Car Review: 2013 Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead
May 24, 2013 7:09 PM   Subscribe

 
holy cocking fuck that is the ugliest car i've seen in my life
posted by Sebmojo at 7:14 PM on May 24, 2013 [8 favorites]


That looks like it can get three hundred hectares on a single tank of kerosene.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:19 PM on May 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


I drew that exact car on a Denny's menu when I was four.
posted by The White Hat at 7:20 PM on May 24, 2013 [19 favorites]


It's... so... boring. It's a shoebox. It's an '86 Lincoln Mk VII convertible. No, worse, the nose isn't as appealing.

Compare with a much cheaper yet far more exclusive '53 Buick Skylark.

Hand a quarter mil to a car customizer, and he'll retrofit in airbags and a humidor and a 900hp motor.

This is excess - it's ugly and stupid and overpriced for the sake of being overpriced, and those buying it know it's ugly and stupid and overpriced for the sake of being overpriced. Anyone buying one of these is literally lighting cigars with 500 euro notes.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:22 PM on May 24, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ye gods that is an ugly thing.
posted by egypturnash at 7:23 PM on May 24, 2013


Jeremy Clarkson will love this.
posted by figurant at 7:25 PM on May 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


The new Schick Electric Razor Car!
posted by The Whelk at 7:27 PM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


It comes with a 26 gallon tank; that won't get you very far at 19mpg highway, 11mpg city, 3mpg crushing the dreams of the middle class.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:28 PM on May 24, 2013 [5 favorites]


Not only can I pay for it, but I can keep paying for it.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:36 PM on May 24, 2013


That dashboard looks like it's half finished. Actually, everything about that car looks like they didn't quite finish what they started.
posted by sacrifix at 7:37 PM on May 24, 2013


Actually, everything about that car looks like they didn't quite finish what they started.

Given what can be seen, I think they should be praised for their restraint.
posted by Dark Messiah at 7:38 PM on May 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


It took me something like four attempts to get past the first sentence and a half. I read:
When the call came in, I had shit on my hands.
It didn't even occur to me that he meant "At that time, there were feces on my hands"; instead, I parsed it as "At that time, I had recently defecated on my hands". I stared at the sentence, wondering why on earth he had defecated on his hands. Then I finally gave up on trying to imagine why he had done such a thing, and went on to the next sentence:
I’m speaking literally here
"OK," I thought, "wait a minute here: He is now claiming that he literally defecated on his hands." I stared at that half-sentence for a while, then tried starting over, going back to:
When the call came in, I had shit on my hands.
I repeated this loop several times before finally giving up and moving on to the next sentence, wherein the baby daughter was mentioned.
posted by Flunkie at 7:40 PM on May 24, 2013 [18 favorites]


Can I fill it with water and make a car pool?
posted by not_on_display at 7:43 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't quite understand a Rolls-Royce where the focus is on the front seats. That's where the chauffeur goes.
posted by grudgebgon at 7:46 PM on May 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


Homer Simpson designed a better looking car
posted by Renoroc at 7:50 PM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sigh.
posted by The Whelk at 7:54 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


That was some tortured writing. I can tell because I felt tortured while reading it.
posted by 3.2.3 at 7:54 PM on May 24, 2013 [6 favorites]


Yeah, but a few scattered gems made it worthwhile.

"Apply some gentle pressure with your right foot and feel the nose lift slightly – both yours and the car’s. There’s a sense of great inertia, of hundreds of years of privilege and heritage, a great heavy, ponderous mass like a post-lunch House of Lords."
posted by MrVisible at 8:03 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


After citing Gatsby, I halfway expected him to run down the family crossing the street. I am sure he thought about it, if only in retrospect.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:10 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


The front looks like it was designed for Cars III, assuming Disney assigned that one to the straight-to-DVD team. That side panel treatment in particular is just gratuitous WTF, a random unpleasing exercise in making it not just flat or curved. It brings to mind Giorgetto Giugiaro on first seeing the Triumph TR7. After wordlessly walking around it he's supposed to have said, "My God! They've done it to the other side as well!"
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:12 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


Done. This is all ordering off the menu; if it’s physically possible, RR’s engineers will have a go at it.

Ditch the V12 engine. Replace the "solid stainless steel grid" with magnesium alloy. Throw in some super-high-cap super-fast-recharge batteries and uber-high-torque electric motors in the wheel hubs. Give the wheels more road-contact surface area.

