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In this, the centennial anniversary for Rolls-Royce, one might have thought a bigger-than-life intro might have been considered for this year's Frankfurt Auto Show. The company is on a bit of a, well, roll, with sales of both Phantom and Ghost keeping the guys and gals at Goodwood more than busy. And with the order books full, it's easy to understand the reduced need for really big news. But then, with the order books full, what better time for the big news? They might phrase it thusly: "This year, we celebrate one hundred years of producing the Standard of the World. And to begin our second hundred years, we're proud to announce?"

Rowan Atkinson, better known to PBS viewers as Mr. Bean, was front and center at the Rolls-Royce stand. And happily, Mr. Atkinson was accompanied by a special Phantom Coupe, powered by a one-off V16 engine. The project was reportedly considered for production, but ultimately came up short relative to maintaining the status quo. The idea lingered sufficiently long, however, in the corporate consciousness to be commissioned for Mr. Atkinson's latest film, Johnny English Reborn.

And while we can't comment on the film's prospects, the V16 Phantom Coupe is an absolutely splendid example of the 'more is more' automotive genre. With 'just' 453 horsepower propelling some 5,800 pounds, today's standard Phantom might outrun the Queen Mother, but might have trouble keeping up with the Royal Sister, Pippa. But popping in a V16 takes things to a whole new level.

Regardless of Rolls' future product direction, we're reasonably sure the company will continue to offer ultra-luxurious conveyances for Kings and Queens and those who can afford to live like one - even Mr. Bean.


See more coverage of the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show.


DAVID BOLDT began his automotive career in BMW and Saab showrooms in the 1980s, and he moved to automotive journalism in 1993. David has written for a variety of regional and national publications, and prior to joining AutoTrader, he managed media relations for a Japanese OEM.
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