of this eight-horse gilded royal stage-coach to find a beating twelve-cylinder heart built by a company whose previous efforts once propelled Junkers over London’s East End to blast chirrupy Cockneys into smithereens. That was then, this is now.

The Rolls-Royce Phantom’s V-12 might share architecture with the boorish seven-series BMW, but it does so in the same way that the House of Hanover once sent over George I to assist the ruling families of Britain in breeding a race of men composed entirely of teeth, charisma and forehead. Which eugenics program, by the way, is going rather swimmingly.

This is a pan-European vehicle – the aluminium space frame is forged in Norway, machined in Denmark, welded in Germany and then shipped off to jolly old Blighty for final assembly. Each Roller is built to client specification in the Goodwood factory, a few miles from the racing circuit of the same name, once the playground of well-heeled gentleman racers.

IMG_8277

Vancouver can boast the largest number of long-wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantoms anywhere in North America, though you’d not often see one. These sit on the road the way one of Edward I’s conqueror’s castles stand on the Welsh countryside – huge, dark, brooding things with their own gravity well of opulence; mirror images of the machines that ferry their Pacific Rim masters in whisper-silence past factories, tenements, the noisy, dirty, roiling mass of low-caste humanity. You might not be able to hear the clock on the dash anymore, but if you listen closely, you can hear groans of the workers that bear the weight of these monstrosities on their back, churning out an endless stream of cheap consumer products for our relentless Western appetite.

On the other hand, the Phantom Drophead coupe is meant to be a much less serious pleasure yacht for the acceptably wealthy. You know, Bertie Wooster, Jay Gatsby – that sort of thing. In fact, when I show up at the local dealership carrying a camera and wearing a seven-dollar button-down, the Drophead is just leaving on a test-drive with an actual Count. I meet the man briefly later and he seems all charm and polish and breeding and disinclined to bite anyone on the neck or to cackle with joy while tallying up a number of unconvincing bat puppets.

Here are the changes for the now decade-old Phantom, if you care, which you probably don’t. The transmission is now replaced with an eight-speed BMW unit, the headlights have been changed out for slitted LED units, and the front grille is now hewn from a single piece of stainless steel – the better with which to mow down pheasants peasants, one assumes.

Minor tweaks, to be sure, but the improvement is really quite marked. The old round headlights for the previous generation car always made the car look like Thomas the Tank Engine’s derpiest friend – as though someone had stuck wide-spaced googly eyes on the Flying Scotsman. Now though, the Series II has the face of a Monarch, even if the royal in question is, you know, a bit Henry-VIII-ish.

IMG_8292

Gazing out over the polished prow, nose, beak, bowsprit, snout, proboscis – anything to avoid the Conneticut-accented “bonnet” with which the RR PR lady sharply corrected my “hood” – I can’t help but feel that I’m about to engage in the largest single act of fronting since Vanilla Ice pretended to sling rock. There is no way I could ever conceive of affording a half-million-dollar machine like this. Six or seven generations ago, my ancestors wouldn’t even have been allowed to own a horse worth more than five pounds.

Automotive writing can already be weird this way: you catch yourself saying things like, “Oh, but I’d rather have the Porsche,” when really, I’d have the Subaru. And I’d buy it second-hand. However, poncing about in a gleaming white Rolls is on another plane of feigned success entirely.

It’s a bit like being handed the Crown Jewels for a day – the immediate visceral response is to do something wildly inappropriate. I am instantly filled with the urge to go directly to the nearest McDonald’s drive-through and ask for Grey Poupon on my Chicken McNuggets. Instead, it being such a sunny afternoon, I go for a sail. Er, drive.

IMG_8278

“Smooth” is, as the old Monty Python skit goes, an inadequate description of the sweetmeat. This machine glides like a dowager Duchess yet accelerates like Prince Phillip hearing a liquor cabinet open. Apply some gentle pressure with your right foot and feel the nose lift slightly – both yours and the car’s. There’s a sense of great inertia, of hundreds of years of privilege and heritage, a great heavy, ponderous mass like a post-lunch House of Lords.

Of course, this being the Rolls one buys if one is interested in driving, there is a sport button on the steering wheel. It’s quite prominent, and labelled proudly with a burnished S and – well imagine you were on a bus tour and came around a corner to find that someone had fitted Westminster Abbey with anti-roll bars and an enormous spoiler. It’s as farcical as, oh I don’t know, strange women lying around in ponds distributin’ swords.

IMG_8270_2

Elsewhere the cabin is – it’s whatever you want it to be, really. Rolls-Royce’s bespoke program allows you to carpet the seats and line the floor in leather, if you so choose. Chuck out the back seats for a humidor? Done. This is all ordering off the menu; if it’s physically possible, RR’s engineers will have a go at it.

