After a gap of several years since the Phantom VI, something of a ‘60s throwback, the Phantom VII appeared as a car ready for the 21st century. It was the first car developed with the financial resources of BMW behind it and reinvigorated Roll’s reputation for building the finest cars in the world. It was also the first model built at the then new Goodwood plant, both car and factory combining traditional craftsmanship and the latest technology.
At nearly 6 metres long, it is a vast machine, but thanks to copious amounts of aluminium weighs in at 2550Kg so the 6.75 litre V12 can haul it at quite undignified speeds.
The current owner has owned the Phantom since 2017, having purchased it from Rolls Royce dealer P&A Wood who also took care of servicing it until recently, so it has a full P&A Wood history. It had been intended to be used as a wedding and concierge car for a hotel venture so was wrapped in white for the last three years, so protecting the paint, but was very little used so returned to a personal collection.
The car has history from P&A Wood Rolls Royce and in the last year has had an oil service from Cult Classics where it is stored. It was MOT’d in September so has a current test, and looking back the only advisory has been for a minor oil leak which was rectified by Cult Classics.
The Phantom looks imposing on the outside but the cabin is very much the high point of the experience. The quality of the materials and craftsmanship is evident where ever you look. The deep gloss of the wooden dash reveals the matching wood grain from panel to panel, the the door caps are dazzling slabs of glossy timber with leather inserts and in superb condition. In fact the whole interior is very good, the cream seats, black steering wheel and dash top and blue insert leather is beautiful, there are just some small marks on the drivers door pocket.
Elsewhere the dash has simple soft matte aluminium panels and heavy chrome vents and controls. It is a mix of very traditional styling cues and some very modern touches, such as the revolving clock hiding the nav and infotainment screen and iDrive control hidden in the armrest. Underfoot the blue deep pile carpet is covered by matching thick lambswool rugs.
The rear has seemingly endless leg room and tucked into the rear hinged back doors are an RR branded umbrella on each side.
Every detail is perfect down to the frosted glass behind the door pulls and seat back tray tables in the rear.
To see the car you would be forgiven for thinking it was a far newer than it is, and looks like a car with half the miles, showing both the quality of the build and the care that has been taken of the car over its life.
The Royal Blue metallic paint glows, and is the perfect colour for this car, it has virtually no stone chips and looking around the Phantom reveals no scratches or any dings in the panels. The only paint defect is hidden in the passenger door handle recess where it has a small 1cm crack and the colour coat has lifted slightly, meanwhile the chrome grill and flying lady have superb shine.
The 21” wheels are huge but look in proportion to the car, and they are in excellent condition, not herbed and no lacquer peeling, and f course the centre cap rotated and keep the badge the right way up all the time. The Goodyear Eagle tyres have good tread all round, deeper at the front. The only issue with the exterior is a cracked rear side window on the drivers side.
In the boot the blue carpet is more sumptuous than most people's houses and hies a storage box and tool kit under the floor panels.
Under the bonnet lies a 6.75 litre V12 engine, dressed in suitably traditional style details It offers huge reserves of quiet power. It was given an oil and filter service by Cult Classics last year while rectifying a minor oil leak, and had an air-con re gas in summer 2020, but as the MOTs show, the car has seen little use over the last few years.
Standing beside the Phantom it's hard not to fall under its spell. The car is vast and imposing, and the air of quality and understated calm it radiates is impossible to explain. Open the door and if you hadn't already fallen under its charm the wood, leather and chrome will do the trick.
Rolls Royce as a brand is of course legendary and iconic, but before the Phantom the cars. although exquisitely built, lacked something which this brought back. It feels special, modern but timeless and classic.
This car is one of the first of the breed, but the condition is excellent, showing it to have been well cared for.
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