Vickers' controversial sale of its Rolls-Royce and Bentley brands in 1997, although acrimonious at the time, allowed the two marques to reaffirm their traditional roles in separate ownership: Rolls-Royce continuing to provide the ultimate in luxurious motoring for the plutocracy under BMW's stewardship, with Volkswagen-owned Bentley catering for the wealthy owner-driver with sporting inclinations. Concluded in 1998, the deal left VW in control of the Crewe factory and it was not until January 2003 that Rolls-Royce would be officially re-established at its new home close to Goodwood in Sussex.
When Rolls-Royce began work on the Phantom in 1999, new owners BMW took the project very seriously: looking at the marque's history and speaking with owners, collectors, dealers, and the R-REC to fully understand the task that lay ahead in creating a new series of models. Previously in charge of BMW's Formula 1 operations, Karl Heinz Kalbfell was appointed Project Manager and built a formidable team around him. Ian Cameron, a highly intellectual yet modest man, was chosen as director of the design team. Ian set up his design studio just off London's Hyde Park, in what previously had been a bank. Ian and his young team quickly set to work to create the first new Phantom in over 40 years. And what a magnificent job they did.
This new generation of Phantoms was a huge success, being highly acclaimed by the motoring press, dealers, and, most importantly, the customers. Once again Rolls-Royce Motor Cars had produced the pinnacle of luxury motoring. Ian Cameron retired from Rolls-Royce in 2012 after securing the foundations of the new brand. During his tenure he launched the Phantom Saloon, Drophead and Coupé models, plus the new Ghost and the Wraith in both Coupé and Drophead variants. These Phantom Coupés are rated among the very best, boasting a V12 engine of almost complete silence yet capable of producing 453bhp and so much torque that the mid-range acceleration is mind boggling.
"Refinement levels are extraordinary this is easily the quietest car we've ever tested, Phantom saloon excepted" declared Car magazine. "Sitting in the Rolls-Royce at idle is like relaxing in a hermetically sealed vault. And that refinement never fades. It may have 2590kg to haul around but performance from the 6749cc V12 is never anything but silken, swift and silent. With 453bhp at 5350rpm and a hefty 531lb ft of torque at 3500rpm, the Phantom flows along with effortless ease, six-speed transmission slipping imperceptible between ratios."
For a vehicle of its dimensions and weight, the Phantom Coupé was found to possess exemplary body control when driven hard: "... on a winding A-road the Coupé flows along far more quickly and cleanly that you'd anticipate. Compared to the saloon, the Coupé gets uprated suspension and a tweaked steering set-up. It works very well the car feeling surprisingly alert and keen to change direction despite its size and weight. Lovely brakes too. The ride quality is equally astounding."
The Phantom Coupe was first registered to Rolls-Royce Motor Company here in the UK, although records show servicing being carried out in Germany and Monaco during use for publicity purposes. Thereafter, this beautiful left-hand drive example has had only one private owner (the current vendor) who purchased the car in 2012.
This Phantom Coupé is finished in the most attractive Sable Pearl Metallic with Parchment hide upholstery and Burgundy accents but, of course, the 'Starlight' headlining is the interior's most stunning feature. The inventory of special features is too long to list here, but a few worthy of note are the brushed aluminium windscreen surround, bonnet and grille surround, the 21" star wheels, and the exposed exhaust pipes.
The car comes complete with its original book pack, including the stamped service booklet recording servicing carried out by Rolls-Royce. Presented in the best possible order, this much loved Phantom Coupe is offered from a private collection of Rolls-Royces and Bentleys from all periods. Making way for the new line of Rolls-Royces, the Phantom Coupe ceased production in 2017 and has become increasingly collectible since, with this example being one of very few currently available for purchase worldwide.