MilliOnAir interactive Magazine April 2017 - Page 81

This gradual, seemingly terminal decline is why the 2003 Phantom was such a significant model. It was make or break time, a defining moment. Thankfully for admirers of the marque, and BMW, Phantom was a resounding success. It brought Rolls-Royce back into the real world. Rolls-Royce could once again genuinely claim to be building the 'Best Car in the World'. And the 14 years since its launch have proven the concept with Phantom retaining its top spot with relative ease, virtually unchallenged. Those that did try simply failed.

For these reasons the ending of production of Phantom VII is worth reflecting on a while. It's not simply a case of waving goodbye to one model whilst waiting to welcome in another. Phantom VII should be celebrated for what it was, a genuine Rolls-Royce for modern times. The car that resurrected and saved the marque. Whatever the detractors have to say, their can be no denying that without the success of Phantom, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars could be in a far less prosperous position than it finds itself in now. I'll happily raise a glass in thanks to her.

Jeff Firmin


In 2003, following 5 years of development, Phantom was launched, carrying more than enough of the gene pool to be judged sufficiently worthy to wear the Spirit of Ecstasy with pride and justification. But it wasn't just about Phantom alone. The significance of Phantom went beyond the pure qualities it held as a motor car. Phantom set the stage, with it's success enabling the significant expansion of the marque through new models, including Ghost, Wraith and more recently Dawn. Recent sales figures have proven the path taken. Phantom was the flagship, the pinnacle, defining the 'New' modern Rolls-Royce. Phantom was so much more than simply the next model. Phantom was the re-birth of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

Every new Rolls-Royce model has been early awaited and always received much attention upon launch. But there are some models that stand out somewhat further. Understandably the 40/50 (later renamed Silver Ghost) was the most significant. Following Autocar acclaiming it the 'best car in the world', the legend was created. The 1955 -1966 Silver Cloud's design is likely the iconic Rolls-Royce design for many. The Silver Shadow modernised the cars significantly enough to be considered modern again in the late 1960s, driving sales to new highs throughout the 70s before subsequent models once again slowly began to fall behind the competition until by the mid 90s Rolls-Royce was surviving, just, on image.