All part of the experience, but so too is the beacon of affluence this thing projects. The roads here are cluttered with Range Rover Sports and AMG-badged Mercs and Porsche SUVs and M-sport BMWs and the Roller just crushes their showy, desperate, over-chromed avarice beneath its wheels as Gatsby’s creamy yellow Ghost did Myrtle Wilson.

Or so it would seem to me, as I glide along in the sunshine, radiating positively Trumpian levels of smug self-satisfaction. And then – you can’t make this stuff up – someone drives past going the other way in a Ferrari Enzo. Well, that puts rather a damper on the evening.

IMG_8288

Time for Cinderella’s carriage to turn back into a pumpkin – time for me to return to the comfortable middle-class lifestyle my parents worked their asses off to get: a lifestyle my daughter’s children might not be able to enjoy no matter how bright they are, nor how hard they work. This Roller is a chariot for the glittering Eloi, and if we’re not exactly Morlocks yet, that does seem to be the way things are going. Even the once enthusiastic Chinese are saying things along the lines of, “only a dragon can breed another dragon; the children of rats are fated to scrabble in the darkness.”

I head back to return the keys via the looping asphalt of Stanley Park. The traffic is nonexistent, and I am entirely ensconced in the throne room of my own mind when I turn a corner and come across a young family waiting at a crosswalk.

IMG_8269_2

I shift my right foot off the accelerator and gently depress the brake, causing the Royce to roll to a halt soundlessly, graciously. A magnanimous tilt of the head and intentions are made clear – the saucer-eyed child grips his mother’s hand tightly and the father half-raises a hand in salute as the family crosses the road.

There, beneath susurrating trees that send leafy shadows dancing across the Spirit of Ecstasy, safe in the green heart of our city of glass, we smile and smile and smile and smile – I in my borrowed ermine robes, they in their mass-produced best.

IMG_8268

And, at the very same time, thousands of miles away, the thump of industrial looms sends sand scurrying from a fresh crack in the foundation of a Bangladeshi garment factory; gas-flares flicker weakly in the poisonous miasma of a Nigerian swamp; a blind, mindless grey dragon receives the wrong instructions and pivots on kevlar wings to vomit fire and death into an Afghani wedding – the brief, bright, burning flash of Hellfire rockets turning love and hope and joy and life into heaps of drifting ash.

IMG_8283

This is a fine automobile. A lovely bright bauble built to amuse the super-wealthy and then be discarded once it is no longer a status symbol. It’s a chariot for the people who would be our kings.

Well, I’m a peasant. And I didn’t vote for them.

Rolls-Royce provided the vehicle tested, insurance and fuel.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

118 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead...”


  • avatar
    Austin Greene

    Well done, my good man.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I concur.

    • 0 avatar
      jeffzekas

      Brendan, It is possible to use the English language, be witty, and not use swear words or foul language. This is evidenced by such brilliant writers at Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and Douglas Adams. Read these authors. Now. Then start over again. Thank you.

      • 0 avatar
        Brendan McAleer

        Hi Jeff,

        I hardly ever use foul language. In fact, there are only two pieces on this site where you will find the word “Shit” used by me, and nothing stronger ever. I am very familiar with the authors you mention. You will find both Pratchett and Adams use foul language very seldom, but they do use it. Perhaps you’ve not read the uncensored version of Life, The Universe and Everything?

        I thought the use warranted here. Apol

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        From Wiki re Life the Universe and Everything (you kneebiter):

        This book is the only one in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series to have been censored in its U.S. edition.[4] The word “asshole” is replaced with the word “kneebiter”, and the word “shit” is replaced with “swut”. Possibly the most famous example of censorship is in Chapter 22 and 23, which in the U.K. edition mentions that a Rory was an award for the Most Gratuitous Use of the Word ‘Fuck’ in a Serious Screenplay. In the U.S. edition, this was changed to “Belgium” and the text from the original radio series describing “Belgium” as the most offensive word in the galaxy is reused.

      • 0 avatar
        Compaq Deskpro

        If you ask me, shit in reference to feces passes while shit in reference to nonsense or an exclamatory does not.

      • 0 avatar

        Folks: Please stop telling writers what and how to write. There is something called free speech. It is subject to certain limitations, however, they do not limit what one calls baby feces. A ban on words is the beginning of the end.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          It’s just childish trolling again ~

          If you can , do .

          If you can’t and you have the emotional maturity of a 7 year old and access to a computer , this is what they do .

          -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            BigOlds

            I certainly do not find the use of the foul language here to be offensive or inappropriate- I like the point that the use of “shit” to refer to excrement is, well, accurate. There is gratuitous use and there is clever use. Foul language is not necessarily boorish.

