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Rossfeldt: Rolls-Royce and Bentley / From the Dawn of the 20th Century into the new Millennium




Car of the Month - August 2023
Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé, 2014,


Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé

In 2004 Rolls-Royce had introduced a 2-door convertible with four seats as an 'Experimental Car' called EX 100. The essential lines of the design had been extracted from those found on the 4-door saloon. But designed 71mm lower and with a wheelbase shortened by 165mm, the new variant stood out very clearly as having a much sportier accent. The expectation of considerably more agile dynamics nurtured by the exterior appearance was certainly fulfilled by the powertrain: under the hood was an engine with 9 litres capacity with the extravagant arrangement of 16 cylinders in V-configuration. Combined with a 6-speed automatic transmission, this offered incredible performance potential. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars did, however, express a restriction that only selected aspects would find their way into future production models.

Rolls-Royce 100 EX Engine

There was a question mark to be set as regards such limitation as indeed shortly after the presentation of the Experimental Car followed the debut of the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé. This looked like a copy of the Experimental Car in terms of external appearance and also interior design. But there was an important difference, because the factory opted on keeping the well proven V12 engine from the Phantom Saloon and decided the V16 to disappear into oblivion. Merely one V16-powered automobile was ever delivered to a customer when the company gave in to the urging of actor Rowan Atkinson.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

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The technical specifications of the Phantom Drophead Coupé and its design were considered by any other of the discerning customers to be in no way disadvantageous. In the luxury niche - which was admittedly very small by world market standards - the open-top version achieved acceptable sales figures. These remained at a satisfactory level even when the Rolls-Royce Phantom Fixed Head Coupé was introduced to the market with a certain delay; that model without doubt was a kind of 'in-house competition'. Such a background is a suitable explanation for the decision to invest in an update after several years of production and launch the 'Series II'. At a quick glance this was distinguishable from the 1st series vehicles because the front no longer had circular headlights. Instead, horizontally shaped light units were preferred.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé

Behind the scenes, the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé Series II was considered an interim model from the start of its life cycle onwards. The decision-making bodies at the manufacturer had long since given the go-ahead for the final development stages of a convertible of more compact overall dimensions. This was subsequently launched onto the market as the Rolls-Royce Dawn. From a marketing point of view, it was only logical then to cease production of the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé Series II.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe

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