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Car of the Month

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Strive for Perfection

Bennet: Silver Wraith


Car of the Month - May 2017
Rolls-Royce Phantom VII, 2002, #SA91568454 U121614


Rolls-Royce Phantom

The first model by Rolls-Royce Motor Cars after that brand had become part of BMW Group was launched as the Rolls-Royce Phantom. A later interim period when the designation was Phantom Series I – to mark a clear separation after the model had been up-dated and that version was marketed as Phantom Series II – ended when the manufacturer decided to list the model that had been produced from 2003 to 2017 as Rolls-Royce Phantom VII. The non-standard chassis-number of this car indicates a pre-series model. 

Chances to see Rolls-Royce Phantom with that outward appearance they had originally will dwindle rapidly. A significant feature of that car had been special light alloy wheels PAX 265 x 540 A shod with Michelin tyres PAX 265 x 790 R540A 111W. In that size they were made exclusively for the Rolls-Royce Phantom. PAX-Systems tyres by Michelin were described as a vital component providing an exceptional safety margin because they offered 'run-flat-technology'. Even with sudden loss of pressure the tyre would remain on the rim – and fully loaded the Phantom could be driven over a further distance of at least 100 miles at reduced speed, i.e. max. 50 mph.

Rolls-Royce Phantom
Light alloy wheels with Michelin tyres PAX 265 x 790 R540A 111W

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But the other side of the medal has been the special Michelin-tyres of this size PAX 265 x 790 R540A 111W were made exclusively for the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Different sizes were produced for the ultra-rare Bugatti Veyron and Michelin tyres to PAX-System were offered as an option for a few other cars but didn’t achieve a success in the market. The wheels were special, too, and required a special tyre removal machine. From August 2004 onward Rolls-Royce offered the option of  21-inch light alloy wheels with Goodyear tyres 255/50R21W on 8x21 rims at the front, and 285/45R21W on 9.5x21 rims at the rear. The Goodyear tyres were to 'run-flat-technology', of course, and can be removed at any garage and with any industry standard tyre removal machine. Inevitably that almost killed demand for Michelin's PAX-tyres to such an extend nowadays almost all the authorized dealers from the company's network seem to have rid themselves of the 'special tyre removal machine'.

Rolls-Royce Phantom

Caveat emptor, as the wise man says: Owners of the few Rolls-Royce Phantom 'Series I' or 'early Phantom VII' that are still running on Michelin tyres will have to invest in a complete new set of wheels and tyres. By doing so they’ll have to compromise as regards 'originality'.

Rolls-Royce Phantom
In 2013 U121614 was still owned by the company.