CNN/Money 
Personal Finance > Autos
graphic

100 years old, Rolls-Royce offers gift
Just 15 special Centenary Rolls-Royce Phantoms will be sold in the U.S. Sticker price: $351,500.
May 4, 2004: 3:42 PM EDT
By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Exactly 100 years ago today, Charles Stewart Rolls, the third son of Lord and Lady Llangattock and owner of one the earliest auto dealerships in Great Britain, met a man named Frederick Henry Royce in a hotel in Manchester, England.

graphic
graphic graphic graphic
graphic
CNNfn's Fred Katayama gives a tour of the latest Rolls-Royce Phantom, a car that costs more than the average U.S. home.

premium content Play video
(Real or Windows Media)
graphic
graphic

Royce, a telegram deliveryman's son, was an engineer. The two men had been brought together by some mutual associates because Royce, the successful founder of the publicly owned Royce Ltd. electrical equipment firm, had built some cars. Three of them to be exact.

The cars had 10-horsepower, two-liter two-cylinder engines and three-speed gearboxes. The first one cost 」138 to build and, on its first run, had gone 15 miles with no problems.

Rolls-Royce Centenary Phantom  
Rolls-Royce Centenary Phantom

Rolls agreed to sell all the cars that Royce could build. They decided they would name the cars Rolls-Royce.

To mark the anniversary, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, now owned by BMW, will make 35 centenary versions of the company's Phantom sedans. The V-12 Phantom, now in its second year of production, is the first product for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars since the marque split from Bentley. (Bentley, a brand Roll-Royce purchased in 1931, is now owned and operated by Volkswagen.)

graphic
graphic graphic graphic
graphic
See how The Money Gang anchors, Ali Velshi and Pat Kiernan, get to work.

premium content Play video
(Real or Windows Media)
graphic
graphic

A Rolls-Royce Phantom ordinarily costs about $324,000, including a $1,000 destination charge and $3,000 "gas guzzler" tax. (According to EPA data, the Phantom gets a combined city and highway mileage of about 17 miles to the gallon.) Another $27,500 will be added to that price for the 15 Centenary Phantoms slated to be sold in the United States.

Buyers will probably not be negotiating big discounts on that price, either.

"On our cars, they pretty much pay sticker price," said Bob Austin, a spokesman for Rolls-Royce in the United States.

Subtle differences

Differences between the Centenary cars and standard Phantoms will be subtle. Most notable, at least to those who follow such things, will be the "RR" badges on the car. The two silver R's will be red, rather than black, on a chrome background.

For the company's first 25 years, red was the color for the Rolls-Royce badge. The color changed in 1930 for purely cosmetic reasons, according to the company's official history, not to mark the passing of Rolls, as it is often thought. Rolls had became the first Englishman to die in an airplane crash 20 years earlier at a 1910 air show.

 
"Spirit of Ecstacy"

As on the standard Phantom, the "RR" logos on the wheel hubs are designed so that, while the wheels spin, the logo always remains upright.

The body of the cars will be painted "dark curzon," a color best describled as a dark metallic blue-gray, said Austin. The leather interior will be of a similar color. In the dashboard, the instrumentation in the Centenary Phantom will have a special anodized finish.

The retractable "Spirit of Ecstasy" sculpture atop the car's radiator housing will be made of solid sterling silver in the Centenary cars. As on the standard Phantom, the figure can be lowered out of site when the car is parked.

Among the standard features on the Phantom are umbrellas stowed in the leading edges of the rear doors. Pressing a button in the door edge gently releases an umbrella into the hand of the driver or front-seat passanger. Ninety-eight percent of Rolls-Royce buyers in the U.S. drive the cars themselves, said Austin.

Rolls-Royce sold 169 cars in the United States last year and has a goal of 400 cars for 2004, according to Austin.

"It would be safe to say that we are travelling at a rate that will exceed our 400 objective," he said.

  Rolls-Royce Phantom Bentley Arnage Maybach 57
  Rolls-Royce
Phantom
Bentley
Arnage
Maybach 57
Corporate parent BMW Volkswagen DaimlerChrysler
Price $320,000 $256,990 $305,500
Destination charge $1,000 $2,995 $2,500
Warranty (yrs./miles) 3/unlimited 3/unlimited 4/50,000
Length (inches) 230 222 225
Weight (pounds) 5,557 5,853 6,017
Engine 6.8 liter
V12
6.8 liter
V8 twin-turbo
5.5 liter
V12 twin-turbo
Transmission 6-speed
auto
4-speed
auto
5-speed
shiftable auto
Horsepower/torque
(hp/ft.-lbs.)
453/531 400/616 543/664
Luggage capacity
(cu. ft.)
16.2 13.2 17.5
Seating 5 4 4
Data: Edmunds.com

.  Top of page




  More on AUTOS
Muscle car madness?
Dodge: 'Guy cars' only
Concept cars worth watching
  TODAY'S TOP STORIES
7 things to know before the bell
SoftBank and Toyota want driverless cars to change the world
Aston Martin falls 5% in its London IPO




graphic graphic

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: テつゥ 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices テつゥ S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: テつゥ 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices テつゥ S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.