Rare Rides: The 2008 Rolls-Royce Phantom Hyperion by Pininfarina, Only One Made

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

We’ve featured exactly two Rolls-Royce creations previously at Rare Rides. The first was the completely bespoke mega-buck Sweptail in 2017, and more recently the Silver Spectre, a shooting brake based upon the Wraith coupe.

Today’s Rare Ride falls somewhere between those two on the cost spectrum. It’s a one-off creation from famed design house Pininfarina.

The Phantom’s lineage at Rolls Royce is a long one. Dating back to 1925 as a flagship sedan, the model took a hiatus after 1990. It reappeared in its seventh generation iteration in 2003, after BMW took ownership of Rolls-Royce. Riding on its own bespoke platform, the Phantom resides as the flagship of Rolls-Royce. That seventh-generation started as a stately sedan but expanded into the Drophead convertible in 2007, and Phantom Coupe in 2008. Notably, the Drophead eclipsed the standard Phantom in price, and in 2015 was the most expensive car on offer from the brand at $533,000. Both Drophead and Coupe lived through 2016; the Phantom sedan was again a singularity in 2017. It was replaced that year by the eighth-generation Phantom, which exists today only as a sedan.

The Phantom Drophead was based almost directly on the 100EX concept car, which debuted at NAIAS in 2007 in recognition of the centennial of Rolls-Royce. A four-seater affair, the Drophead was notable for its rear-hinged coach doors and tonneau cover made of wood. All examples were powered by the 6.75-liter V12 from the Phantom which produced adequate horsepower, paired to a six-speed automatic.

Shortly after its introduction, Rolls-Royce collector Roland Hall contacted Pininfarina and asked them to design an even more exclusive version of the Phantom Drophead. Pininfarina set to work on the project and reworked the Drophead into a fairly different-looking car.

The results were – let’s be diplomatic – interesting. Smoother lines ended in a shortened rear deck, which turned the four-seat Drophead into the two-seat Hyperion “roadster.” The wood tonneau cover remained at the rear and spawned a matching one on the hood. Rolls-Royce badging on the trunk was replaced by a smaller dual-flag logo that represented Rolls-Royce and Pininfarina, and Pininfarina badging appeared on the front wings. In a costly edit, lamps front and rear were of a new, bespoke design. Though it was short two seats, the interior remained largely factory.

Mister Hall owned the Hyperion for around two years and drove it not at all. It was shown at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours before being put up for sale in 2009, where it sold for around $5 million. The Hyperion then moved to the UAE, where it’s presently for sale in Dubai. Current ask for this zero miles roadster is $3.267 million. Any interest?

[Images: Pininfarina]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I use a now discontinued Kuhmo AT tire that is surprisingly good in the snow, even in 2WD. However since most of my driving is on road, I'm going to look for a more highway friendly tire for smoother quiet. I'm sure it can still handle the forest roads leading to my fishing spots.
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  • Lou_BC Maybe if I ever buy a new car or CUV
  • Lou_BC How about telling China and Mexico, we'll accept 1 EV for every illegal you take off our hands ;)
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