            That said, there is no issue of free speech here. Free speech only applies in a government context. Bertel, you have the right to censor any language you like on your site, as it is a private enterprise.

            Most of all: Am I the only one who sees the burning irony of Bertel invoking free speech in his request that people stop complaining about the speech?

        • 0 avatar
          Halloween Jack

          One might even say that a ban on words is downright shitty.

      • 0 avatar
        agroal

        The author is way to full of himself. The car. More about the car. Nobody cares about personal family details nor want’s to try and decipher all the stupid references that have zero to do with the car. McAleer’s writing “style” reminds me of that unreadable idiot John Phillips who tortures readers of Car & Driver. He insists on including his dog in his photo. Usually after reading the third sentence I’ve turned the page.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      I concur with the concurrence.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    More than pan-European.

    The front end shows design cues from Ricoh office copiers.
    Paper drawer under the grille.

  • avatar
    kjb911

    may have had a slight tear by the end…great article

  • avatar
    Pan

    Nice car. Real.
    Too bad about the review. Sophomoric.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      I guess people and opinions are different. I liked the review more than the car.. One of the best attempts at “make sure every single sentence drips with wittiness I have read in a long time, in fact.”

      As for the car, it’s too darned big (I’m not even going to say too expensive, as a crazy price is part of it’s appeal). Otherwise wonderful. What bothers me is that the the complete lack of a “downmarket” version of this; a large comfortable, non “sporty” cruising ‘vert, for sane coin from a mainstream manufacturer, indicates automakers feel the ONLT appeal of a car like this is pure ostentatia. Which really bothers the F out of me, since it is exactly the kind of car I would want for a god bit of the driving I do. And I refuse to believe I’m so far ex center, that my likes are completely at odds with those of the rest of the car buying population.

    • 0 avatar
      SomeGuy

      Agreed. One of the poorest reviews I have ever read on this site.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        ++, there’s using adjectives and references as tasteful seasoning on a finely crafted entree, then there’s slathering them on like ketchup on a cheap steak. This is the latter.

  • avatar
    Madroc

    Cheap interior. The dashboard is too hard and the iPhone integration sucks.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Well that took a dark turn.

    It’s like someone hit the iHAWK doctor’s switch from irreverent to maudlin.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Welcome back, Brendan. Great vignette.

  • avatar
    TAP

    It is a great vignette, but please give us more detail on the driving experience.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    “One mandate from the masses! Two mandates from the masses! Three mandates from the masses! Ah, ah ah!”

    Sesame Street and Monty Python references will forgive all other histrionics. And Brendan, there are many of us here in Ottawa trying to make sure the Morlock thing happens somewhere else, but not here. Small comfort I know, but don’t lose hope yet.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    What a treat for TTAC. Three blue-blooded British rides in half as many days.

    Also another change: the flagship Phantom finally got the updated iDrive system that had graced rest of the BMW/Mini/Rolls-Royce fleet by the end of MY2010. This is evidenced by the wider infotainment display that it should have had way back in MY2003. I am surprised that it did not also get the more-powerful V12 that is in the 7-Series and Ghost.

    But despite the effortlessness of the Phantom, it does seem like Bentley’s Mulsanne is a bit more special.

    • 0 avatar
      Summicron

      “What a treat for TTAC. Three blue-blooded British rides in half as many days.”

      I hope you’re feeling properly conflicted and remorseful as you admire these relics of brutal imperialisi….. pfah… can’t keep a straight face.

  • avatar
    Keith_93

    I love the look of a classic Rolls.

    But… from the front… that is a seriously ugly car. Hideous.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    This review was terrible. You never explained anything about how the car handled, or the seat comfort, or legroom, or the convertible retraction speed, or under/oversteer… This whole article was about how lucky you were to be given this car. Congratulations, but I didn’t learn anything.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      I concur. I can’t tell if it’s a class warfare piece, an xenophobic editorial about the yellow peril, or about British idiosyncrasies. I would have been more interested in reading about an entire article about it’s doors and the dilemma of opening them in various situations.

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        ” I would have been more interested in reading about an entire article about it’s doors and the dilemma of opening them in various situations.”

        Those doors aren’t a dilemma at all for their intended celebrity buyers. The whole point of the suicide doors is that when your driver opens your door for you he’s standing BEHIND the door when it opens. That way skanks like Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears can flash more bare crotch shots at the paparazzi with an unimpeded view.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        ++

    • 0 avatar
      toplessFC3Sman

      Well… do you think any of those details matter as much as the fact that it’s a Rolls Royce, an experience, and the price tag to most potential owners? I thought it was pretty much spot-on

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    “I’m peering through the steering wheel spokes of a vehicle that is as quintessentially British as Queen Victoria herself.

