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Rolls-Royce celebrates 500th Phantom

Employees at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars were in celebratory mood today as they marked the completion of the 500th Phantom to be built at their home in Goodwood.

Everyone at the manufacturing plant and head office gathered together for a group photograph alongside the 500th Phantom. Employees then put healthy-eating new-year's resolutions aside and tucked into a huge cake, made especially for the occasion.

Tony Gott, Chairman and Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said; "It has been an incredible 12 months for everyone at Goodwood. The team has produced tremendous results in an extraordinarily short space of time and we are all rightly proud of what has been achieved. We are now looking forward to another successful and exciting year."

The Phantom was unveiled for the first time at Goodwood in January 2003. In the following 12 months' production at the state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Goodwood was slowly ramped up from the initial rate of one car per fortnight. By November last year the plant was operating to schedule and at the full running rate of five cars per day. Around 1,000 Phantoms a year will be built at Goodwood on average over the life-cycle of the car.

2004 is the Centenary Year of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. On 4 May 1904 in Manchester, England Henry Royce met Charles Rolls in the Midland Hotel and Royce presented a motor car he had developed. Rolls was impressed, the two gentlemen decided to join forces and an engineering legend was born.

The centenary will be celebrated with a programme of events throughout the year, beginning with a world tour organised by the Rolls-Royce owners' and enthusiasts' clubs. The tour starts in New Zealand at the end of January and will include Australasia, Europe and the United States, finishing at Pebble Beach, California in August. Other events will be announced as the year unfolds.

Text/Photos: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars