Rolls-Royce: Ascending to the Zenith

Sam Kessler (Online Editor)
The esteemed marque bids farewell to its Phantom Coupé and Phantom Drophead Coupé in style

To claim that they make the best cars in the world is a pretty bold assertion, even from a marque like Rolls-Royce, but one that not all that many automotive aficionados would disagree with. Their cars are among that precious few that have been elevated above the status of mere vehicles; they are the embodiment of four-wheeled luxury.

That embodiment however has been getting a bit of a facelift. The past few years have seen Rolls-Royce contemporise themselves, starting with the phenomenal Wraith and now culminating with the sleek, modern Dawn. But what of their older models? Well, as they say, out with the old, in with the new.

The Phantom and Phantom Drophead Coupés have been among Rolls-Royce’s definitive models since their launch in 2008 and 2007 respectively. Big, bold and exquisite in every oversized curve and rare wood veneer, the pair were indisputably beautiful. Yet as the curtain rises on the new face of Rolls-Royce, their time on stage has come to a close.

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As a new generation of Phantom limousine readies itself in the wings however, the Coupé and Drophead Coupé set themselves for one last aria before retirement. They are, after all, two of Rolls-Royce’s most spectacular cars from the last decade; they deserve their last moments in the limelight. And so Rolls-Royce present their Zenith collection.

Any Rolls-Royce is an impressive feat of engineering and craftsmanship, but even they often pale in comparison to the bespoke vehicles. The marque’s bespoke service is beyond reproach, presenting their clientele with the opportunity for the car of their dreams. From finishes and veneers in any shade or material to an entire coachwork build.

That’s the level of discernment that’s gone into the creation of the Phantom Zenith collection and making these quite possibly the finest, rarest examples of their models to ever emerge from their Goodwood home. Imbued with all the world-leading performance as their previous counterparts, these last few vehicles are something extraordinary indeed.

Taking their cues from the classic Phantoms of the 1920s, the colour palette is one of classical refinement. High contrast navy and white recalls the first 1925 model while the rich combination of decadent red and black the 1929 Phantom II. Both sumptuous colourways are part of the Phantom heritage, ingrained in their DNA.

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There is a third, somewhat subtler option however that doesn’t imitate a previous Phantom but one of the few models that could be called even more iconic. A delicate blending of seashell and silver is a tribute to the 1911 1701, otherwise known as the extraordinary Silver Ghost.

Because everything is better shared, even something like a unique Rolls-Royce, each Zenith Collection vehicle comes equipped with a rear hosting area. Open up the boot to reveal the ideal accompaniment to an elegant excursion into the British countryside: a coolbox, illuminated glass shelf, champagne holder and a leather seat for two.

All of the interiors are just as exquisite as you’d expect from a collection putting itself at the peak of Rolls-Royce craftsmanship. That said, the Coupé takes things even further with a Starlight Headliner. Hundreds if not thousands of tiny lights are woven into the lining of the roof to create the impression of a nights sky filled with stars, breathtakingly beautiful.

There’s one final addition to the culmination of the Phantom’s legacy. As their assembly line gets dismantled to make way for the future of Rolls-Royce, a section of that machinery has been preserved and saved for each Zenith collection owner. A piece of rail, especially prepared to fit in your motor car or displayed in the specially-designed Z box, has been transformed into a fitting commemorate artwork for each car. Laser-etched with the co-ordinates of its location, finished with black enamel and set into polished aluminium, each is a collector’s item in its own right.

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As the marque’s Director of Design, Giles Taylor puts it, each car in the collection will be“the best of its kind; the highest standard achievable by which everything else is judged. It will be the sum of all the best features of Phantom Coupé and Phantom Drophead Coupé, with a few surprises added. We shall not look upon their like again.” 

Therein lies the core of what makes the Zenith collection so special. These cars have been a definitive force for luxury, raising the bar for manufacturers the world over and this is the last time they will ever be produced from Rolls-Royce’s Goodwood manufacture.

Even if you ignored the bespoke touches, didn’t care for the copious amounts of customisation each has gone through, nor particularly wanted that preserved piece of railing, that fact alone should be enough to warrant the name Zenith.

To make an enquiry about the Rolls-Royce Phantom Zenith collection, CLICK HERE.


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