Belay my second request; replace the entire body with one from The Welk's Bugatti Royale made from modern lightweight and safer materials.
posted by porpoise at 8:24 PM on May 24, 2013


That is just shockingly ugly. And I say this as someone who likes Morgans. The dash looks like a mix of different Lego kits.

Also, pretty damn funny for a car column.
posted by rock swoon has no past at 8:24 PM on May 24, 2013


overpriced for the sake of being overpriced

That's the whole point of veblen goods, it has to be overpriced or it won't work!
posted by Meatbomb at 8:28 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I appreciate the headlight update, and I think the horizontal treatment fits the front end. It's beyond me why they chose the TWO different lines for the door and whatever flame surfaced accent line that is ahead of it on the front wings. It's terrible. Flatten that out and make it boxy, straight and purposeful. You shouldn't reference the Silver Shadow or Cloud fender like that. As it stands, as much as I appreciate the craftsmanship that comes from Goodwood and how enjoyable Rollers are to drive, this design is finished. It's imitation at the hands of the Chrysler 300 has ruined the entire visual language for me.
posted by Bohemia Mountain at 8:30 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Actually, the best car available right now is the Tesla. Beautiful, 7 passenger sport sedan, jaw dropping performance for something under six figures, runs on electricity and will likely be the first self-driving car through factory upgrades once Elon Musk has regulatory and insurance backing. Tesla is one battery breakthrough away from completely ruling the automotive world.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:32 PM on May 24, 2013 [9 favorites]


Jeremy Clarkson James May will love this.

FTFY.
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:37 PM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you get one, I'm sure your decoy double will enjoy cruising around in it while you arrive more discreetly in your nondescript, bulletproof SUV.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:39 PM on May 24, 2013


> Sigh.

Seriously. Late 20s, early 30s car style was imprinted on me at a young age. This was "the car" at my grandparents house (now at my parents).

I also think the Cord 812 is seriously one of the most badass cars ever.
posted by mrzarquon at 8:41 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's no 6000 SUX.
posted by benzenedream at 8:42 PM on May 24, 2013


holy cocking fuck that is the ugliest car i've seen in my life

The rich don't want to look good, they want to get noticed. Mission accomplished.
posted by klanawa at 8:48 PM on May 24, 2013


I'm surprised nobody's pointed out that he seems to have misunderstood, or perhaps not even read firsthand, The Time Machine. The Eloi were the beautiful people, but in the physical sense only. They were powerless cattle who owned nothing, controlled nothing and understood nothing. The Morlocks were their far more advanced masters, who fed on them.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:52 PM on May 24, 2013 [12 favorites]


It seems like some of you don't know that the Jonckheere Coupe is a thing.

Now you know about the Jonckheere Coupe.
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 8:54 PM on May 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't think you can legally buy that car unless you are Batman, like it's a term of the buying contract, must have x dollars, must be Batman.
posted by The Whelk at 9:01 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I need to recalibrate, because I think the car is remarkably beautiful and the review is well done. I've got to learn to get my nerd rage meter turned up quicker. The second to last paragraph is succinct and accurate, I love it.

If the 1% is going to continue to exist, and they are, I far prefer them spending their ill gotten cash on things of beauty like this rather than hideous faux Tuscan mansions. At least this I can appreciate, opposed to terrible architecture that only looks good when its on fire.
posted by Keith Talent at 9:36 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised nobody's pointed out that he seems to have misunderstood, or perhaps not even read firsthand, The Time Machine.

I've read it. Apparently you didn't get the irony.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:42 PM on May 24, 2013


Well I think it looks nice.
posted by wayland at 9:45 PM on May 24, 2013


I've read it. Apparently you didn't get the irony.

