Overview & Reviews
It doesn't get much more stately, opulent and luxurious than a Rolls-Royce. For decades, the marque has set a standard that other luxury carmakers have aspired to reach. Though the prestigious automaker has hit a few bumps in the road over the years, it has largely been a symbol of automotive excellence for most of its 100-plus years in the business.
A partnership between Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce, British-based Rolls-Royce Ltd. was officially formed in 1906. The company's six-cylinder Silver Ghost was unveiled that same year. Right from the start, the company's dedication to excellence was clear; the Silver Ghost exhibited amazing attention to detail and remarkable quality, and promptly earned kudos for being "the best car in the world."
During the '20s, the automaker acquired a second factory in Springfield, Massachusetts to help keep up with rising demand; the factory remained open for 10 years. The '20s also saw the launch of the Phantom I, a car that was powered by an all-new, pushrod-operated overhead valve engine with detachable cylinder heads -- cutting-edge technology for its time. Rolls-Royce added another, very similar brand to its family with the acquisition of Bentley in 1931. For decades following the takeover, Rolls and Bentley vehicles were almost identical mechanically.
The 1940s saw the opening of Rolls-Royce's celebrated Crewe factory. The first Rolls to be produced postwar was the Silver Wraith. This vehicle was significant in that it was the last Rolls-Royce product to have its body crafted by an independent coachbuilder. After this point, the company's vehicles were built completely in-house.
Rolls unveiled its Phantom IV in 1950. Powered by a muscular eight-cylinder engine, the majestic cruiser held the distinction of being the most exclusive Rolls ever. Only 18 were made, all of which were delivered to royalty and heads of state. The '50s also saw the debut of the king-sized Silver Cloud I and Silver Cloud II. The 1960s saw the introduction of the Silver Cloud III, Silver Shadow and Phantom VI.
The company hit a rough patch in the early 1970s. Problems with an engine contract led to severe financial difficulties, which in turn caused the manufacturer to file for bankruptcy. The company was eventually nationalized by the British government.
In 1980, Rolls was purchased by Vickers PLC. The Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit was launched in 1981; the car was the first of a new generation of Rolls vehicles. Mechanically, the Silver Spirit was designed to meet strict new international safety and emissions regulations. Aesthetically, the car was styled to appeal to a younger generation of buyers, with a clean new look that was very much in step with the times.
Rolls changed hands yet again in the '90s. Vickers put the marque up for sale, and BMW seemed like a frontrunner to take the reins; however, in a surprise move, Volkswagen outbid BMW. The two German automakers arranged for VW to relinquish control of the Rolls-Royce name on January 1, 2003, with VW keeping Bentley and the Crewe plant. As a result, BMW has built a $100 million facility in Goodwood, England, to accommodate the distinguished British manufacturer.
These days, the Rolls-Royce family of vehicles consists of a trio of majestic Phantoms -- the sedan, coupe and Drophead (British for convertible) coupe -- as well as the smaller, "entry level" Ghost. While other automakers also offer cars at these stratospheric price points, we don't doubt the company's ability to keep rolling for many years to come.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 27.00
magnificent - 2008 Rolls-Royce Phantom
By ron davi - December 23 - 1:16 pm
The workmanship and actual ride itself is impeccable. If you appreciate atttention to detail, you will admire all aspects of the automobile. It is also very quitely responsive and powerful. Everything you would hope for in a rolls.
The Ultimate in Luxurious Automobiles - 2007 Rolls-Royce Phantom
By The Man - March 15 - 4:03 pm
While I have only owned this car less then one calendar year, I have truly gotten to know her. Her name in my mind is the "Queen of Luxury" (all my cars have names). I have a driver, which is important to note because driving a phantom, and being driven in a phantom are two completely different things! The car is very heavy, but for its immense mass, she handles quite well. Fuel economy is miserable, but when you can spend nearly 400,000 on a car, you can most likely afford the gas. The back seat, which is where I spend the majority of my time when I am in the car, is as comfortable as my house, if not a little more. I chose the cinema configuration, which I believe was the best choice.
Best Value for the Money - 2001 Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph
By nomind - April 9 - 9:10 pm
I bought this beauty for $46,000 two months ago. It rides great and I love the hand-sewn hides and sheepskin / cashmere interior. Now all my Porsche driving buddies have something to think about when I drive up to the ballpark.
Underated - 2006 Rolls-Royce Phantom
By AP - January 26 - 5:26 am
When I entered the Rolls Royce dealership in San Francisco I just had to have it. I took it for a spin, came back, and paid cash. I love the looks that I get when I ride through the Bay Area.
Just Awesome! - 2004 Rolls-Royce Phantom
By Carlos Marrero - November 2 - 10:20 pm
When I finally reached the point in my life last year that I could afford one of these monsters, I jumped at the chance. This is by far and away the finest sedan I have ever owned and I have had several(S600,750il,S55 to name a few)The Phantom is an order of magnitude better. The main thing that I still cant get over is the level of comfort that Rolls has achieved with this car. On a recent road trip to Miami, I practically fell asleep driving down 95s in the middle of the day. The leather is just remarkable,as is the woodwork. While not as fast as the V-12 Germans, the car weighs 1000lbs more than the S600 and 760li. This car really hustles regardless of the extra pounds. I love it!
Phantom 2005 - 2005 Rolls-Royce Phantom
By Donald Kress - October 30 - 10:43 pm
The 2005 Rolls-Royce Phantomis a joy to drive. It handles like a much smaller car. The turning radius is very good for a car of this size. the fit and finish are pure Rolls Royce.
Deep Regret - 2009 Rolls-Royce Phantom
By Richard Smith - September 26 - 1:33 am
I deeply regret buying this junker. Complete waste of 300K. Even though it is superb in comfort and performance, it does not make up for the monstrous handling, the guzzling of fuel( Have to stop at nearly every single gas station, extremely annoying ) and most of all THE UGLY EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR!!! I still cant believe that I bought this hunk of Junk.
The Great Car - 2006 Rolls-Royce Phantom
By Aqiureror - August 9 - 9:40 pm
Upon test driving the Rolls Royce Phantom, I must say it has remarkably better handling than the Maybach 57. The car is nimble and responsive, although power is subdued for enhanced comfort. The greatest phenomenon upon my short drive is the remarkable handling of the car; the chassis mitigates its weight and bulk, providing the driver and the passengers with remarkable comfort and little body roll even in fast sharp corners. Upon intense acceleration and at high speeds, there is absolutely no noise in the cockpit and absolutely no vibration. The lack of vibration is thanks to a remarkable dual floor system, so the floor is not connected to the chassis. This is a great car.
Fabulous - 2004 Rolls-Royce Phantom
By NPW - October 3 - 9:46 am
Simply the very best automobile I have ever driven or owned. The comfort and ease of driving is fabulous.
Wonderful hotel car - 2002 Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph
By jack - June 17 - 2:00 am
Hotel attendants are always excited to have this car arrive! Even the Four Seasons prefers to keep it out front. The car is lovely to ride in, and reasonable to drive. A vast improvement from the previous versions (Silver Spur). The BMW engine is excellent. In fact, this is truly the better car when compared to the Bentley counterpart with its older technology engine.