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Samizdata scary car of the day

I try to carry a digital camera with me at all times. Here is a reason why, which I happened to encounter this afternoon in Victoria Street. It was a seriously cool version of the latest Rolls Royce, which looked to me like it was a particularly scary member of the Wehrmacht:


I particularly liked the intimidating hubcaps, so often an opportunity for gold or silver glitter on cars like this, but here, like everything else, painted in scary military dark grey:


The only gold I could see was the classic Rolls Royce statue on top of the radiator. Click on either picture to get it bigger.

I don’t know what kind of money it was that paid for this vehicle, but I bet it’s quite a story. Failing that, it is the kind of money that at least wants you to think it’s quite a story. Any ideas? The driver wasn’t wearing a uniform, by the way. He was young, and casually dressed. He completely ignored me, although he must have known I was photoing his car. And he must get this a lot.

30 comments to Samizdata scary car of the day

  • LS

    Surely it belongs to Blofeld.

  • LS

    And coincedentally, it’s Blofeld’s birthday. He would have been 102.

  • Alice

    A couple of years back, a US government agency produced a list of the 10 worst gas guzzlers on sale in the US. 10 out of 10 were made in Europe.

    This was a little surprising, because there are so many Gore-ites in the US who wax lyrical about how fuel efficient Euro vehicles are. Looking at that Rolls Royce battlewagon, there have to be a lot of Euros running around in glorified shopping carts to make the “average” fuel efficiency look reasonable.

  • Jim

    That is one seriously ugly machine, my wardrobe has better styling. Whatever he paid, it was too much

  • jsallison

    Meh, for what that thing likely cost I’d have an airplane, lessons, gas for a couple of years and the undying affection of all the grandkids.

  • Roue le Jour

    The purpose of this vehicle is to emphasize the inferiority of those outside it. I’d say it does that quite well.

    Incidentally, it doesn’t have hub caps. Those are its wheels.

  • What a fugly barge.

    I’ll take a Lotus Exige and the balance in cash instead over that monstrosity.

  • Steve B

    Rolls aren’t my thing anyway but this is a particularly ugly example.

    For non-flashy car fans this is the ultimate example: http://i37.photobucket.com/albums/e94/AYH08/lamborghini_matte_black_lp560_4_-1.jpg

    Now that I would love!

  • I think it would be all right if it wasn’t for the lights at the front. Not that Rollers have ever been particularly pretty.

    Incidentally, does anyone know which Roller this is? I know there’s the Phantom but isn’t there supposed to be a smaller one coming out?

  • Max Van Horn

    Looks armour plated.Oligarch….get rid of the photo.

  • When this generation of RR came out I was probably one of the few people who liked its “razor edge” styling. This example is, how can I say it, bastardised.

    Seeing the title and summary on RSS, I was expecting some kind of vast 3-axle drophead.

    p.s. Silver Shadows have grown on me recently, especially LWBs that predate the matte black trim fad that began in the 1970’s.

  • Sam Duncan

    Patrick, the new small one is the Ghost. It’s marginally more elegant and rounded than the Phantom, and of course not as huge, but really it’s pretty hard to tell them apart except when side by side. I think that’s a Phantom. It has those Jaguar-esque chromed vents (I assume that’s what they are) behind the front wheels.

    I don’t know what R-R is thinking with the lights. They make the car look short-sighted. Bentley is beating it hollow in terms of style right now, despite its Continental GT being more or less compulsory for Premier League footballers.

  • A seriously sexy car. So in your face ugly, it’s sexy.

    Isn’t it the custom these days to blur number plates? Maybe a police officer with time on his hands at a keyboard could find out from DVLA or the PNC whose it is.

  • Laird

    I guess there’s no accounting for taste. Personally, I like the Rolls and would much prefer it to Steve B’s Lamborghini.

    But the absolutely best car ever is John Steed’s 1928 Bentley (scroll down to the 9th car; this is the only photo I could find).

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Heck, it’s The Car from the 1977 movie of the same name.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Incidentally, IIRC the eponymous Car was a 1972 Lincoln customised by George Barris specifically for the movie. They wanted Brutal (the Car’s possessed, or possibly demonic in itself), and by God they got it.

    A silly movie, but fun and a minor cult classic.

  • Laird

    PFP, your link isn’t working (actually, it is telling me that authorization is required, and asking for my credentials). Am I doing something wrong, or do you have another link you could post?

  • guy herbert


    It is not a surprise that a Rolls Royce so decorated would be driven by someone young. What’s a surpise is where you saw it. Among the very monied boy racers of the Marble Arch and Bayswater nightlife, scions of familes with money from minerals or rentier activities attached thereto, matte grey and black, da-glo, and all-over chrome – applied to very expensive motor vehicles that might otherwise not be sufficiently ostentatious – are quite the thing.

    I saw the opposite being driven a fraction too fast down Marylebone High Street this morning: a white Smart car with a numberplate “D1” that would have cost at least £150K. The driver a tall, quietly well-dressed young man of swarthy aspect, was sending the message ‘I’m so rich, I don’t need to pose – much.’

  • For Laird. It was silly and very effective at the same time.

  • Who cares? It’s just a car.

  • Laird

    Thanks, Alisa. Now I remember that movie. Ugly Car; I’ll stick with the Bentley, thank you.

  • That’s not a manly thing to say, Michael.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Alisa, thanks.

  • Nuke Gray

    It must belong to Blofeld! Like Bond, he never really dies, but comes back. Aint plastic surgery marvellous?

  • naman

    I keep expecting machine guns to pop out of the front for some reason.

  • Paul Marks

    Brian has a point (but then he normally does – he sees culture, in the broad sense, in ways I just miss).

    Gray and military looking – displaying luxury in an age (a comming age) when the display of luxury must also imply the force to protect it.

    “Look at my gold Salon – why are you not impressed?”.

    “Because the first man with better iron than you will take it away”.

    Still it is a pity that we live in an age when gold has to be painted to look like (or at least imply) iron.

  • Alasdair

    Paul Marks – ironic, ain’t it just ?