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27.01.09: A day with a Rolls-Royce Phantom

Time 12 years ago

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I’m completely and utterly shattered. When I tell you why you’ll laugh, call me four-letter names, and tell me not to be so stupid. Thing is, I haven’t got the energy to argue.

I’ve just spent a day in a Rolls-Royce Phantom – quite easily the best and most expensive car I have ever driven.

The reason for trying out a Phantom was my friends at my local paper, The News, Portsmouth, wanted a piece on what it was like to drive, and be driven in.

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The reason? The incredible fact that sales for the marque were actually up some 20 per cent last year – despite the crunch. This is mainly due to exports, but still pretty remarkable.

Plus, it’s even more impressive for a manufacturer that knocks out cars costing some £300k, give or take a few grand.

So, what’s the big P like to drive? Well, for a start, pretty scary. This thing is big – as in Ark Royal big. It’s some 20ft long and comes up to my shoulder (I’m nearly 6ft 4ins) and it’s pretty wide too. It all makes for towns being pretty buttock clenchingly scary.

Problem was I was overly concentrating for the whole day, making sure it wasn’t stacked as we swept through Portsmouth’s streets – it must be the reason I’m so shattered.

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I do love the RR though. It’s a total triumph of luxury engineering that has no equal; it’s unashamedly luxurious and so fantastic for it.

The carpet – in the front and back – is like cats are sleeping in the footwells, there’s expanses of woods that would make forests shudder and the fit and finish is impeccable.

The reaction from people on the streets is superb too. Motorists let you out of junctions (unlike other luxury cars), people stop and point and it puts a smile on people’s faces wherever you park it up.

I’ve always revered the Phantom; admired it as Sir Alan of Sugar wafted around dictating to his apprentices on the hit show; and always dreamed of having a stint behind the wheel. Driving it today really was a dream come true.

But the best bit? Taking it back in one piece…

Right, I really should get back to hunting for that Banger for BEN

James


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James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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