    Which is to say, a big fat German with a limited sense of humour.”

    Absolutely priceless! Well done! Some around here are desperately in need of a sense of humour themselves.

  • avatar
    Petra

    “The old round headlights for the previous generation car always made the car look like Thomas the Tank Engine’s derpiest friend – as though someone had stuck wide-spaced googly eyes on the Flying Scotsman.”

    I LOLd.

  • avatar
    AFX

    The front end looks like a Kenworth, the interior looks like it was designed by Bayliner with gauges ordered from Summit, and the steering wheel looks like it came off of a 1950′s era bumper car.

    Imagine getting gooned up some night then going out to get in that car and suddenly discovering “Somebody stole my damned door handles !”. Then after fumbling around for awhile you finally find them, open the door and crawl into the car, only to realise you got in the wrong way and your face is in the headrest on the passenger’s side.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      In my opinion, this car is still wrought with some of the convoluted elements that were present in 2003-era BMW design, but it’s much closer in this second iteration to being as cohesive as the Rolls-Royces of yore. I wouldn’t call it hideous, though…and it is much better than its predecessors, the eighties and nineties Bentley/Rolls-Royce models. Perhaps they’ll get it completely right in the next go, because rumor has it that Rolls-Royce plans to retire the Phantom in 2016 for something else entirely.

  • avatar
    360joules

    Is it rear wheel drive or front wheel drive? Does it come with a diesel? Can I get it with a Hemi? Will it out-accelerate that annoying kid with a buzzy exhaust in a Civic. What’s the 0-60 or 0-100? Honestly, Brendan, you were damned if you wrote your review as lifestyle commentary or if you had written it as some sort of R0BB report infomercial that recreated numbers from RR headquarters.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    My main issue with these Rolls-Royces is that they are only preservable because of the fact that they are infrequently driven. Most E65 7-Series units—which share many parts with the Phantom—are well on their way to catastrophic meltdown mode, and the F01 7-Series doesn’t appear to be much better. All of those actuators and fussy electronics have a lot to do with it, and they certainly aren’t upgradeable once they become dated. Moreover, the parent companies seem reluctant to upgrade these super-luxury sedans until far after their plebeian counterparts. BMW did not give the Phantom the upgraded iDrive that all of its other cars received in 2009-2010 until MY2013…in other words, just now. And Volkswagen Group let the previous-gen Bentley Continental and current Lamborghini Gallardo slide with outdated technology for several years.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Kyree, you raise a more general question that’s been raised before: Will all the high-end cars of today be essentially unrestorable, even if every bit of them is in pristine condition EXCEPT the electronics?

      It’s unlikely to be worth the cost and effort to recreate these various custom electronic parts, processors, connectors, etc., just to serve a tiny audience of car restorers. It could well be the only cars for which you’ll be able to get these parts are the ones produced in such massive numbers that it’s still profitable to mass-produce them.

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        The Rolls will still be restorable in the future, just as a resto-mod. Ditch the engine and put in a big block rat motor or a Hemi with a blower sticking out of the hood, an MSD ignition system, tub the rear wheel wells and drop a Ford 9-inch under it, add some headers, side exhaust, and a set of Torque Thrust D’s, and you’ll be good to go.

        Or you could go with a flat black paint job, a set of steelies painted red, and some whitewalls.

        Or you could go the pro-touring route and lower it and put a race suspension package under it.

        Or you could airbag it and turn it into a lowrider with gold plated spoked wheels, a red velour interior, and dingleballs hanging from the windshield header.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    With your imagery as contrasting as the red leather piping, I could all but hear “God Save The Queen” emanating from the Lexicon Logic-7 audio system as you cruised by the hoards of the great unwashed… Cars like this can conjure up images of carefree royal excursions in the countryside, or because obscene wealth knows no prejudice, the more likely scenario of someone who might be on their way to a date with a Kardashian

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ? Suicide doors are still legal ? .

    I rather liked the whole article but $5.00 says RR never lets you in the door again

    Jolly Good Show! .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      olddavid

      Nate – You’re probably correct in your assessment of his chances for a repeat performance. But isn’t once enough for anyone? Like visiting the Chocolate Factory or Disneyland? These cars embody nothing I desire in an automobile other than horsepower and fit and finish – easily obtainable in lighter guise with self-provided sweat equity I enjoy doing, anyway. The only Rolls I ever desired was Travis McGee’s pickup.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        I no longer remember the details of McGee’s R.R. pickup truck , pre war IIRC .

        When my father went to Jolley Olde Englande in the 1950′s he saw many 1920′s & 1930′s vintage Roll’s cut down into farm trucks as no one wanted them anymore .

