Rolls-Royce To End Production Of The Current Phantom
After 13 years, the seventh-gen Phantom will have its curtain callby Kirby, on
The Rolls-Royce Phantom, the flagship model that has proudly carried the Spirit of Ecstasy for the better part of the new millennium, will be retired in 2016 as the British luxury brand prepares to shift to a new era of Rolls-Royce models. The announcement was made by Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Mueller-Oetvoes, thus ending a 13-year run for the seventh-generation Phantom.
According to Mueller-Oetves, the company will set aside the remainder of the year to round out the production of the Phantom, while also paying tribute to the model that has become the foundation of Rolls-Royce’s renaissance. Production is expected to conclude in November 2016 when the last Phantom Coupé and Drophead Coupé at Goodwood will be completed. Likewise, a handful of special edition models, called the Phantom Zenith, will be produced to celebrate the model’s highly successful and oftentimes influential production run. Only 50 units of the Phantom Zenith will be built to underscore the model’s exclusivity.
As for its successor, Rolls-Royce has yet to divulge a lot of specific details about the model. What we do know is that it will use the company’s all-new aluminum architecture, much like every RR model that will be arrive in-market beginning in 2018. This new architecture is expected to much lighter than the version used by the current Phantom. Without knowing any of the tech details, the mere fact that this new frame will be lighter is a good indication that the new model will have better performance times than its predecessor. Unfortunately, recent spy shots of the car doing winter testing in heavy camouflage have given little indication on what we can expect, although judging by how it looked, camo and all, Rolls-Royce still has a lot of work to do.
The new Phantom, if it’s going to be called that, isn’t expected to arrive until 2018. For now, we’re probably more suited leaving the new model alone so we can spend time recognizing what the current version did for the Rolls-Royce brand. It’s safe to say that without the seventh-gen Phantom, Rolls-Royce wouldn’t be where it is now. That’s going to be model’s lasting legacy, and a fitting one now that it’s ready to ride off into the sunset.
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Why it matters
The Rolls-Royce Phantom, at least by name, has actually been around since 1925 when the name was used as a replacement to the Silver Ghost. That’s why many of the most iconic Rolls-Royce models in the 20th century carried the Phantom name. Such was the appeal of the Phantom name that Rolls-Royce used it from 1925 to 1991, spanning six generations.
The company fell on hard times in the 1990’s and the Rolls-Royce name changed ownerships numerous times before being acquired by its current owner, BMW. To its credit, the German automaker spearheaded a new era for the British marque that essentially began in 2003 with the launch of the seventh-generation Phantom.
Some can argue the merits of other Phantom models as being the most influential of them all, but there are also a pocket of people who believe that the seventh- and current-generation model is arguably the most important version of the Phantom. Throughout its life, the seventh-gen Phantom became the foundation of Rolls-Royce, the model that the company can proudly roll out anywhere and immediately attract attention from everybody in the vicinity.
It expanded with a number of different variations in its life, including he Phantom Extended Wheelbase, the Phantom Drophead Coupe, and the Phantom Coupe, among others. It also spawned a lot of special edition models. There are actually too many of them to mention, but the most notable ones include the the Centenary Edition (2004), the Pininfarina Hyperion (2008), the 60th Anniversary Special Edition Phantom Droghead Coupe (2010), the Spirit of Ecstasy Centenary Collection (2011), and of course, the Phantom Zenith (2016) that will be released to commemorate the end of this incredible era for Rolls-Royce.
It’s always bittersweet to see such an influential model near its end. But for what it’s worth, the seventh-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom accomplished more than what most people thought it could. That, in itself, is probably the biggest reason why the seventh-gen Phantom will go down as one of the most influential models of the past decade and a half.
Read our speculative review on the 2018 Rolls Royce Phantom here.