Auto blogMon, 17 Dec 2012 19:59:00 EST
Here's a pro tip: if you're going to fire your chauffeur, make sure he hands over the keys to your Rolls-Royce Phantom first. If you don't, you just might wind up with scene like the one in the video below on your hands. In it, some sprightly soul decides to eschew the beaten path for a quick frolicking over hill and dale in the luxury leviathan. The grounds will never be the same. Grass, mud and water are all sent scattering as the Rolls-Royce proceeds to pound the earth into submission.
There's also a few smoky burnouts thrown in for good measure. We can appreciate any shenanigans with a high-dollar automobile that don't end in wrinkled sheetmetal. You can check out the full glory of the sideways Phantom in the video below.
The "Round Door" Rolls-Royce Phantom I Aerodynamic Coupe (inset) is a magnificent black beast of a car (and you can see it at the Petersen Automotive Museum for a limited time) as well as a mystery: designed by the Jonckheere Works in Belgium in 1935, all records for the one-of-a-kind coupe were destroyed in World War II, so no one knows who designed it or who commissioned it. What remains of the original coachbuilding company now makes bodies for cars and buses, and has asked designer Ugur Sahin to reinterpret the most fabulous car from its history.
We've written about Sahin often before, recently about his Corvette-based Anandi being shown at Top Marques Monaco and going into production. For a man who favors long hoods and short bodies, this particular Rolls-Royce couldn't be better. Sahin says the word "Respect" guided his lines for the 77-year-old car, the most apparent changes being the front fender treatment, the headlights dropping into the fenders, and the serious downsizing of the fin at the rear. Sahin says that there are talks with potential investors about building a one-off.
You can find out a little more about it in the press release below, and check out the gallery above of high-res images for every angle.
Limited Volume, Big Margins Spell Success
Bigger isn't always better, especially when it comes to selling super luxury. Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös expects the British automaker to again post a record year, despite the economic troubles in Europe and weak growth in both the US and China.
"It is not all doom and gloom out there," Müller-Ötvös explains, noting that the declining sales in Europe and elsewhere have been offset by good performance for the marque in the Middle East, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Russia.
Befitting a creature called the Ghost, it was there and then it wasn't: Rolls-Royce dropped a few details and a picture of the 2013 Ghost, then removed all trace of it from the corporate site. The Internet can't keep a secret, though, so we have the goss on a carryover sedan with a few upgrades.
Next year's model takes its inspiration and several new tricks from the Ghost Six Senses concept revealed at the Beijing Motor Show earlier this year. The new natural grain leather, cross-banded wood veneers and "exciter" (high-range) speakers come straight from the concept. A new alloy wheel option is also available, but the single press photo doesn't show the same alloys used on the Six Senses car. Not shown in Beijing but on the menu for the coming sedan is Comfort Access, the ability to open the trunk by waving your foot under the rear bumper as long as you have the key on your person. It is the first Rolls-Royce to get the option.
The price gets an upgrade, too, rising $7,050 to $260,750. Part of the increase is in the gas-guzzler tax, which climbed to $2,100 from $1,700 because of a new EPA calculations for fuel economy. As if you'd be worried about gas when you own a Ghost, but just in case, it will return 13 miles per gallon city and 21 mpg highway.
While it isn't that uncommon to see cars belonging to celebrities and dignitaries roll across the auction block these days, this car is a little extra special. This particular 1979 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was the car that Prince Charles and Princess Diana arrived at the White House in during a visit in 1985. As some added trivia, this was also the visit where Princess Di cut a rug with none other than John Travolta.
Volo Auto Museum will be auctioning off this piece of American and British history on November 9th - exactly 27 years from Princess Di's White House visit. According to the auction listing, this armored Silver Shadow was the official car of the UK's embassy, and it has been valued at around $2 million by the Berman Museum of History. The auction will have no reserve with some of the proceeds going to the Children with Cancer UK charity that Princess Diana started in 1988.
Scroll down for more information about this car and its auction as well as a video showing Prince Charles and Princess Diana arriving at the White House in the car back in 1985.
While all the gory details surrounding the new Rolls-Royce coupe - including its true name, "Corniche" is just a savory-sounding best guess right now - are still shrouded in mystery, this new set of clandestinely foraged images proves that the car probably won't be a slouch in terms of performance.