        He came home with a pristine 1937 Bently St. James Fixed Head Coupe we kept until my boob middle brother left it parked outside of the insulated & heated garage , in January , in Rochester New York , in 1967 with only water in the engine ~ the typical careful engine design ensured that only a small portion of the cylinder head popped out at the very back where it’s always casted thin , sadly he was a Machinist and my Father a Dr. who knows _nothing_ about cars so it was summarily scrapped while I was out of State .

        An easy enough repair for any competent Journeyman Mechanic .

        I well remember riding in it in and around Boston and rural Massachusetts , it rode like a cloud , silent & smooth , always plenty of power to match or leave behind all other traffic .

        -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @nate ? Suicide doors are still legal ? .

      As long as they don’t have electric motors opening them – that would make them assisted suicide doors.

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    Ever seen a caucasian (or whatever) non-pro-athlete in a current RR product?
    In the dozen+ I see every week, I haven’t.

    It is garish, tasteless, and aimed at the LCD with money. While that is a formula that seems to work at the moment, it is not a functional long-term strategy.

    • 0 avatar
      VenomV12

      Three Phantoms in my town, two are owned by very white older gentlemen. When I go out to Chicago and the suburbs of Chicago, almost 100% of the big Bentleys and Rolls Royces I see are driven by white men. I bet if you did some actual research you would find out that most owners are indeed white. Turn off the music channels and go out into the real world. Boca Raton, Naples, Palm Beach, all the Rolls and Bentleys I see are driven by white people.

      • 0 avatar
        AFX

        I always thought electric cars like the Tesla Model S would be a great car for drive-by shootings for gansta rappers. Load up your posse into the car with some guns with silencers, cruise up beside your intended victim’s car/house/street corner in complete silence because the car is electric, then gun the sucka down and cruise off in silence. It’d be the perfect vehicle of choice for doing a drive-by in, but the prospective buyers would probably have worries about “range anxiety”, and how to outrun da po-lice when the battery goes flat.

        Meanwhile in today’s news:

        “I got bad news for ya sonny boy, they just found your brother dead in his Rolls Royce Phantom”.

        “Mama what happened ?!”.

        “Da po-lice said he died from O-G”.

        “O-G ?”.

        “Over-Gold”.

        “Over-Gold ?!. Oh no Mama, not June Bug !”.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          The authors of Weeds beat you to that joke:
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8mjIcTqLTk

          One of the better product placement ads, ever. Because the Prius actually *is* reeeeal quiet. And would be good for sneakin’ up on mothafuckas.

          At least mothafuckas over about 45 – I can hear the inverter whine loud and clear when one goes by in electric mode.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I lived in Atlanta for a long time, the Bentley/Rolls Royce was definitely the car of choice for the athlete/hip-hop set including my neighbors Jason Caffey of the Pistons and Dallas Austin producer/songwriter

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        Stop that !

        It’s unfair when you use _FACTS_ to correct a teabagger knuckle dragger racist troll .

        Besides , you prolly made him cry .

        -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      AFX

      Pro athletes aren’t exactly known for having good taste. Just watch those shows like MTV Cribs and you’ll see. A car like this will probably wind up in the garage of some “baller’s” mansion for his wife to drive, so she can pick out more gold faucets for the bathroom and leopard print throws for the bedroom. Meanwhile the baller is playing Xbox in his home theater room that has the Scarface poster on the wall, and he occasionally runs to the commercial grade kitchen that has granite countertops and gold faucets, opens up the door of the stainless steel commercial refrigerator which is stocked with Cristal and Hot Pockets, and he grabs himself a few cuts of last night’s pizza that he had delivered, because neither he or his wife know how to cook.

      • 0 avatar
        olddavid

        The picture you created was absolute, and probably exemplary. It brings to mind the description of the wives of “Goodfellas”. My wife came in wondering what was so damn funny.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Cristal and Hot Pockets had me cackling. It also sounds like a direct reference to a Kanye West episode of Cribs. No, he can’t crack the code required to heat up a Hot Pocket.

    • 0 avatar
      Halloween Jack

      Why am I not surprised that someone showed up to an RR/Bentley thread to once again proclaim what is, to them, the most negative thing about the brand? FFS.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Such a ridiculous and over the top vehicle with an over the top price. I could see renting one for a weekend, but not owning one. You really can’t take them anywhere or park them anywhere. Pretty pointless. My neighbor has a Bentley Continental GT and that got keyed and cost about $20K to repaint and his Phantom got hit and that cost about $35,000 to fix and it was not major damage.

    You see these cars for sale, 3 years old with maybe 5,000 miles on them and think what a waste. Massive depreciation and barely driven, what’s the point?

    • 0 avatar
      jmo

      “the point?”

