Back in 1934, this Rolls Royce Phantom II Streamline Saloon was the pride of Park Ward at the Olympia Motor Show in London. The car was a one-off that showcased a much more flamboyant design style, and it helped to cement Park Ward’s reputation as the premier coach builder for Rolls Royce motorcars.
An immaculate full restoration from 40 years of neglect in a barn, the Streamline Saloon took the award for third place in the Pre-War Rolls Royce class at last year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. This car is known in restoration circles as “The Raccoon Rolls” because it was the home for a family of Raccoons during its four decades in the barn. In an interview with USA Today, the owner said that 80lbs of “refuse” was removed from the car prior to the onset of its restoration. So it went from raccoon den to Pebble Beach award-winner in the span of ten years, quite a story.
Having a nice dinner with a good bottle of wine is a good thing, but having a nice dinner with a well-aged bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape is an occasion to be savored.
But what is really the difference? If you just gave most people a glass of nameless wine, even if it were something like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, then it either tastes good or it doesn’t. But knowing that you have something very special changes the experience entirely. The focus of the aforementioned dinner becomes all about appreciating the wine, with the food as a secondary concern. In reality, it may well be somewhat of a placebo effect, but it makes you feel special, and that is something people crave. This is precisely the appeal of the Rolls Royce Phantom.
Rolls-Royce has every reason to act pompous about their cars. The Phantom, their current flagship, has been on the market since 2003, and just this year, has been restyled as the Series II, which includes a large number of under-the-skin changes and a new front fascia. While at Pebble Beach, Nick and I had just enough time to review this classy chariot, but not enough time to take turns driving it. As a result, this review will concern what the big Phantom II is like from the driver’s point of view. Continue reading 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom II, The Driver’s Review (Grade: B+)→
It’s not often that I see a Rolls-Royce Silver Spur in a color as noticeable as this one. Most of them are muted grays, blues, or black, or a nice off-white. Not this one, though. This rather rare Mulliner Park Ward model is a crisp Carmine Red with a gorgeous magnolia white interior featuring offset piping. I spoke to the owners, who had on display their red daily driver, a St. James Red Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed. Red chairs, red Bentley, red Rolls, red shirts, red shorts. I’m not sure what their favorite color was, but I’m sure it’s not British Racing Green. Among the few Spurs I have seen in my years, this Silver Spur V looked fantastic and the red paint shined brightly in the blue, sun-kissed Florida sky. With blinding chrome, classic whitewall tires, and gorgeous solid wood trim on the inside, this Spur looks ready for the spotlight. Enjoy the photos. Continue reading Rolls-Royce Silver Spur IV Mulliner Park Ward at Festivals of Speed Amelia Island, 2014→
Early Rolls-Royces were out in full force on the second day of the New Hope Car Show, which is normally reserved for European classics. Behind the high school that the show uses as its venue, there were Rolls and Bentley classics parked as far as the eye could see. Luckily for my bad right ankle, this Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, in a very fetching eggshell-white paintjob with wire wheels, was parked right next to the wall of the school, making for some great backdrops. Of course, my camera packed up on me at this very moment, and the zoom stopped working while I was taking shots of this Ghost. Luckily, the photos survived for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy the photos. Continue reading 1922 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost at the New Hope Classic Car Show→
On Day 2 of the New Hope Car Show, the European classics come out to play. This year, the venerable marque of Rolls-Royce was healthily represented. In fact, its representation was so healthy that I was spoiled for choice. It wasn’t until after I’d spent about an hour perusing the models in the field that I came across this shining red Phantom, owned by one of the more humorous people in the show. The tan convertible roof and luggage compartment, combined with the gorgeous wire wheels and whitewall tires, made this particular Phantom II stand out from the crowd that sunny day. In fact, it stood out so much that my Kodak z990 camera actually broke that very day and I had to go get it replaced. Enjoy the photos. Continue reading 1931 Rolls Royce Phantom II at the New Hope Classic Car Show 2013→
We saw this gorgeous 1927 Rolls Royce “Springfield” Phantom I Pall Mall Phaeton at the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance back in September. It was among the majority of Phantom Is that were built stateside, at Rolls Royce’s factory in Massachusetts. This particular car has been completely restored to its original condition, with its stunning tri-color scheme that consisted of a creme tan and navy blue with red accents. I have seen a few stunning prewar Rolls Royces this summer, but this one may well be my favorite because of its color scheme alone. It is just so rich looking, and extremely unique.
This example also had the distinct honor of carrying none other than Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor Roosevelt during a 1936 parade in Houston, Texas. Its original owner, at the time, was Roy Garret Watson, the Publisher of the Houston Post. This Phantom I resided in Houston until just recently in 2012, when it changed hands and moved to Pittsburgh, PA.
This was my pick for “Best In Show” at Radnor Hunt this year. It didn’t win (my picks never do, somehow), but it was still my favorite car in attendance that day. Enjoy the photos of this immaculate machine.
While driving around Pebble Beach during our first day of Monterey Car Week we decided to stop by The Inn at Spanish Bay. We were greeted by numerous exotics parked out front, but this bright purple Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe and bright red Ferrari F12 Berlinetta definitely stole to show. Enjoy the pics.
Back when Rolls Royce and Bentley sailed under the same flag, it was often said that a Bentley was a car to drive and a Rolls Royce was a car to be driven in. The two companies have now been split up for over a decade, with Bentley owned by Volkswagen and Rolls Royce under BMW. Since their separation both brands have had to branch out a bit, but for Rolls Royce, branching out has come to mean venturing into some unexplored territory.
Rolls Royces have traditionally been focused on the concerns of their rear occupants, aiming to preserve comfort at all costs, even if the chauffeur goes completely mad. The car you see here, Rolls Royce describes as being a “gentleman’s grand tourer”, and the most powerful car they’ve ever made. It is the new Rolls Royce Wraith, and no part of it has anything to do with being chauffeured. The Wraith is a driver’s Rolls Royce, and to many, that may seem a vast ideological conflict.
After day two, I am convinced that 2013 has to be the best New Hope Auto Show I have ever attended. The first day had many fantastic American cars, and the second day had a barrage of phenomenal foreign cars. The field ranged from modern exotics to classics, and I was thrilled with the sheer variety of cars; not just a bunch of the same types of Ferraris lined up.
Highlights included some truly breathtaking pre-war Rolls Royces, a variety of special Porsches, and one of the prettiest Mercedes 300 SLs I have ever laid eyes on. There is much more, including a few cars not often seen in the US, so check out the gallery (below) to see. Enjoy the photos.
Going to all of these concours events I’ve had the privilege to see some of the most glorious prewar luxury cars imaginable. Packards, Duesenbergs, Delahayes, Bugattis, the list goes on and on. This got me thinking about how most of these wonderful cars haven’t survived the ages, and it begged the question, why?