"This is the new Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe an extraordinary name for a convertible, but with a price tag of £305,000, a kerb weight of close to three tonnes with fuel and passengers on board, and a 6.75-litre, 453bhp V12 engine under the bonnet, this is an extraordinary machine." Autocar.
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.
Rolls-Royce began work on the Phantom in 1999 under new owners BMW. Launched in 2003, it was the first Rolls-Royce developed and introduced after BMW had acquired the rights to use the Rolls-Royce name in 1998. The Phantom is credited with successfully reviving the Rolls-Royce brand and restoring British company's credibility as a maker of luxury cars. It was inevitable that a convertible version would follow, and in 2004 Rolls-Royce displayed the 100EX concept car to celebrate the company's centennial. Introduced at the North American International Auto Show in 2007, the two-door Phantom Drophead Coupé was styled along 100EX lines and built on a short-wheelbase version of the Phantom saloon's chassis platform, suitably strengthened to compensate for the absent roof. The chassis and body are mostly aluminium, the latter featuring rear-hinged doors, while the convertible top - the largest on a European car could be raised in only 25 seconds.
This new generation of Phantoms was indeed 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. These Phantom Drophead 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.
Rolls-Royce's famed reputation for silence in operation was continued with the Phantom Drophead Coupé. "The starter whirs seamlessly and the V12 murmurs into life," declared Autocar. "In other guises V12 noises are used to convey performance potential, but this one is built for extreme quietness. Only at 5000rpm-plus do you hear a stirring engine note, but even then it's faint". Despite the car's size and weight, the power assisted steering was found to require only fingertip control at low speeds. Autocar again: "At the other end of the cornering spectrum - when you're going for it a bit - there's plenty of grip wet or dry... The brakes are very powerful, too...
"What you'll quickly learn is to modify your attitude, to enjoy that enormous power reserve where appropriate, but at all times to luxuriate in this car's smoothness, quietude and opulence the very things for which the Phantom Drophead owner pays the price of a very decent suburban house."
Finished in the most attractive black diamond metallic and silver with cream hide leather interior, this beautiful example has had two previous keepers and comes with Rolls-Royce London service history, there being five stamps in the service booklet, the most recent dated 2018 at 19,995 miles. The current odometer reading is 20,800 miles and the car also comes with a V5C Registration Certificate and MoT to June 2020.