Sunday, 6 September 2009

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe

Got taken for a spin in a Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe" the other day. Many things impressed me, a few didn't. Get the former out of the way first shall I?

It had the heavy woods (walnut & teak), leather, aluminium and chrome that you would expect in a hand-built British luxury car, and a slab of aluminium-look plastic spanning the dash... that you would not.

I liked the panel hiding away the multimedia screen and the cameras mounted either side of the nose to let you see what's driving towards it when you're creeping out of side-streets. I loved playing with the 'up-down' button for the Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet-figure and also spent a lot of time watching the 'power-reserve' gauge to see if it could be perturbed away from '100%' at city speeds. It couldn't.

All the little theatrical flourishes scattered through the interior shouted 'I'm a special car!' but £250k special? I thought not.

Some go weak at the knees for good paintwork but I am an interior fetishist. The common thread amongst objects of my fickle affection in the automotive world is without-a-doubt, a good interior. I point you to Weismann MFs for where my infatuation currently lies and for interiors that say bespoke more convincingly than any other I've ever leered at, £1.4m+ Veyron Sang Bleu excepted.

Sledging done, I have to admit to feeling the Phantom 'DC' completely possessed £250k's worth of majesty. We had the convertible roof stowed, it being sunny day it was, and I felt as self-conscious being driven through the high street as I imagine I would have done if I'd been forced to run through it instead, whited-up, wearing nothing but a mankini and golf socks.

Maybe it was how freakishly quietly it did everything or how obvious it was from the absence of either of, tweed or bling amongst its occupants, that it didn't belong to any of us. Or perhaps it was the seriously intimidating dimensions (particularly width) which meant a complete absence of drivers'-seat envy on my part.

I felt like I was dining with the Queen and didn't know my salad-fork from my dessert-spoon. I felt like riff-raff put in its place and I think it takes giving some thought to R-R's typical clientelle to understand why that's probably the right way for a person like me to feel.

You can only really relax enough to enjoy ownership of such ostentation if you're somewhere between gentry and aristocracy or if you work in an industry in which mass-idolisation makes colossal-ego standard-issue/occupational hazard.

I'm as likely to find myself in a position where I own one as I am to catch myself actually wanting one i.e. not very

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