Rolls Royce Phantom
you don't see everyday...
by Courtney Caldwell
ran from the building as if it were on fire, stampeding towards me with cameras
and smiles. Barely one foot had hit the ground as I exited the 2006 Rolls Royce
Phantom when a voice shouted from the herd, “Now there’s something
you don’t see every day!” Cameras flashed, cell phones high in the
air grabbing tiny little pictures of the huge, overwhelming taupe machine dwarfing
everything around it. One would have thought that they were the paparazzi and
I was a superstar. But the truth is that it was I who was the press, testing this
magnificent chariot and the rushing fans were a group of desk jockeys escaping
from mundane jobs for a glimpse into the world of wealth.
The awe and
amazement that this $350,000 ride inspired was an experience in itself. One didn’t
even need to drive it to feel the sensation. The looks on their faces said it
all. Driving it down the street, any street, craned necks and dropped jaws.
Age didn’t matter. Even the youngest who knew not what it was knew enough
to know it was something special. So intense were the stares that at one point I found
myself immersed in mixed emotions; smiling at the prestige and elegance this car
projected making me feel like a glamour queen in one minute, and then crouching
in the next feeling guilty that I was driving something far beyond the reach of
most mere mortals. Who knew but me that it wasn’t mine for real? Rolls Royce
vehicles are indeed not something you see every day, especially in Michigan, even the wealthiest parts.
In Los Angeles, just weeks later testing a Jeep Liberty Diesel, a far cry from the
Rolls, I couldn’t help but notice how many Rolls Royce cars there were on
the freeways. What a difference a state makes.
The interior of the Phantom
is a diva’s delight; a panoramic view of visual ecstasy that soothed the
soul; an aromatic splendor that permeated the cabin's air, supple leather that
caressed both hand and thigh. Wood is not merely wood but a lush forest of grain
and grandeur. Coach doors (known as suicide doors to most Americans) permit elegant
entry and exit. Beautifully crafted fold down picnic tables in the rear quarters
provide space to work or simply enjoy a glass of champagne. Even the Spirit of
Ecstasy mascot at the top of the outside grill retracts when the car is locked
so no one can walk away with the famous icon. Chrome-lined seat tracks and umbrellas
hidden in secret door compartments make it clear that Rolls Royce left nothing
resides in a class so far beyond most imaginations that having to explain it means
you wouldn’t understand.
While amazing and amusing, most of my two-day
test was riddled with worry that a simple smudge might wipe me out of business.
In fact, when Rolls Royce sent their driver to pick it up he spent 15 minutes
looking in and around every inch to ensure its perfection was still in tact. However,
rest assured, for those where money is no object the worry of a smudge is hardly
an issue. But know this, the ever-so-slightest scratch could cost thousands of dollars to fix. But, when money is no object, pocket change.
To own a Rolls is not to drive one but to be driven in one.
Ownership is about status, a symbol of the ultimate success. It's about being
the best as founder Henry Royce intended when he introduced his first car to the
world in 1903. Little did he know that a century later, his dream to build the
best car in the world would still be a car that is indeed something you don't
see every day.