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A bland, rich-looking car rolls into Fairview

July 17, 2015

If you want a Rolls Royce with the signature grille that evokes the classical pediment-and-column bank facade and has all the cool arrogance of the old duffer that owns the bank, then you want the Rolls Royce Phantom — that’s the big Rolls that says that you rolls with money!

You probably don’t want the one that I saw parked on Alder Street yesterday morning. That seems to have been a Rolls Royce Ghost — by all appearances the British car maker’s entry-level budget model.

The descriptive phrase “shiny bread maker” springs to mind when looking at the Ghost, which, come to think of it, is a apt description of the sort of craven young nouveau riche that the Ghost may be designed to appeal to.

In case you’re curious what the price of such bespoke British automotive exclusivity is, a 2014 Rolls Royce Phantom sedan, suicide doors and all, will set you back about CDN$526,341, while a 2014 Ghost is only $344,706 and change. But you know what they say about having to ask the price of a Rolls.

One has to wonder why such a physical, in-your-face, symbol of capitalism as a Rolls Royce has almost always been named after the most insubstantial and illusory of phenomenon: dawn, spirits, clouds, shadows, ghosts, phantoms, wraiths (and one French bog).

Is this a sly tribute to the metaphorical invisible hand of the market that is believed to hand you the keys to such a car?

If there has never been a Rolls Royce Spectre, it can only be thanks to the opening line of Karl Marx’s 1848 Communist Manifesto.

The flying lady has new spring in her step

rolls-01

You can’t tell if she’s wearing Nike runners or not.

The other question that occurred to me about the Rolls Royce Ghost that I saw on Wednesday, was how that famous “Spirit of Ecstasy” hood ornament has managed to hang on, decades after safety standards largely did away with such decorative projections because of the unnecessary lethality that they added to collisions between automobiles and pedestrians.

The answer was that  the modern 7.62 centimetre-high ornament (since 2003) has been mounted on a spring-loaded mechanism designed to retract instantly into the radiator shell when struck from any direction. Also the driver can raise and lower the emblem at the press of a button.

I can find nothing to substantiate rumours that the newest Rolls Royce models come with sophisticated anti-collision features and that the car literally recoils from coming in contact with poor people (i.e., people not in a Rolls Royce). Click the images to enlarge them.

From → Automobiles, Fairview

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