      You can’t take it with you, might as well enjoy it.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      The real waste is buying a new one, you can get 90′s models for 10-20k, early 2000′s for <100k. If it has a dent, drive around with a dent, if it has scratches, who cares, major ones, touch up paint or pay a body shop $500 to spray the door. Why does everyone have the need to furiously waste money?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree and the sucker in me pines for a 98-02 Silver Seraph, but then I see “BMW V12″ in the specs. Would be better off finding a clean Jag X308 from the same period and paying for the LSx conversion. Much like the modern “out of warranty” German car, the man who buys the used Rolls really doesn’t want his money back.

        “The Seraph was powered by a 5.4 L aluminium alloy BMW V12 engine and was operated via a 5-speed automatic transmission, making it the first twelve-cylinder Rolls-Royce since the 1939 Phantom III. Standard electronics included digital engine management, adaptive ride control and anti-lock brakes.”

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      It’s all relative. To someone making millions a year, a $500K car is no different than someone making $100K a year buying a 3-series. It’s just a car. It makes the statement that you have enough money to flush it down the toilet on something like this.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Sometimes, the “I have enough money to flush it down the toilet” purchase is used to send a message to individuals that were jerks to you while you were on your way up. Especially if that person dreams of a certain car. Even better is when you use their dream car as a winter beater and drive it around with salt caked on it. So, sometimes it’s not just to impress, but to give a giant expensive middle finger to someone.

        • 0 avatar
          BeyondBelief

          You mean insecure, wildly successful people who Google-search for the home addresses of their junior high school bullies so they can parade their car around and around the subdivision culdesac yelling, “I’m rich, bitches!!”…?

          Very Dave Chappelle-inspired, but…no.

  • avatar
    gnekker

    This car reminds me of the latest James Bond movie – expensive, ugly, boring, pointless…
    Even if I would be an oil magnate or something, can’t imagine wasting money on something so hideous.
    Old RR’s were not particularly pretty either, but there was some real substance behind those 4 headlamps, especially compared to average car from 60′s era.

  • avatar
    sideshowtom98

    Worst car review I have ever read, here or anywhere else.

  • avatar
    AFX

    I liked how the article switched back and forth from satirical lifestyle remarks to a dark maudlin commentary of society. I haven’t seen that done so well since The Police’s Sychronicity 2.

    If I was to get a Roller like this I’d try to piss off as many people as possible. First thing I’d do is to get the interior re-done, and change out the turn signal stalk with ivory elephant tusk. Then I’d get the seats re-done in baby seal leather, and I’d use the seal heads as the headrests, and I’d leave the seals eyes in place staring out towards the back of the car in case anybody was following me. I’d rip out all the carpeting and replace it with Panda fur too. Then I’d re-do the outside by krazy gluing silver dollars all over the exterior of the car, and I’d replace the vertical bars in the grill with the rib bones from a dolphin. I’d also make sure I stuffed some spotted owl feathers in the grill too, just for the fun of it.

    After my car was all finished I’d get some monofilament line and use it to tie some full Colt-44 cans and dollar bills to the back bumper. Then I’d drive through the hood and stop momentarily, and when the bums came out to grab the malt liquor cans and dollar bills I’d gas it and leave ‘em in a cloud of smoke as I laughed while I sped off. I’d also change the the windshield washer nozzles to spray outwards towards the sides of the car. That way if any street people tried to wash my windshield while I was at a traffic light I could hose them down before they got close to the car.

    • 0 avatar
      hgrunt

      You don’t have to rip anything out, they’ll probably just build it like that for you in the first place. It’d just cost a little more and take a little longer, depending on how long it takes to source the materials.

      I figured a good starting point for me would be to have stone trim, instead of wood trim, except the trim would be original caveman rock painting, but cut and polished to fit. The gauge faces would be mother of pearl, and each number is actually a tiny emerald, ruby or diamond filed down into the shape of the number and tics.

    • 0 avatar
      Halloween Jack

      I’m pretty sure I saw that exact car at Burning Man, although they were Steel Reserve cans.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I was impressed by the feel you conveyed to me of the totality of your experience in this tribute to ostentation otherwise known as Rolls-Royce. My own exposure was several years ago in a friends Roller, acquired through the graces of being in Paul Allen’s employ and he graciously allowed me to drive it for a few miles. It was finished like I did not believe possible in an automobile, and felt as though it was turbine powered, not reciprocating piston. Yet, having had a brief interlude with a Turbo Bentley in the 1980′s, the car felt to me like a German engineer’s interpretation of what a Rolls-Royce should be, not the inbred innate sense of nobility built into the English car. As I read my words, they seem nonsensical but convey what I was thinking that day. Spending upwards of a quarter million dollars on a car still in production is philosophically impossible for me to get my mind around, even were I last weeks lottery winner. I think F. Scott hit it squarely on the head – the rich are, indeed, different than you and me. These absurd creations are the confirmation. But, like a Pollock painting, I have to admit to my admiration of the art form, while not understanding it on any level. My roots at the farm exposed yet again.