The Ghost-based Roller was spotted on the Nürburgring Nordschleife recently, demonstrating its sporting chops at the same time it was showing off it's impressive patrician nose. Expectations are that, when the new coupe is shown off for real at the Geneva Motor Show in March of next year, that nose will belong to the fastest production car to ever wear the Spirit of Ecstasy.
Indications are that the Corniche will be rocking a turbocharged V12, making in the ballpark of 600 horsepower, and using an eight-speed transmission.
Rolls-Royce has used the 2012 Paris Motor Show to pull the covers off its art deco-inspired Phantom saloon, Phantom Drophead Coupé and Ghost models. These three bespoke machines are said to pay homage to the 1925 Paris Exhibition or Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Not coincidentally, the phrase 'art deco' was coined at that very show.
These three models are finished in period-correct color schemes and feature details that include mother of pearl and silver inlays and ornamental glassware. According to Giles Taylor, Design Director Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, "Art Deco was defined by theatre, glamour and a sense of excitement. Working to create contemporary interpretations of these classic themes has been enormously rewarding for everyone in my bespoke design team." But of course.
Feel free to check out our live gallery of high-res images above along with the official shots released by Rolls-Royce below. There's also a press release or two waiting for your prying eyes, if you're so inclined.
Rolls-Royce announced that it will be bringing some "art-deco inspired" cars to the 2012 Paris Motor Show, and while we really have no clue what that means just yet, we're sure the cars are going to be very expensive.
The images show what appears to be a stylized Rolls-Royce Phantom or Ghost in an artistic rendering that would look at home in South Beach. Like the cars, Rolls-Royce is going all out with the launch of these special cars with an invitation-only introduction including a champagne reception.
We only have to wait until next week to see what features and styling changes Rolls-Royce has in store for these new bespoke models, but for now, enjoy this trio of art deco goodness and check out the press release below.
Fourteen years after Volkswagen bought Bentley, its English brand has two distinct lines, Mulsanne and Continental - with numerous variants at the Continental's lower price point - an SUV on the way and perhaps a sports car and a Mulsanne convertible, too. In the 14 years since BMW bought Rolls-Royce, its English brand has the Phantom and Ghost - with three variants at the Phantom's much higher price point. Rolls-Royce doesn't chase sales, but the difference in the brand direction helps explain why Bentley has sold more cars in the first six months of this year than Rolls-Royce sold all of last year.
And even though Rolls-Royce isn't solely about the tally, it would still like to improve on the 3,538 cars it sold last year - a sales record that eclipsed a mark set in 1978. To do so its CEO is planning one or two more Ghost-based models beyond the as-yet-unnamed Ghost Coupe due next year, perhaps to be called the Corniche, according to a report in Autocar. A convertible version of the Ghost Coupe is the obvious guess for one of them, and it would get the double-R "closer to 4,000" sales, where the CEO would like to be.
Sales might not be the only part of it, though; the headline of the Autocar piece says the CEO wants the new models because they're "required to give Rolls-Royce a proper identity." If that is accurate, we have no idea what kind of identity Rolls-Royce could be missing that would be served by a wider range of cars in the Ghost range, which by their place in the brand's own lineup are admittedly not the most opulent carriages on the planet.
As if its cars aren't already exclusive enough on their own merit, Rolls-Royce is debuting an ultra-limited production version of the Phantom Coupe at Pebble Beach today. With only 35 cars expected to be built, the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Aviator Collection celebrates Charles Stewart Rolls - Rolls-Royce co-founder - who had a passion for flying and was only the second man in Britain to have a pilot's license before his death in 1910.
Unique elements of the Phantom Coupe Aviator Collection include the Aviator Grey exterior hue accented with a matte finish on the grille, hood and window frame. Setting the aeronautical theme of the car, the interior is fitted with exclusive features like the matte-black instrument gauges, an aviation-grade clock in the middle of the dash and a lower dash veneer that mimics the look of an old wooden airplane propeller. Even the transmission tunnel boasts an anodized aluminum cover with exposed torx-head bolts which attempts to match the fuselage of Rolls' award-winning (and Rolls-Royce-powered) Supermarine S6B aircraft.
No detail was overlooked in creating a truly unique atmosphere for the Aviator Collection so much so that it has a leather-lined glove box with the following quote from Rolls himself embossed into it: