EARLIER THIS MONTH the eighth-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom went on sale with a starting price of £360,000. Although we won’t see many of these luxury motors on our roads, we can still admire and appreciate ‘The Best Car in the World’ from afar.
With that in mind, here are some of the weird and wonderful facts and features of the Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII.
1. The centre caps on the wheels of the Phantom – as with all Rolls-Royce cars – do not rotate. The caps are on bearings so the logo is always the right way up.
2. The wheels of the Phantom VIII are 22 inches, the largest alloys ever employed on a Rolls-Royce. (The rule of thumb for wheel size is that the diameter of the wheel and tyre is roughly half the height of the car.)
3. The new grille of each Phantom VIII is polished by hand.
4. Adorning the top of that grille is the famous Rolls-Royce ‘Spirit of Ecstasy’ statuette – buyers can choose from silver, gold-plated, or illuminated polycarbonate. There is a setting so that the Spirit of Ecstasy retracts into the hood automatically when the engine is switched off, and also a safety feature so that it retracts automatically if there is any impact.
5. There is only one person who is allowed to paint the pinstripe on a Rolls-Royce and his name is Mark Court. The new Phantom is 6.05 metres in length and it takes Mark around three hours to hand paint the single, 6-metre long coachline.
Mark uses special brushes, made from ox and squirrel hair and the coachline must be precisely level and an even 3mm in width. No pressure then Mark.
6. On the inside, the Phantom VIII has a ‘Starlight Headliner’: 1,340 fibre optic lights that create a twinkling night sky on the interior roof of the car. Of course, these lights can be custom-placed to represent the night sky however you wish, for example, the Starlight Headliner in the bespoke Celestial Phantom depicts the constellations exactly as they were over Goodwood on the night when the first new Phantom was unveiled.
7. The wood panelling across the back of the front seats is a nod to the Eames Lounge Chair of 1956, while the design inspiration for the armrest was the J-Class sailing yacht.
8. The Phantom VIII features a bespoke analogue clock with a backlit face with crystal effect details and counterweighted hands. It is finished to match the material selected for the interior. As the old David Ogilvy advertisement goes: “at 60 miles an hour, the loudest noise in the new Rolls-Royce comes from the electric clock”.
9. Speaking of noise, to ensure occupants aren’t disturbed by the world outside, there’s more than 130kg of sound deadening insulation stuffed inside the car, with 6.35cm (2.5 inches) of sound-insulating foam in the headliner alone. There is also 6mm double glazing on all windows.
New ‘Silent-Seal’ tyres have also been developed for the Phantom which features a specific foam layer placed inside the tyre to wipe out tyre cavity noise. All of these combine to make the Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII one of the quietest cars in the world.