Hunting meteors can be a tricky business. In case of emergency better take a Rolls-Royce Phantom that contains its own private constellation…
Rolls-Royce has released the first official images of its new Project Cullinan SUV ahead of its showroom launch in 2018.
It shows the Bentley Bentayga rival wearing its production body for the first time, albeit with a heavy disguise. Despite that, the test mule gives away the overall shape and size; previously, we’d only seen the SUV wearing a Phantom body, but these shots show a much taller and more imposing vehicle.
Under the skin, the Project Cullinan sits on all-new aluminium architecture that will eventually be used for the next-generation Phantom. A new suspension system is also being tested that promises to deliverthe brand’s “famous magic-carpet ride on a variety of surfaces”.
The production model is expected to use the Cullinan name, while Rolls-Royce promises we will see the model testing around the Arctic Circle and the Middle East next year. Expect to see plenty more spy shots in the coming months, then.
It has always been a hell of a thing to transcend the times – to remain aloof and impervious to change. Especially true in this age of rampantly accelerating technology and social trends moving like a forest fire in a high wind. Who’s pulled it off and thrived? Jagger? Brucie? The Queen, certainly. And the Rolls-Royce Phantom, until now.
Thirteen years on from launch, this is the last Phantom VII – a bells-and-whistles run-out with a two-tone paintjob. The car on which Rolls’s Goodwood era was founded is sliding into graceful retirement, eventually to be succeeded by an all-aluminium, ‘high-tech’ Phantom VIII in 2018. We’ll miss it.
It was never about driving, it was about being driven, and few chauffeurs get to explore the Phantom’s talents with an empty back seat. We do. It’s easy to forget the V12 when you’re doing effortless wafting, but it’s immense when you floor it, its huge reserves of torque swelling like a tide, threatening to overpower the soft air springs and flabby white-wall tyres. The wafer-thin steering wheel, finished in two shades of hand-sewn leather, shudders on lock, its one-finger lightness surprised by the hustle. Surprised or not, this 2.5-tonne lady still knows how to handle herself. Shame it’s conduct unbecoming, like sliding down the bannisters at the Ambassador’s reception.
People like us don’t drive cars like these. What we have to say about understeer (it does, a bit) and road noise (there isn’t any) doesn’t matter. The Phantom is a lore, a fable, something to be revered not road-tested, something that even rabid Corbynistas are tacitly glad of. And something to be mourned.
One look at the Rolls-Royce 103EX and you know the automobile industry’s future is going to be pretty darn good. Unveiled as a part of the company’s Vision Next 100, the 103EX remained constant to the iconic tropes of any true Rolls-Royce: The iconic Spirit of Ecstasy, the Pantheon grille and long bonnet.
Nearly 20 feet long and five feet tall, the concept car has redefined the future of luxury mobility with its silk-clothed sofa, finest deep-pile ivory wool cabin carpet (especially woven in London), and handcrafted fine-line Macassar wood panelling across the interiors.
Though unsure what the car will be powered by in the future, the German makers have hinted at a fully-automated, zero-emission drivetrain and advanced suspension that will make the vehicle almost skim across the road surface.
The designers at Rolls-Royce should take a bow for this wickedly sexy design, especially the dark glass canopy that resolves into the bonnet, giving it a powerful and elegant stance.
Rolls-Royce convertibles have always been the choice of high rollers, but when the first Phantom drop-top was auctioned, it sold for four times its list price. Like the Corniche convertible before it, this is one of the world’s most expensive and desirable rag-tops. Despite weighing nearly three tons, it can whisper to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 5.7 seconds thanks to an all-alloy construction and a 435 bhp V12 engine.
In 1965, $20,000 bought a seven-bedroomed house, 11 Austin Minis, or a Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. The Rolls that everybody remembers was the ultimate conveyance of landed gentry and captains of industry. But, by the early Sixties, Britain’s social fabric was shifting.
The Hyperion was unveiled in a sombre atmosphere on August 16, 2008. Andrea Pininfarina, grandson of the legendary Batista `Pinin’ Farina, had been tragically killed in a car accident just a few days before he was due to wow the crowds with his latest custom car at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the prestigious US annual show. His ‘romantic and noble’ Hyperion, named after one of the Titans of Greek mythology, was dedicated to his memory.
Rolls Royce is now a wholly owned subsidiary of BMW but the cars that come out of its new Goodwood factory are as inimitable as they always have been. The Phantom saloon is the ultimate in sophistication, a classic RR design melded to BMW cutting-edge engineering. Built around a hand-welded aluminium space frame with a BMW 6.75 litre aluminium-alloy engine, it is still unmistakably a Roller, its massive but graceful proportions, dramatic long bonnet and opulent interior echoing Phantoms of the past.
The Corniche had a late baptism in 1971. The monocoque construction of the 1965 Silver Shadow range made it virtually impossible for traditional coachbuilders to practice their calling: there was no separate chassis on which to fit panel work. Rolls-Royce faced the problem by increasing their stake in Mulliner Park Ward (MPW), already their in-house specialist partner, in order to develop a two-door coupe (1966) and two-door convertible (1967) based on the Silver Shadow. By 1971, with Rolls-Royce in the throes of splitting the company into separate divisions to solve a financial crisis, the time was ripe for the publicity splash of a new model. Continue reading “Rolls-Royce Corniche – 1971”
The Camargue stands slightly apart, and indeed aloof, from other Rolls Royce series and models. The company had been inspired by a 1968 Bentley T unmistakably designed by that genius of Italian sports car styling, Pininfarina. Submerged in financial crisis during the early 1970s, Rolls-Royce needed a dramatic statement car. Continue reading “Rolls-Royce Camargue – 1975”
Neatly bisecting the 1960s, the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow was introduced in October 1965 and would continue in production for more than a dozen years, becoming the most successful Roller ever made.
The Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II is the last of the illustrious marque of which the motoring world could agree: ‘This is the best car in the world’. It performed better than any previous Rolls-Royce; and every model that followed (starting with the re-styled Silver Cloud III) marked a further compromise on a long road to relative mediocrity.
The Wraith was designed to be at the heart of the Rolls-Royce standard range, being introduced in 1938 as successor to the 20/25 of 1929 and 25/30 of 1936.
After cheerfully sticking with the Silver Ghost for nearly two decades, Rolls-Royce started introducing new models on a regular basis in the 1920s and 1930s, splitting the enlarged range into two lines – standard and premium cars.
Ford wasn’t the only company that clung to a model that served the company well, and – whilst it couldn’t be further away on the automotive spectrum – the signature Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was contemporaneous with Ford’s famous Model T.
Chauffeured life is not for everyone. Coach builder Rolls-Royce recognizes this and has moved your co-pilot skyward. The brand’s innovative satellite-aided transmission debuted in the Wraith coupe and the refreshed Ghost Series II.