  • avatar
    haenschen

    “Yes, peel back the aluminium bodywork of this eight-horse gilded royal stage-coach to find a beating twelve-cylinder heart built by a company whose previous efforts once propelled Junkers over London’s East End to blast chirrupy Cockneys into smithereens. That was then, this is now.”

    Indeed, and if you’re determined to alight upon the path defined by Godwin’s Law, at least get your facts in order. Neither the Junkers Ju 87 nor the Ju 88 were powered by BMW engines, both aircraft used the company’s own “Jumo” design, and the company itself is long gone.

    • 0 avatar
      fincar1

      I should like to point out that the term Junkers in Germany has more than one meaning.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You are correct that all variants of the Ju-87 and the main bomber type Ju-88A were powered by Jumo engines, however the Ju-88 was a versatile design and saw use as a multi-role aircraft. In its night fighter variant, Ju 88G-1, it was in fact powered by BMW 801 engines, although this variant would not see combat in 1940, nor as a bomber in the Battle of Britian.

      Incidentally the Dornier Do-17 bomber a.k.a. “the flying pencil”, was powered by BMW engines in its E variant used in the Battle of Britain, so it would be accurate to suggest BMWs reigned fire over London’s East End, it just wasn’t in a Junkers aircraft.

      The more you know! *NBC chime*

      “the Do17E was the first production bomber to see service with the Luftwaffe and the designers reverted back to the 750 hp BMW V1 engines at the sacrifice of a lower top speed.”

      https://en.wikipedia DOT org/wiki/Junkers_Ju_88
      http://www.battleofbritain1940 DOT net/0018.html

      • 0 avatar
        haenschen

        Perhaps. The variant used for bombing ops during the BoB was the Do-17Z, not the underpowered “E”. The “Z” was equipped with the Bramo Fafnir, originally a licence-built version of the English Jupiter radial acquired by Siemens. BMW eventually bought out Siemens aero-engines in 1939 and continued supply to Dornier, so the engines fitted to the actual Dorniers used in combat may or may not have been built after BMW took over.

        The point of my post is to address a gratuitous WW2 reference and the further insult to the British royal family in the person of HM Queen Victoria, referred to as a “fat German”. Her Highness was born in England to an English father from the royal line that had resided and ruled in Britain for over a century. Her Majesty’s loyalty and devotion to her kingdom were never questioned during her lifetime, nor thereafter. As for “fat”, well, she bore nine children for her husband and her nation, and the memory of such a woman and Sovereign deserves what little defence I may provide. God Save the Queen!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I liked this review and yet didn’t like this review, all at the same time. Sort of like the way the author felt about the car…

  • avatar
    JaySeis

    Auspicious start but I soon drifted off. The masters of the U are hard at work in Seoul and wouldn’t drop a dime on such EU sausage.

  • avatar
    heyandyg

    Brendan,
    Where have you been?? It seems as though months have passed since you last wrote. The light at TTAC shines much more brightly when your thoughts are published with more frequency. You manage to combine talent for writing, intelligence and information concerning automobiles in one happy package unlike anyone else. Less time off. More productivity. Thank you.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I enjoyed the hell out of this review. I like your writing a lot.

  • avatar
    mitchw

    “There, beneath susurrating trees that send leafy shadows dancing across the Spirit of Ecstasy, safe in the green heart of our city of glass, we smile and smile and smile and smile…”

    Seems to me like someone’s been reading their Shakespeare a wee bit more than he’d like the cool kids to know. Keep it coming, Brendan, sleep be damned.

  • avatar
    CelticPete

    I didn’t like this review at all. I don’t understand how the readers at this site can complain about Car and Driver and then like this ‘stuff.’ I am not convinced this writer even drove this car..It looks like he just snapped a few pictures and pretended he did.

    I saw an antique MG TD the other day on the street. Maybe I should have written a review of that.. WTF..

  • avatar
    Alexdi

    Lovely review, I thought. It conveyed the spirit of the car. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more detail on why this car costs what it does. The interior actually reminds me of older Chryslers, my Mom’s PT Cruiser in particular. Seriously, compare the two. And there’s nothing special about the seats. They even used the same generic plastic fixed seatbelt buckles. Maybe it’s all in the chassis?

