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Discuss Rolls drophead in the forum at Car Dealer Forums; Is somebody put a gun to your head and said you have to drive a ...
  1. #1

    Default Rolls drophead

    Is somebody put a gun to your head and said you have to drive a car but
    you can have any one you want, this might be a good choice:

    Ask why the new Phantom Drophead Coupe uses a cloth rather than
    retractable metal roof, as is the modern custom, and design director
    Ian Cameron will give a typically Rolls-Royce answer. "There's
    something romantic about raindrops falling on a fabric roof."

    Ah, the r word-romance. How often do you hear that in motoring these
    days? You hear plenty of the other r word-rational. But romance? Never.

    Yet there's something intrinsically romantic about this big, graceful,
    bluff-nosed, long-hooded, majestic statue of a car, more of a 1920s or
    1930s luxury roadster than a machine from this century.

    And although the people at Rolls-Royce hate the other r word-retro (how
    can it be retro when it's peppered with such high tech?)-they'll
    happily concede that the inspiration for this car came from the last
    century not from this one.

    "It's like a car from the 1920s-long and graceful, big powerful engine,
    perfect for easily effortless drives in the sun in beautiful
    locations," says Cameron. "It's an indulgent car. It's all about
    enjoyment, of giving yourself a treat."

    And what a treat: When it hits the showrooms this summer, after it made
    its debut at the Detroit auto show, it'll cost near enough to $400,000,
    the world's most expensive convertible. It's also the world's longest.

    The first rear-hinged front doors in living history and another
    throwback to the 1920s and 1930s, they provide superb entry and exit to
    the front seats.It's rejuvenated BMW-owned Rolls-Royce's second model,
    following the Phantom sedan-now the world's best-selling super-luxury
    car (though annual volumes of under 800 hardly constitute volume
    production). While every panel is new, the Drophead Coupe has
    similarities with the sedan. The handmade aluminum spaceframe chassis
    is based closely on the Phantom's. It has beefier sills, and on the
    Drophead they're proper sills rather than the flat-floor of the
    Phantom. The Drophead's chassis also is just under 10 inches shorter,
    reflecting the reduced wheelbase.

    Apart from that, they have much in common, not least that they're
    handbuilt on the same "production line" in Rolls's new home in
    Goodwood, England. Though Rolls would never refer to it as such, you
    can sense the beginning of a common platform strategy here, especially
    if the fixed-head-coupe model follows, as expected, in a couple years.

    The engine, that big and silent-smooth direct-injection 6.7-liter,
    453-horsepower V-12, is identical to the Phantom's and so is the
    six-speed ZF autobox. Of paddle shifts and sports modes, there's no
    sign. Instead, as in the Phantom, you get a delicate column-mounted
    wand, offering the refreshingly simple choice of forward, backward, or
    neutral. Just about the only manual adjustment to confuse the driver is
    the provision to raise the car's ride height, the better to clamber up
    uneven grassy mounds at a horse race or picnic.

    The hydropneumatic suspension also is Phantom-based, though there are
    geometry and tuning changes.
    The styling, of course, is new. The biggest departure from the
    Rolls-Royce norm is the vast Greek temple-style grille. It gives the
    Drophead Coupe a sportier mien, which is commensurate with the lower
    and more hunkered-down stance. The body is all aluminum, unlike the
    Phantom sedan that has composite front fenders. The optional
    brushed-stainless-steel hood and windscreen surround are borrowed from
    the 100EX convertible and 101EX coupe concept cars. Rolls expects a
    majority of buyers to opt for this, although a body-color aluminum hood
    and windscreen surround are standard.

    Just as distinctive are those vast rear-hinged "coach" doors, opened by
    lovely chromed art-deco-like strakes (and closed, once seated,
    electronically by push buttons).

