Auto blogFri, 19 Sep 2014 16:30:00 EST
The term "luxury" gets thrown around a lot when speaking about vehicles that are actually somewhat affordable like BMWs and Cadillacs, but Rolls-Royce and hotel magnate Stephen Hung (above in the wild suit) are proving what real opulence really is with the largest single order from the fabled British marque, ever. Hung is purchasing 30 custom examples of the Phantom Extended Wheelbase (pictured right) for $20 million. To push the deal even further over the top, two of the Phantoms are the most expensive examples ever commissioned.
This assemblage of über-luxury sedans isn't for Hung's personal collection. Instead, the cars are going to be part of the fleet for the swanky hotel and casino that he's opening in Macau, China, in 2016 called the Louis XIII. According to The Washington Post, when the 200-room resort opens, the Louis XIII is supposed to be one of the most mind-blowing places in the world, including a suite that costs $100,000 a night.
When completed, the 30 cars will be in matching crimson red to echo the exterior of the hotel. That color will be carried into the interior trim, as well, including the gauges, and the seats will have a checker board pattern. Each one will be outfitted with a bespoke clock from Graff Luxury Watches. The two most expensive Phantoms will get all of this attention, plus gold-plated trim covering the interior and exterior.
There aren't very many better places to show the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé Waterspeed Collection than at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Not only is this aquatic-themed land yacht parked on the Concept Car Lawn appropriately very near the Pacific Ocean, it's being seen by some of the most wealthy car enthusiasts in the world on one afternoon.
The car actually debuted in May in Europe, but Rolls-Royce decided to show it again to West Coast customers. This luxury droptop is dedicated to former British waterspeed record-holder Sir Malcolm Campbell, hence the name. Campbell used a boat powered by a Rolls-Royce R engine to reach 126.33 miles per hour in 1937 on a lake in Italy and break the old milestone. Later, he took the same craft to 129.5 mph to further establish his dominance.
The Phantom Waterspeed takes inspiration from these accomplishments with a two-tone look that mixes shining Maggiore Blue exterior paint and a brushed steel tonneau cover to replace the normal teak. The blue color scheme even extends to the engine and interior trim in combination with contrasting Windchill Grey leather. Rolls isn't building many of these marine-inspired leviathans; check one out on the lawn at Pebble Beach in our gallery.
While Pebble Beach is traditionally thought of as the refuge of the pristine and pricey vintage vehicles of the world, there's no shortage of newer vehicles on display. And when we say "new," we mean really new. As in, not even in production new. This is the concept car lawn, and it's home to an eclectic group of vehicles from past and present.
Of course, calling it the "concept car lawn" is a bit of a misnomer this year (as it has been in previous years, too). Production models like the Alfa Romeo 4C were on display, alongside known quantities like the Hennessy Venom GT and modified versions of already-on-sale models, like the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Waterspeed Collection.
There were a few concepts on display, though. Toyota debuted the critically acclaimed FT-1 Concept in a new shade, while BMW's Beijing Motor Show stunner, the Vision Future Luxury, was also parked on the expensive grass. Also appearing were the Nissan GT-R in sheep's clothing, the Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge, and the recently debuted McLaren P1 GTR.
The evolution of automotive marketing has undergone a number of strange phases. Few, though, match the strangeness of the 1930s to 1950s, when automotive marketers turned to cookbooks as a means of promoting their vehicles. Yes, cookbooks. We can't make this stuff up, folks.
This bizarre trend led to General Motors distributing cookbooks under the guise of its then-subsidiary Frigidaire. Ford, meanwhile, offered a compilation of recipes from Ford Credit Employees (shown above). The cookbook-craze wasn't limited to domestic manufacturers, though. As The Detroit News discovered, both Rolls-Royce and Volkswagen got in on the trend, although not until the 1970s.
The News has the full story on this strange bit of marketing. Head over and take a look.
Rolls-Royce is not a company that makes a lot of different vehicles, but of the ones it does, it tends to offer several versions. That's how we end up with sedan, long-wheelbase, coupe and (in the former's case) convertible versions of the Phantom and Ghost. And now Goodwood has confirmed development of another model.
Although details in the press release below are few and far between, it does promise to "deliver effortless, open-top touring... with an engaging and exhilarating driving experience." CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös added: "We are currently developing an exciting and thoroughly contemporary interpretation of a pinnacle drophead tourer which will introduce even more discerning men and women to Rolls-Royce ownership."
What that tells us is that the new model - set to reach showrooms "by mid-2016" - will be a convertible that's exciting to drive and more youthful than the Phantom Drophead Coupe. In other words, and in all likelihood, we're looking at the convertible version of the Ghost-based Wraith fastback (like the one we recently spotted undergoing testing, pictured above). Expect it, then, to carry the same 6.6-liter twin-turbo V12, but with the added rush of wind in your hair.
