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Here’s Everything I Love About the Cheapest Rolls-Royce Phantom (and Everything I Hate)

Not only am I dumb enough to buy a heavily used 2005 Rolls-Royce Phantom with various issues, I’m also crazy enough to use it as a daily driver. My purple Phantom has been lined up with minivans for school runs, gone grocery shopping (for Grey Poupon) and embarked on various other errands. There are so many enjoyable things about daily driving a modern Rolls-Royce, but there are also plenty of negative circumstances to all this pomp.

I’ve already covered many things that I love about this Phantom in my first video — primarily, its design and build quality. It goes against the grain of modern luxury cars where technology is now the primary measurement of luxury — and it goes back to a time before infotainment systems, when the quality of the construction and materials really mattered. It’s almost like whoever designed this interior was a reanimated carpenter from the 18th century, since the interior resembles ornate cabinets from that period — with tons of little hidden surprises. You see cabinets like the Phantom’s getting 6-figure appraisals on Antiques Roadshow — but I bought my Rolls-Royce for way less than that.

For me, the styling of the Phantom is also a home run, as another usual gripe I have with modern luxury cars is that they all look the same. Instead of going with the trend of building yet another futuristic-looking pod with four wheels, Rolls-Royce stuck with tradition, giving only tasteful updates to their timeless design. A result of this is that my 2005 Phantom still looks very similar to the new one — which can cost upwards of a half-million dollars with options.

I’m also a huge fan of the huge size of this Phantom, as it is longer than a massive Ford Excursion, making it a total throwback to the long dead land-yacht era of cars. Unlike most modern luxury cars, no attention is paid to making this car feel sporty or fast: the only goal is to deliver the ultimate luxury experience. Despite its ridiculous size, the car isn’t difficult to drive at all — and the practicality from that standpoint really surprised me.

Of course, the running costs make any thoughts of this Phantom being a practical mode of transportation ridiculous, but I was still surprised a bit by the insurance quote: $1,100 for six months, which may seem low to some — but it’s actually twice the cost of my similarly-valued 1995 Ferrari F355. This is likely due to the astronomical parts prices that would easily total out the car, even in a minor accident. I shared some of these ridiculous parts prices in my previous video — such as the front window regulators for $1,300 per side — so I know I’m in for a world of hurt when other things break.

This wouldn’t be as irritating if most of these parts weren’t repurposed BMW components with an inflated price tag — but even more annoying are the obvious BMW bits found throughout the car. I can tolerate having the same key and slot as a 2005 BMW 3 Series — but do I really have to listen to the exact same chimes reminding me to buckle my seat belt? They also tried to make the gear selector look more like one from an old Rolls-Royce, but it’s made of the same cheap plastic as the BMW part that it’s borrowed from. Of course, the cherry on top to all of this is the much-maligned early iDrive system — but at least that can be hidden away.

Unfortunately, you can never hide yourself away when you’re driving a Rolls-Royce Phantom — which, depending on your personality, can either be a positive or negative attribute. I’ve never owned a car that has gotten this much attention from strangers, and especially non-car enthusiasts. I went to a local cruise night last weekend, and the car drew a crowd, including lots of women — which was weird, as I’ve never been good at attracting women under any circumstance. This may sound like a good thing — but I’m sure I’ll grow tired of all this attention and the impolite personal questions that come with it pretty quickly.

Of course, there are also the issues to deal with caused by the previous owner — such as the glue on the hood trim ruining the aftermarket wrap, and the other small mechanical problems. I’m faced with the impossible task of finding tires as well, as they don’t make this style and size of run-flat anymore. Still, I can’t complain too much, as even with the problems, I still think the purchase was very much worth it. That opinion may change in a few months — but we’ll see …

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  1. hoovie, ive found a beautiful 91 SL300 in Mount Carroll Illinois with 72k on it for $9900… you should check it out…

  2. I’m pouring out a Coors Light for the 355; I’d use something more expensive, but I’m sure Tavarish will have that thing running in a few months.

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