• Rolls-Royce To End Production Of The Current Phantom

After 13 years, the seventh-gen Phantom will have its curtain call

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.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

Rolls-Royce To End Production Of The Current Phantom
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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.

2018 Rolls Royce Phantom

Read our speculative review on the 2018 Rolls Royce Phantom here.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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Press Release

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Chief Executive Officer, Torsten Müller-Ötvös, has announced that the current Phantom will enter the last stages of its celebrated life in 2016. This announcement follows the recent news that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has begun testing its all-new aluminium architecture, which will underpin every future Rolls-Royce arriving in-market from early 2018.

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Chief Executive Officer,Torsten Müller-Ötvös, has announced that the current Phantom will enter the last stages of its celebrated life in 2016. This announcement follows the recent news that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has begun testing its all-new aluminium architecture, which will underpin every future Rolls-Royce arriving in-market from early 2018. He also announced that Phantom Coupé and Drophead Coupé models will not be renewed in the future. These two magnificent Phantom models will end their lives with a special collection of only 50 highly desirable cars to be called Phantom Zenith.

The current seventh generation of Phantom started production in Goodwood over 13 years ago and quickly became the foundation upon which the renaissance of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars was built. A magnificent, graceful and powerful statement of the marque’s claim to the very pinnacle of super luxury, Phantom VII is now approaching the end of its production.

During November this year, the build of the very last Phantom Coupé and Drophead Coupé at Goodwood will be completed. These models will not be replaced. Collectors around the world will be excited to learn that a spectacular collection of 50 unique Coupé’s and Drophead Coupés, called Phantom Zenith, will be built to celebrate the end of production of these truly exceptional cars.

Rolls-Royce will also build the last Phantom VII limousines this year.

Torsten Müller-Ötvös, said, “I am proud and excited to announce that a new Phantom is on the way – a contemporary and beautiful Phantom enhanced with cutting-edge technologies and design innovations. Any new Phantom is an historic and important moment in automotive history and we are working hard on perfecting the Phantom VIII.”

Rolls-Royce Motor Cars reset the benchmark for luxury motor cars in 2003 when it launched Phantom VII, a motor car that has remained the pinnacle of pure luxury for the last 13 years. Over those years Rolls-Royce created many fantastic Phantoms that stunned the world with their beauty and redefined the notion of pure luxury motoring.

Now it is time to take the next step in the luxury journey.

Phantom VII – Continuing to set the luxury benchmark even as it prepares to leave the world stage

Even as it prepares to leave the world stage, Phantom VII will continue to set the benchmark for luxury motoring with a number of limited-run collector’s pieces, each of which will be the last of their line.

To mark their exit, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ Bespoke design department will create the most highly Bespoke examples of each Phantom model to date – Coupé, Drophead Coupé and Limousine. At the same time the craftspeople who build each Rolls-Royce motor car to roll down the line at the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood are already preparing themselves for the painstaking work that will go into these very special final motor cars.

Zenith – The very pinnacle of automotive excellence

The first of these special collections will be named Zenith, and will be the last ever Phantom Coupé and Drophead Coupé models available to commission from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.

“As the name promises, Zenith will be the pinnacle; the best of its kind; the highest standard achievable by which everything else is judged,” comments Director of Design, Giles Taylor. “Zenith will be the sum of all the best features of Phantom Coupé and Drophead Coupé, with a few surprises added. We expect huge demand for these 50 fine motor cars as we shall not look upon their like again.”

Such surprise features will include a Tailgate Hosting Area; laser etched armrests depicting the original launch locations of 100EX in Villa D’Este and 101EX in Geneva; Bespoke instrument dials and a special treatment of the iconic Spirit of Ecstasy figurine. Each customer will also receive a ‘money cannot buy’ portable memento of his or her purchase, whilst the motor cars will be offered to clients in a palate of memorable colour combinations from Rolls-Royce’s history.

Phantom VII – The return of the pinnacle of automotive excellence

The launch of the seventh generation Rolls-Royce Phantom, on 1 January 2003, was much more than the reveal of a new super-luxury car; it signalled the 21st Century renaissance of the world’s most famous luxury automobile brand and the first glimpse of a masterpiece that quickly established itself at the pinnacle of automotive excellence, leading where others could only try to follow.

For the preceding five years, and in the absence of publicity, designers, engineers and craftspeople had overseen the birth of a flagship Rolls-Royce motor car and state-of-the-art production facility on the Goodwood Estate in Southern England. Without parallel in the car industry, the achievement was all the more astonishing for a brand which shouldered the weight of automotive history and for which expectations for the future were rightly very high.

From launch, the Rolls-Royce Phantom proved itself a worthy recipient of the famous Spirit of Ecstasy figurine. From its Pantheon grille to long rear overhang, the design was clearly a Rolls-Royce. Every angle revealed a bold yet elegant car with road presence that was second to none.

From 2005, new variants of Phantom VII were added. First was the Phantom Extended Wheelbase, followed by the ultimate in luxurious open-top motoring, the Phantom Drophead Coupé in 2007 and, in 2008, the Phantom Coupé, Rolls-Royce’s sophisticated grand tourer.

All these beautiful cars are timeless in their appeal, and have been the cornerstone of Rolls-Royce’s Bespoke offering to its clients’ sophisticated requirements, allowing them to create individual works of art with their superlative cars. Today, every Phantom that leaves the Home of Rolls-Royce at Goodwood has Bespoke features. ‘Waterspeed’, ‘Aviator’, ‘Metropolitan’, ‘Maharajah’ and ‘Serenity’ are a few of the names of Iconic Bespoke Phantoms which have entered private collections around the world and will live down the years as some of the most beloved Rolls-Royces ever.

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