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    The fact that anybody would actually expect a critical review of a car like this is ludicrous. Should the writer have worked his way down a laundry list of pro’s and con’s of owning such a vehicle? Who here is “on the fence” between buying a Rolls Royce or that snappy new Kia Optima you saw your neighbor driving the other day and a point by point review would be just the thing to help make your decision? This is a car that up until recently had the driving characteristics of a Checker Cab because the only person who should be driving it was a paid employee. There’s only one reason any one ever buys a Rolls Royce and that is to impress others. It’s a name like Prada or Gucci, nothing more…

    Now, who wants to be the first to ask what kind of mileage it gets?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      If I was ever in such a financial position, I would buy it to impress… myself.

      But I agree its an garish accessory not meant to be a practical automobile.

    • 0 avatar
      AFX

      “Should the writer have worked his way down a laundry list of pro’s and con’s of owning such a vehicle ?”

      I personally think the price of this car is ridiculous, especially when considering the Dodge Rampage Prospector that was mentioned the other day has a higher rated cargo capacity.

      Can you even get a trailer hitch for this thing from U-Haul ?. What’s the towing capacity ?. What’s the point of a V-12 if you can’t tow your bass boat with it ?.

      I think the side profile of this car is a little boring too, but it’s nothing that I couldn’t fix with a trip to Pep Boys to buy some stick-on fender portholes and some chrome wheel arch trim. Maybe go to the junkyard and get some lower body cladding from a Grand Am GT to spice it up a bit too.

  • avatar

    It’s a magnificent auto/sculpture, it is, but I just can’t bring myself to care. Perhaps a little more than I can about the latest unobtanium Lamborghini, but there’s something so disinteresting about Rolls Royces to “normal” people. I’m in your camp, I’d rather have the second-hand Subaru.

  • avatar
    oldyak

    Very entertaining!
    A person really needs a sense of humor about the world we live in.
    Spot on!

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Hey, what’s that silver bit on the right side of the steering-column. I’m pretty sure it isn’t the steering-column-adjustment switch (although I know competitor Bentley puts its steering-column-adjustment switch there on the Mulsanne).

  • avatar
    pk1

    So many words without saying anything about the car. And having to read through ALL the stereotypes one might associate with this car and ANYTHING even remotely connected to it: ughh!

  • avatar
    hgrunt

    The first time I saw a Drophead, it was being driven by the wife of a CEO of a multibillion dollar company in Palm Springs, with a sweater tied around her neck like you see in the movies. She apparently bought it because a friend of hers bought a SLR 772 Roadster, and she wanted something more unique to one-up it. The car she replaced was a Continental GT.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    Put that car and a 1963 Chrysler Imperial (convertible) side by side.

    Sure the new RR has the technology, the speed, the easiness. But as far as sheer quality goes. The materials, durability, and style. From pictures alone, that the interior of that RR looks downright awful. Cheap, and tawdry.

    For that kind of money, I wish people would build great cars again.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, this review certainly brought the comments to life. One of the Vanderbilt descendants reportedly said, of sailing yachts, “if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford one.”

    A similar statement seems appropriate to this car, with the added proviso that, if you feel guilty about your money, you should own one.

    This car is analogous to any one of the elaborate mechanical watches advertised on the pages of the front section of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, only more expensive.

    It’s a pity that it’s so ugly.

  • avatar
    AFX

    “Well a young man, ain’t got nuthin’ in the world these days.
    I said a young man ain’t got nuthin’ in the world these days.
    You know in the old days, when a young man was a strong man.
    All the people, they’d step back, when a young man walked by.
    But nowadays it’s the old man, who’s got all the money.
    And a young man ain’t got nuthin’ in the world these days !”.

    A few more thoughts on this thing:

    1. I’m looking at the headlights on that thing and thinking they look like something you’d plug a USB memory card into.

    2. If I owned a Rolls like this the first thing I’d do would be to get some black craft paper, cut out the shape of a hand giving the middle finger, and stick it inside the rear taillight housings. That way every time I braked or put on my turn signal it’d look like I was flipping the bird to the personn behind me.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    After my wife and I drooled over a beautiful yellow one parked in front of Bijon on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills a few years ago, and seeing this one – I want one of these for my lady and me to tool around on a Saturday evening on our way to our weekly dining-out excursion.

    Yes, I want one…in Yellow, please…

  • avatar
    ellomdian

    I wish that I could write half as well as I do my real job, because I would have submitted something to TTAC, and I might have written this instead of you. It’s awkward seeing someone write, down to the Month Python references, 90% of the review I would likely have written about this car staring me in the face.

    Ignore the idiots. Keep writing.

  • avatar

    A little dark and reference-heavy for my tastes, but I’ll weigh in as saying “good job”.

    With a Rolls, how it drives or performs is entirely secondary to what it means.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India