Do go on, I'm intrigued. He pretty much explains his own jokes throughout and is otherwise blunt-instrument funny, so if he broke unsubtle form with a vengeance in that one spot at the risk of looking like he doesn't understand his own similes, I'd be curious to know what the secret message to the truly insightful was.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:14 PM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Doesn't this make it extremely hard for them to review anything owned by VW now?
posted by Brocktoon at 10:26 PM on May 24, 2013


As far as the car's looks, it's not ugly because the car is ugly, I think; it's ugly because they did the car wrong. I've seen a properly specced Phantom Drophead: cream or silver paint, tan or white leather, and teak decking behind the rear seats. It's already a land yacht, and acknowledging the pantomime makes it gorgeous. It's my second favorite ridiculous convertible, after the Nissan Murano Crosscabriolet.
posted by Punkey at 10:33 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


I notice that the review is from Vancouver BC, so I predict you will soon see that exact car rolling around town being driven by its new 18 year old owner, with a green N sticker on the back.
posted by thewalrus at 10:39 PM on May 24, 2013 [3 favorites]


Macaleer is the auto correspondent for the North Shore News - a North/West Vancouver free paper - amongst other roles. He seems to be getting about a bit these days, I think he's a pretty decent writer as auto writers go, quite enjoyed some of his pieces for the local rag. Certainly the most thoughtful writer on The Truth About Cars, who in general seem to have adopted a Fox News like editorial stance despite being edited by a twenty-something Canadian. It's always quite amusing to see how they will try to find some way to spin any news about Tesla, no matter how positive, in a negative light.
posted by pascal at 10:57 PM on May 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


To those who don't appreciate the faux twee so-over "being denied entry into the middle class," the article links to an article in Macleans about how the middle class is being gutted in Canada (as it is in many parts of the world).

Plus, the writer has a kid. In Vancouver. There's some mind-controlling pollen or something here that weirds parents' brains.
posted by porpoise at 11:32 PM on May 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


re:I had shit on my hands being read as 'I had recently defecated'

I have relatives who would weep at this example of the descriptive precision lost as irregular verbs (in this case 'shat') are crushed beneath the boot of uniformity.

and Don't mention the whole dis-interested v uninterested thing or you'll ruin christmas again
posted by compound eye at 1:18 AM on May 25, 2013 [8 favorites]


Today I shit upon the memories of a dozen generations of my ancestors.
Yesterday I shat upon the memories of a dozen generations of my ancestors.
I have shut upon the memories of a dozen generations of my ancestors frequently throughout the years.

Stay strong, strong verbs.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 2:19 AM on May 25, 2013


TTAC has always been a libertarian/randian wank fest, with the occasional OK bit of writing thrown in by an actual human.
posted by maxwelton at 2:43 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Welcome to automotive journalism as a whole. It's been that way for as long as I've been reading car magazines, from the middle school library at lunch right down to last night on the internet.
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:09 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm reminded of why, exactly, my once-feverish auto
posted by sonascope at 3:39 AM on May 25, 2013


Shit.
What?
Rollers.
No!
Yeah.
Shit!
posted by seanmpuckett at 3:41 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Crap, accidentally posted in mid-thought.


I'm reminded why, exactly, my once-feverish automania has been dulled in recent years, which is that grand, overbearing visions of auto design used to be not just the province of the glitterati at the top of the one percent, but were spread throughout the realm of design. We've always been a lot of of eager, sweaty, sticky-handed little boys, excitedly pinning that creased foldout of a Countach to our bedroom walls (well, my poster was of the TGV, but I've been a bit of a Francophile for a while), but even my beloved caterwauling televisual mess, Top Gear, has begun to exhaust me with the celebration of the supposed automotive nirvana at the top of the range (though, notably, Jezza adores the Fiat 500 TwinAir, so there is hope).

When all the engineering is aimed at delighting the super-rich and the Honda Civic has become a fat, wallowy, expensive statement of dullness, the world has gone off its axles.

There was a time when a car company would internally refer to a project like the Citroën DS as the "Voiture à Grande Diffusion" (car for mass production) and would then produce something so brain-meltingly distinct that it's never been bettered for sheer engineering flip-out wildness. Back in the last century, it was still possible to produce something as what Dante Giacosa created for the masses in Italy with the glorious little Nuova 500, and be both egalitarian and joyfully avant garde. Now, we live in the new caste system, in which we're all supposed to live out our wretched lives aspiring to join the upper echelon while keeping our heads down, saying "yes, you're quite right" to bad boss after bad boss, in the hopes of one day joining the bright world of the future that's always just out of reach.

Where Issigonis once penned the Mini with the notion that great design could be a great thing even in the mass market, we're all concentrated solely on the stratosphere, still following Reagan's bullshit that, quiet down, son—all that wonderful technology is eventually going to trickle down to your paltry level.