    The roof is cloth, lined inside with a cashmere mix. Not only does it
    faithfully relay the romantic pat-ata-pat of raindrops, it rises and
    folds automatically and is stowed under the teak rear decking. The teak
    is an overt maritime touch. Oiling of the wood is part of the car's
    service routine. It reflects Cameron's desire to give the Drophead
    Coupe "a nautical theme." Early in the car's conception, Cameron and
    his design team went to the Pendennis shipyard in Falmouth, England,
    where the wooden J-class boat, Shamrock V-built for tea magnate Sir
    Thomas Lipton's fifth and last America's Cup challenge in 1930-was
    undergoing a refit.

    "J-class boats are the most beautiful of all racing yachts," says
    Cameron. "This is an all-weather car, so we tried to replicate many of
    the features of the classic J-class." The teak is a feature of the
    yacht's decking and is sturdy and long-lasting.

    Carpets aren't wool, which absorbs moisture and can smell like a wet
    dog after heavy rain. Instead, they're a soft, sumptuous type of nylon
    that's able to withstand a good soaking.

    The cabin is another departure from the Phantom sedan. The shorter
    wheelbase reduces rear legroom, of course. Yet the twin rear seats have
    ample legroom for tall men, while the curved bench seat isn't as wide
    or as luxuriantly spacious as in the Phantom. It's more intimate, in
    keeping with this car's romantic character. Rear legroom is helped by
    the thinner and smaller front bucket seats, no longer the lounge chairs
    of the Phantom.

    Instruments are Phantom carryover and minimalist and eccentric,
    including the tach-replacing "power reserve gauge" that indicates how
    much of the formidable V-12 isn't utilized. The upper part of the dash
    is aluminum, true to the car's sportier bent. Elsewhere beautifully
    crafted wood, mahogany on our photo car, trims the dashboard, center
    console, and doors.

    The trunk, too, is pleasingly oddball. The lower part of the trunklid
    opens down, like a pickup's tailgate, to provide picnic seating or a
    step from which to watch one's horse race or the polo match.

    The Spirit of Ecstacy hood ornament sports more detail than ever, glows
    like flowing mercury, and recesses into the grill lest she be stolen by
    wanton passersby.But who exactly is going to spend the best part of
    $400,000 on a convertible? Rolls-Royce already knows. Though deliveries
    are still more than six months away, more than 300 cars already have
    been sold, almost a full year's production. And that's before the car
    has been shown publicly.

    The worldwide traveling roadshows for the 100EX and 101EX concepts,
    where the cars were shown to prospective customers, are responsible.
    "Rolls-Royce is not your normal car company," says Cameron. "We know
    many of our customers personally." As with the Phantom, America will be
    the biggest market, and Beverly Hills the biggest single sales region.

    While the Phantom sedan is a car for everyday use and more formal
    occasions, the Drophead Coupe is for leisure. It's a sociable vehicle,
    a car to enjoy with friends. A car for dreamers and romantics who
    admire the panache and glamour of the Gatsby years but are doing just
    fine in the 21st century, thank you very much.



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  2. #2
    Alan Mudd

    Default Re: Rolls drophead

    Money no object, only one car, it would be one of these, always has been
    always will be.

    Alan M

  3. #3
    The Spanish Inquisition

    Default Re: Rolls drophead

    Alan Mudd wrote:

    > Money no object, only one car, it would be one of these, always has been
    > always will be.

    A '89 car that needed major restoration after only 42000 miles after
    doubtlessly having been stored in a garage?

    I think I'll stick with my 75K '87 Benz then...

    Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...
    and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope....

  4. #4
    Alan Mudd

    Default Re: Rolls drophead

    Sure, these cars tend to be kept in concourse condition or restored to such,
    there's a whole world of difference between a good condition reliable runner
    and a show piece.

    I'm currently restoring a 1990 560 SEC, it runs great looks more than
    acceptable but it requires a major restoreation to get it to the condition I
    want, I guess it's a matter of perspective isn't it.

    Alan M

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