Rolls-Royce prides itself on exemplifying the pinnacle of automotive elegance. The brand is synonymous with quality and luxury. However, in the end even a Rolls is still just a car, and if you don't keep it up, it's bound to fail. That deterioration can be seriously fun to watch, though.
This 2005 Rolls-Royce Phantom might now be one of the worst cars on the planet and only has a little over 95,000 miles on it. The video claims that the original owner in New Jersey didn't make payments on the car for three years but rented the sedan out to people and used it for a livery service. Now, it's repossessed and would probably cost more to fix than it's worth.
This Phantom has had a hard life. We don't want to spoil too many of the broken pieces because they pile up to become increasingly absurd. However, the pièce de résistance must to be the broken Spider-Man umbrella in the door.
Andy Warhol is one of the most recognizable artists of the 20th Century. With hits like his famous Campbell's soup cans and Marilyn Monroe portraits, he is likely the first name you think of in association with the pop art movement. He isn't known for being an auto enthusiast, though, but maybe that's not entirely the case - there was his BMW M1 art car, after all. Now, Warhol's 1974 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow is up for auction on eBay Motors.
According the seller, Warhol never had a driver's license, but he still wanted to own a luxurious car. It's claimed that he occasionally had his famous friends, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, chauffeur him around in the Rolls. Following Warhol's death in 1987, the car was auctioned for $77,000, and since then it has only been sold to one additional owner.
The Rolls is painted Walnut and Mason's Black, which appears closer to a shade of brown in these photos, with a black leather interior. The engine is the company's' popular 6.75-liter V8 with a three-speed automatic transmission, and there are just 56,000 miles on this luxurious classic. The seller is including copies of original purchase order from Rolls-Royce and the title to Warhol Enterprises to prove the famous artist's ownership of the car, plus all of its service records.
We don't typically cover boats here - this is, after all, Autoblog and not Aquablog - but every so often something comes along that makes us want to dip our toes in the water, whether it's a Jaguar-designed speedboat, a Gulf-liveried megayacht or a Lamborghini-powered Riva Aquarama. This is another one of those occasions.
Set to be unveiled at the Salute to Style show in July at The Hurlingham Club in London, the Aeroboat is a motor yacht that seems to blend retro and furutistic lines in equal measure that would make Jules Verne proud without going Steampunk. Inspired by the Spitfire fighter plane, the Aeroboat packs aircraft-inspired switchgear and shock-mounted seats into a long, sleek form. But what really has our interests piqued is what lies beneath the stylish decks.
Each of the dozen Aeroboats to be built will pack a reconditioned, marinized, fuel-injected Rolls-Royce Merlin V12 engine - the same 27-liter powerplant that propelled the Spitfire. With 1,100 horsepower on tap, it's expected to propel the Aeroboat up to a top speed between 75 and 95 knots, or 86-109 miles per hour by landlubber standards, which is pretty damn fast on the open water.
After reporting that a new Rolls-Royce Phantom would arrive sometime around 2017 in the same timeframe as a Rolls-Royce SUV, Autocar has a few more details on the next coming of the massive English sedan. Both its skin and its bones are being worked out right now, brand design head Giles Taylor telling the magazine that his team is "treading an evolutionary path" with the model, suggesting it will have "more charisma and more edge" as part of a future design language that will have "a charismatic expressiveness."
True, that gives us absolutely no indication of what the car will look like, but it seems fair to assume it will feature more curves and detailing than the present car. The long C-pillar will remain, though, the privacy it affords being "part of the Phantom recipe."
What's underneath could be more detailed as well, the report saying BMW is mulling an i3 kind of build, with an aluminum chassis supporting a carbon fiber bodyshell. Assuming production considerations and costs could be kept in line, the benefits would be a lighter car that offers more latitude with the design, easier implementation of new bodystyles and the segment's technology crown. A lighter Phantom would bring further rewards for its PHEV variant, which Autocar says is "a certainty."
With each new story on the Rolls-Royce SUV, the Goodwood automaker comes off as more at ease with their reluctantly birthed yet necessary sport ute. Company design chief Giles Taylor told Autocar that his team is still "sketching to assess the viability of the concept," which to ours ears means they're trying to figure out if such a beast is even possible within the confines of the brand. If it is, Taylor says it will be "a shooting brake, not a crossover with a sloping roof. A proper SUV."
A different company source, unnamed, seems confident that Taylor's team will figure it out, telling the magazine it would start at 200,000 pounds ($335K US). However, that same source said the vehicle will be "a kind of Mercedes-GLK-plus-plus," which is a baffling description in several ways. More reasonable is the speculation that it will ride on Ghost, not Phantom, architecture and make its debut sometime around late 2017.
That Ghost platform is expected to take cues from the carbon, aluminum and steel bones that supported the BMW Vision Future Luxury concept shown at the Beijing Motor Show and destined for the 9 Series. Some of those tricks will also go into the next-generation Phantom, which Autocar says will come in 2017 and not 2020.