And so we end up here, not with a boot stamping on a face forever, but with a Corolla parked outside forever, a wad of glum automotive chewing gum dutifully being dutiful without any hope of ever producing a scrap of delight or wonder, there to deliver us to our prairie dog town careers and our chore-filled lives, and we posit incredulous queries in the media as to why the youth of America don't seem to be all that excited to drive and own cars anymore.

Probably for the best.
posted by sonascope at 4:11 AM on May 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


Sonascope, they make them. We just don't get the best of them in the US (the Alfa Romeo MiTo, while not the best car ever, certainly is stunningly beautiful for a B-segment car and their upcoming lineup - the hatchback Giulietta and full-size Giulia as well as the new Spider - will be coming to the US, and Renault makes very attractive small cars), although that is changing.

The new Ford lineup is finally getting the excitingly-styled Kinetic design language that Ford of Europe has been enjoying for years with the new Focus, Fiesta and Fusion (the Fusion being basically just a rebadged Mondeo, a car attractive enough to be a Bond car in Casino Royale without people batting an eye), and they handle pretty damn well too. The VW GTI has been holding the Germanic side of well-priced performance, comfort and design down very capably since the Mk5, and the upcoming Mk7 is supposedly even better and certainly looks the part. And, like you mentioned, the Fiat 500 is already here and is quite a car, especially in Abarth trim.

Now, I wouldn't put them in the same class as a design classic like the DS, but they're certainly not unattractive.
posted by Punkey at 4:34 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I once did some chauffeuring in a 1959 Rolls, complete with right hand drive and an egg timer for a turn signal. Occasionally I would flip through the owners manual. When it came to mechanical specifications, horsepower was simply listed as adequate...
posted by jim in austin at 6:27 AM on May 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


When you bought a Pierce Arrow, back in the day, the mechanic came with the car (and stayed for a year). Everything else seems a step down from that.
posted by newdaddy at 7:00 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sonascope, I'm with you, but I think the kind of car design you're talking about is one of the fantastic dreams that recedes along with the likelihood that everyman will one day own a tiny barony in the woods outside of a gleaming Modern city. The car is an appliance, a box with four wheels under it, and in my world, that box is painted white and has a Frigidaire badge.
posted by sneebler at 7:44 AM on May 25, 2013


Tesla is one battery breakthrough away from completely ruling the automotive world.

Well, one battery breakthrough and a couple of dozen state legislature deals - the resistance to their showroom-and-order business model from entrenched car dealers is not a trivial obstacle to overcome.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:45 AM on May 25, 2013


sonascope, the new fords, kias, and hyundais are all pretty sharp, IMO.
posted by kavasa at 7:46 AM on May 25, 2013


Not a word about armaments or armor plating?
posted by spitbull at 8:17 AM on May 25, 2013


This para, while overwrought for the context, still impresses:


And, at the very same time, thousands of miles away, the thump of industrial looms sends sand scurrying from a fresh crack in the foundation of a Bangladeshi garment factory; gas-flares flicker weakly in the poisonous miasma of a Nigerian swamp; a blind, mindless grey dragon receives the wrong instructions and pivots on kevlar wings to vomit fire and death into an Afghani wedding – the brief, bright, burning flash of Hellfire rockets turning love and hope and joy and life into heaps of drifting ash.


Also I got an ad for a Dodge RAM pickup. Just as big, much more useful.
posted by spitbull at 8:21 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rolls and, to a lesser extent, Bentley have lost their way of late in the design stakes. I can't recall any of them over the last 2 decades that have been attractive cars to look at unless you count the Le Mans racing cars. There's good design out there, just not wearing these badges.

For my personal taste, the new Cayman is the shape a Porsche should be, I like the Hyundai Veloster as a bold step for a company that was making tupperware cars only 5 years ago. The new Mazda and Subaru outlines are much improved as well. Also, if someone were to park an Audi S5/7 on my drive after a lottery win, I wouldn't say no.
posted by arcticseal at 8:35 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tagged as BMW, Convertibles, Help Help I'm Being Repressed, Phantom, Rolls-Royce, Wealth
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:57 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for reminding me why I should be reading TTAC more often:

This machine glides like a dowager Duchess yet accelerates like Prince Phillip hearing a liquor cabinet open.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:07 AM on May 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


First thought on seeing the pictures: "Well that's boring; it looks like somebody took a Chrysler 300 and sharpened all the corners."

When someone uses the phrase "shit a brick", I think this might be the brick they're talking about.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:54 AM on May 25, 2013


When the call came in, I had shit on my hands.

