RE: Rolls-Royce Phantom | The Brave Pill

RE: Rolls-Royce Phantom | The Brave Pill

Saturday 9th November

Rolls-Royce Phantom | The Brave Pill

It might be 14 years old, but this Rolls is already half way through its second century



As Disney's PR machine goes into blurry hyperdrive over the imminent arrival of what should be the last Star Wars film, Pill has headed all the way back to the mostly dreadful Episode One to take inspiration for this week's candidate. Behold, the Phantom Menace.

There are different ways to look at a car this posh wearing a 150,000 mile odometer reading. The first, admittedly, is the more traditional one - to run for the hills, or treat it with the sort of caution normally reserved for fizzing grenades or misspelt investment opportunities from exiled members of West African royal families.

The second is a more courageous approach, exactly the sort that Pill was established to promote: to wonder if the care and attention that has obviously been lavished on getting such a complicated, expensive car such a distance means, perversely, it is a better bet than some of the lower mileage alternatives being offered for much more.


It certainly looks good. The word "purple" in any car advertisement is likely to get the reader's face pre-winced if they haven't seen the images yet, but the reality of the Phantom's deep imperial shade is one that suits the car especially well. The matching carpet is perhaps a little more 'seventies, but the good news is that the rest of our Pill's interior is in the magnolia-and-walnut combo that always looks right in Rollers and Bentleys.

Despite squinting at the images, evidence of wear is minimal with the obvious exception of the patch in the carpet where the driver's ankle has rested, and which would be hidden by a set of fitted mats. To get finicity there is also what looks like discolouration on some of the interior trim, which may just because the hue of different materials has altered at different rates. But it doesn't look anything like as beaten-up as 150,000 miles would make most things.

Our Pill is also about as cheap as Phantoms ever get, certainly in the UK. By the standards of ultra-luxury saloons the Phantom VII has always been something of a bank vault in terms of retained value. Before options this Phantom would have cost its first owner Β£216,000, and despite the 14 years and being most of the way to the moon it is still looks well priced when being offered for more than a quarter of that. Bear in mind it's barely a month since Pill featured a Maybach 62 with just 37,000 miles for Β£39,950.


Of course, the Phantom is a far more appealing car than the Maybach ever was, but although it was huge news when it was launched in 2003 it's worth remembering that the Rolls' early reception wasn't the warmest. Plenty of traditional Rolls-Royce owners were openly sceptical about the idea of a BMW-built version and - like the Bentley Continental - the Phantom got stick for sharing some of its componentry with more proletarian models. In truth most of the common componentry was invisible, and although the N73 V12 was related to the motor in the contemporary BMW 760i it had been given substantial changes including increased capacity, more torque and about a quarter of a ton of soundproofing. It is a shame that BMW couldn't get the V16 that it had started developing for the car to work, though.

The Phantom experience was properly special, more so given the contrast to what had gone before. The previous Rolls-Royce saloon was the almost entirely forgotten Silver Seraph, effectively a Rolls-ified version of the Arnage from the period when both brands were under common ownership. The Rolls looked weedier than the Bentley and had a relatively insipid 5.4-litre V12 in place of the muscular turbocharged V8 that most Arnages packed; it felt like a complete afterthought and sold in accordingly limited volumes.

By contrast, BMW had thrown an entire gothic kitchen at the new Phantom. It was enormous; even the standard wheelbase version was nearly six metres long and as tall as many SUVs. Design was imposing to the point of staying at your house uninvited for a couple of weeks and drinking all your beer, with the "coach hinged" suicide doors at the back creating street-stopping theatre. I drove one for the first time in central London, which should have been terrifying, but actually turned out to be something like a magic carpet ride, the XXL Roller receiving an unprecedented level of deference from cabbies and even white van drivers, uncharacteristically happy to surrender road space to something so spectacular.


