MilliOnAir interactive Magazine April 2017 - Page 80

The final Rolls-Royce Phantom VII

The final Rolls-Royce Phantom VII rolled off the production line several weeks ago, some 14 years since the first one left Goodwood's production line. Phantom was the first of the illustrious marque's models launched under BMW's ownership. Much has been voiced about the world's most iconic luxury car maker falling into foreign hands, plenty of it less than positive. However, there is no denying that essential new life was injected into the marque, resurrecting it from the embers of what had once been so glorious.

Under the guiding hand of its new parent, the essential modernisation of the marque began with Phantom, an enormously imposing car, both in terms of it's very significant proportions and typically indulgent luxury. It's significance registered on the scales almost as heavily as that of those early models that cemented the Rolls-Royce legend, the Silver Ghost and the Phantom. So supreme was this first model to leave the new home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood, a purpose built state of the art facility, that immediately upon it's launch, the Phantom reinstated Rolls-Royce as the pinnacle of luxury car makers. After years of relative decline, Rolls-Royce motor cars was once again riding high.

Despite the detractors of this new, modern Rolls-Royce, with its obvious German design influence, there can be no doubt it will be recorded as one of the most significant models in the marques history. Phantom VII's importance in the brand's survival cannot be questioned. Had Phantom VII not been conceived, rolled off the production line and convincingly delivered on it's promise, one would have to question where Rolls-Royce motors cars would be today. Indeed would it still be with us at all? Prior to BMW taking ownership the marque had been in decline for several decades as the unrivalled hand-crafted skill that had led to the creation of such early automotive masterpieces of unparalleled quality was slowly being eroded by technological advances. The automotive world was changing fast and Rolls-Royce was falling behind, increasingly relying on past glories to maintain its status. In reality it no longer built the best cars in the world. By the late 90s the game was up. VW and BMW fought bitterly for control. Ultimately BMW assumed control of Rolls-Royce (Motor Cars) with VW taking Bentley.