I've got it. It's a more subtle Holy Grail reference than the others: "Must be a king. He hasn't got shit all over him." He's saying that in preparation for this piece, he had taken a dump in his hands in order to smear it all over himself as a signifier that he's not a king but an ordinary man who will be reviewing this car from a perspective that you and I, the metaphorically dung-caked masses, can understand. Now that's commitment, people.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:28 AM on May 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Only 38 metaphors to the gallon!
posted by jquinby at 2:17 PM on May 25, 2013


When I read "had shit on my hands" many possibilities emerged but I definitely leaned towards the noun, whether feces or "trouble / unpleasantness," but not wanting to be like my mom and son who always ask "why are they doing that?" during movies before it's been explained, I just kept going and enjoyed myself overall.
posted by lordaych at 4:40 PM on May 25, 2013




Morlocks ate the rich, turning the tables, generation after generation. Wikipedia
posted by lordaych at 8:10 PM on May 25, 2013


Personally, I think Lexus and Infiniti cars pretty much univerally rule the roost. The German cars look good, and Detroit is getting better, but I compare my experience with Honda and others' experience with Toyota and Nissan to those of my acquaintance who've bought domestic, Volkswagen, Audi, and Benz—and there's just no competition.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:42 PM on May 25, 2013


I don't really think it looks that bad. Pretty dull, but it's understated. If you don't like the interior, it's all custom anyway, you can make it look however you want. I think it looks better then proletariat-mobiles like the Chevy Cruze or a Kia Soul. I don't think vehicle appearance is really that closely related to cost. You can find nice cars that are cheap as well. Saabs and Volvos tend to be very understated as well.
Tesla is one battery breakthrough away from completely ruling the automotive world.
Well, one battery breakthrough and a couple of dozen state legislature deals - the resistance to their showroom-and-order business model from entrenched car dealers is not a trivial obstacle to overcome.
Tesla is already ruling it's market segment. The model-S is outselling the S-Class and BMW seven series.

Also, there is nothing wrong with the battery, it's fine. You can drive up and down the east and west coast for free with just a few stops for a 30 minute charge at Tesla's free charging stations, and you'll be able to drive cross country/cross Canada in a few years.

The battery is expensive, though, which puts a lower bound on the price of the car. We'll have to see what they come up with after the model-X as far as a price point for their cheaper car.
runs on electricity and will likely be the first self-driving car through factory upgrades once Elon Musk has regulatory and insurance backing.


Musk said he was just speaking off the cuff when someone asked him about driverless systems and that they're not actively working on the technology at Tesla. He's also said he doesn't like Google's laser system (which right now costs more then a Model S)
And so we end up here, not with a boot stamping on a face forever, but with a Corolla parked outside forever, a wad of glum automotive chewing gum dutifully being dutiful without any hope of ever producing a scrap of delight or wonder, there to deliver us to our prairie dog town careers and our chore-filled lives, and we posit incredulous queries in the media as to why the youth of America don't seem to be all that excited to drive and own cars anymore.
I think car companies gave up making cheap sports cars for the sake of SUVs for a while, but that seems to be braking a bit. There's the Subaru-BRZ/Scion-FRS, and sporty versions of the ford Fiesta and Focus. Auto reviewers seem to like them.
posted by delmoi at 10:04 PM on May 25, 2013


Rolls Royce has been working on an electric car for at least two years, the 102EX.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 6:27 AM on May 26, 2013


Rolls Royce has been working on an electric car for at least two years, the 102EX.

Personal coal-fired electric power plant not included.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:47 AM on May 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


The ugliest car you've ever seen? Really? I don't think it looks that incredibly different than a Chrysler 300 (perhaps a 300 with a less obnoxious grille on the front). You all have seen the Pontiac Aztek and the Pontiac Trans Sport right?
posted by mrzer0 at 6:23 PM on May 26, 2013


Rolls Royce has been working on an electric car for at least two years, the 102EX.

Personal coal-fired electric power plant not included.


We have a pretty fair number of free charging stations around town. I shudder to imagine the popular reaction to seeing one of these parked in one.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:21 PM on May 26, 2013


Free charging? That defeats the whole point of a Rolls. You could get a thermoelectric power generator and use it to create electricity from burning hundred dollar bills.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:48 PM on May 26, 2013


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