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The Rolls-Rpyce Phantom Drophead Coupe

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé
(2007 onward)

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

When in 2004 Rolls-Royce celebrated their 100th Anniversary a special highlight had been the launch of the Rolls-Royce 100 EX Centenary at the Geneva Motor Show. This 100 EX Centenary was a drophead coupé of opulent dimensions that provided seats for driver and three passengers. Following the debut of this Concept Car the company advised they were considering to start at some later stage production of a model developed from that Concept Car.

Some three years had passed before the new Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé entered the market and although it obviously was based on the Concept Car many modifications showed this to be particularly different. In the meantime the specially erected factory at Goodwood in the South of England had been used for manufacturing the Rolls-Royce Phantom, a four door saloon. Sales figures for that model had been significantly low when compared to what had been anticipated at start of production and could hardly have been a source of profit for the parent company BMW. It had been no mystery that there was need to extend the model-range to generate sufficient revenue to cover the cost of the Goodwood investment. This was, of course, a key factor for the economic future of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

The Phantom's spaceframe construction facilitated to develop a different model. Simply by changing dimensions of certain components a spaceframe can be altered relatively quick. Nonetheless it is no simple task to gain the load-bearing strength that is necessary for a roofless car. There could be no doubt that some owners' driving attitudes would be more agile than when behind the steering wheel of the large formal saloon. Rear hinged doors are a remarkable feature of the Phantom Drophead Coupé – and had been a feature of the Concept Car 100 EX Centenary, too. Such doors over a long period were burdened with the epitaph 'Suicide Doors', a reflection of the fact that doors inadvertently opened during driving could rarely be shut again; usually flung fully open from wind-pressure with dangerous results for the car's occupants. The manufacturer guaranteed that on the new model their highly sophisticated door-locking mechanism would prevent any chance for such a problem ever to occur.

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Serbian-born Marek Djordjevic was responsible exterior designer on this model. His design showed a silhouette with a rise in the waistline over the rear wheels and that was a faint reminiscence of the legendary Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible. A front view revealed the radiator set a considerable angle and a headlamp-layout not much different from that of the Rolls-Royce Phantom; and that had not met confirmed acceptance but caused controversial comments. A two-piece bootlid was a design-peculiarity worth a note. The lower part could be folded down to a horizontal position although it is hard to fathom that might be used like similar features on pre-war cars, i.e. to carry additional luggage.

Technical Data:
12-cylinder-engine with 60 degree V-configuration, four valves per cylinder, bore x stroke 84.6mm x 92mm (3.33in x 3.63in), capacity 6,749 cc (411.8cu in); digital engine control, SAE 453bhp at 5350rpm (DIN 460hp/338KW at 5,350rpm), max torque 531 lb ft (720Nm) at 3,500 rpm; ZF6HP32 6-speed automatic gearbox; independent suspension front and rear, ventilated disc brakes (diameter front 374mm, rear 370mm), anti locking device ; wheelbase 130,7in (3,320mm); height 62.2in (1,581mm), width 78.2in (1,987mm), overall length 220.8in (5,609mm); Michelin tyres PAX265x790 R540 A 11W on light alloy wheels PAX265x540A ALU (optional tyre size: front Goodyear EMT 255/50R21 106W on alloy wheels 8x21 and rear Goodyear EMT 285/45R21 109W on alloy wheels 9.5x21 rims at the rear; max. speed 149mph (240km/h); 0-60mph 5.7 sec (0-100 km/h 5.9sec)

Obviously a lot of components and features from the experimental car had been copied for the new convertible but neither the power-plant nor a derivative of the V16-9 litre-engine was transferred. The powertrain of the Phantom Drophead Coupé was the familiar combination of the V12-6.75 litre-engine and 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé

(2 Photos courtesy of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars)

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