While the Phantom's driving manners predictably prioritize those in the back there is still a decent amount of fun to be had in the driver's seat. You sit very upright in the front of a Phantom, with powerful power assistance and a narrow wheel rim discouraging any detailed exploration of the limits of lateral grip. Yet it can still be persuaded to roll along in a forceful fashion. There isn't a rev counter, this was the first use of Rolls's "Power Reserve" meter, and well before this passes the 50 percent mark acceleration is already getting strong enough to earn a frisky chauffeur a stern tap on the back of the head from a silver-tipped cane.

Yet I suspect the abiding impression, now as when the car was new, will be the cabin's remarkable powers of noise cancellation. The V12 engine is normally so hushed you can't hear it, road and wind noise should be pretty much non-existent even at a naughty motorway cruise. The new Phantom VIII is even more subdued at speed, but I'm not sure that much else would be.

You will be entirely surprised that main dealer servicing holds to the old Rolls adage of "if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it" - although an impressive number of early Phantom VIIs are reportedly still being maintained by official franchises. The good news is that there are several well-regarded specialists for owners looking to trim ownership costs on older examples and that beyond a rapacious appetite for some consumables the Phantom is actually regarded as pretty tough (a point this car proves better than any.) Bills are inevitable, and some will be big enough to be painful, but this is far from the silliest car to have featured here.


Our Pill is being sold by a Lotus dealer in Norfolk - let's hope it was chopped in for something equally interesting - and although the numberplates aren't visible we've worked some PH magic to have a peek at the MOT history. This is a reassuring sea of green with only a couple of advisories for worn tyres and suspension components, and a single fail for illegally spaced registration plate letters. The record suggests continuous use, which has to be a positive, and also that the rate of mileage accumulation has tailed off in recent years, the Phantom passing 119,000 in 2012.

Of course, it won't be cheap to either buy or run, but it will be interesting - this is quite possibly the highest-mileage example in the country. So who isn't scared of this Phantom?


See the original advert here

Search for a Rolls-Royce Phantom here

Author
Discussion

oilit

Original Poster:

828 posts

125 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
RR offer free servicing for the first 5 (I think) years regardless of mileage, so if you can afford one it's a great buy for high miles - I remember seeing someone who had one with 160000 in less than two years - and they said they kept them until the free service & warranty ran out and then chopped in for a new one.

I also have a mate who has one he drives and he says whilst the main dealer experience is great - it does have its foibles and has always said the A8L which is also in his 'fleet' is a better proposition as a daily drive

A1VDY

921 posts

74 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
That brickweave is a right mess, could do with a clean. Wire brush between bricks and a wash over with caustic soda would do the trick.
Then.. take pictures of the car.
Tbf, Stratton motor Co. have a nice enough frontage at their garage anyway..

Edited by A1VDY on Saturday 9th November 06:44

Turbobanana

1,536 posts

148 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
PH said:
The word "purple" in any car advertisement is likely to get the reader's face pre-winced.
Why do you constantly propagate the view that anything not black, silver or grey is undesirable? Are you sponsored by a paint manufacturer with an extremely limited range?

myvision

1,326 posts

83 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
I'd have expected the carpet to have worn better than it has.

Augustus Windsock

1,822 posts

102 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
Not my cup of Darjeeling, new or used.
Apart from the fact I’m not one of its target customers, I would never want a car like this, magnificent as it it, not just because of the way it looks or drives, but also because I haven’t sufficient essential organs that I could sell when it ‘fails to proceed’
As for the comment about covering the hole in the carpet, let’s be real, any self-respecting prospective purchaser would lift any after-market kats to look what they are hiding
If you’re spending this sort of ££££ on a Royce, I’d look at getting a genuine carpet of the used variety from a specialist. Or at a push a set of the deep lambs wool rugs I thought they came with from new?
Magnificent but potentially ruinous

redroadster

1,018 posts

179 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
Better light needed to see paint just looks black to me ,always a market for used white ones weddings etc .

A Winner Is You

20,882 posts

174 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
Turbobanana said:
PH said:
The word "purple" in any car advertisement is likely to get the reader's face pre-winced.
Why do you constantly propagate the view that anything not black, silver or grey is undesirable? Are you sponsored by a paint manufacturer with an extremely limited range?
To be fair, looking around any car park shows most car buyers think the same way

MDL111

3,942 posts

124 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
I’d love one of these and the color looks great

Roo

11,381 posts

154 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
A1VDY said:
That brickweave is a right mess, could do with a clean. Wire brush between bricks and a wash over with caustic soda would do the trick.
Then.. take pictures of the car.
Tbf, Stratton motor Co. have a nice enough frontage at their garage anyway..

Edited by A1VDY on Saturday 9th November 06:44
Their lockup and workshop on the industrial estate is much more interesting.

GravelMachineGun

5,562 posts

106 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
Is it being sold by Alan Partridge?

"Rolls-Royce may be owned by BMW, but the Phantom is both individual and feels every inch the pinnacle of British-built luxury."

MarkwG

1,997 posts

136 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
myvision said:
I'd have expected the carpet to have worn better than it has.
That'll be an over mat, rather than the carpet, I suspect.

Hairymonster

500 posts

52 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
I love these. I'd never buy one, but would love to hire one for a weekend.

As someone else said - ruinously expensive.

richinlondon

124 posts

69 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
Probably an amazing car but a bit surAlan for me ...

Wolvesboy

436 posts

88 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
I couldn’t believe how big it was when I saw one in the flesh. I can imagine it being an awesome continent cruiser though - bet the kids wouldn’t keep saying, “are we there yet!”
Us “normal” folk just wouldn’t bother, even at this price, as it would not fit either on my drive or in the garage!

rare6499

306 posts

86 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
myvision said:
I'd have expected the carpet to have worn better than it has.
That’s just carpet mats. Having done this sort of mileage I would say they’ve done pretty well! They are lambs wool after all, not some synthetic hard wearing material.

ash73

16,790 posts

168 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
Lovely car but a bit shabby, how the heck did the interior get like that?

It's guzzled £40k of petrol to get to that mileage too.

bitchstewie

22,753 posts

157 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
ash73 said:
Lovely car but a bit shabby, how the heck did the interior get like that?

It's guzzled £40k of petrol to get to that mileage too.
That was my first thought.

I can't quite work out who spends £200K on a Rolls Royce and then can't be bothered to buy a set of floor mats confused

That's before the grime on the door linings.

The Moose

18,810 posts

156 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
If it sells for anything like that amount of money, I think it’s held it’s value particularly well. 14 or 15 years old and 150,000 miles still retaining 25% of its sale price.

Seems expensive to me.

2003 BMW 760Li with 125k
https://www.pistonheads.com/classifieds/used-cars/...

Turbobanana

1,536 posts

148 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
A Winner Is You said:
Turbobanana said:
PH said:
The word "purple" in any car advertisement is likely to get the reader's face pre-winced.
Why do you constantly propagate the view that anything not black, silver or grey is undesirable? Are you sponsored by a paint manufacturer with an extremely limited range?
To be fair, looking around any car park shows most car buyers think the same way
Yup, because the market has been conditioned to think that way.

oilit

Original Poster:

828 posts

125 months

Saturday 9th November
quotequote all
bhstewie said:
ash73 said:
Lovely car but a bit shabby, how the heck did the interior get like that?

It's guzzled £40k of petrol to get to that mileage too.
That was my first thought.

I can't quite work out who spends £200K on a Rolls Royce and then can't be bothered to buy a set of floor mats confused

That's before the grime on the door linings.
As said before it's the lambswool overmats (ie floor mats) that have worn - just buy a new 2nd hand one or a new set - probably cost thousands though for a full set given they seem to fetch £500 for just two rears on ebay

LOL

Edited by oilit on Saturday 9th November 13:26