Best Of The Best: Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Special Editions
Our tribute to some of the finest Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe special edition models ever madeby Kirby Garlitos, on
Ten years is a long time to be in the automotive market, but it’s also a long enough time to be the subject of a few special edition models. That’s the case with the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe, which enjoyed a remarkable run as one of the British luxury brand’s most significant models.
First introduced in 2007, the Phantom Drophead Coupe has received its share of special edition models in the past decade. Some bordered on questionable while others captured our imaginations by not only looking the part of a true special edition – or in some cases, one-off models – but also giving us the kind of feels that special edition models are supposed to do. So ahead of the current-generation Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe’s eventual ride into the sunset later this year, we’re paying homage to the hulking two-door luxury convertible by making a list of some of the most memorable special edition versions of this model. From there, tell us what you think of our choices or if we left a specific model out that you think should’ve made the list.
Continue after the jump to read the full story.
note: photo of the Rolls-Royce Maharajah Phantom Drophead Coupe
Once upon a time, India was one of Rolls-Royce biggest markets, and a big part of that can be attributed to the Golden Age of the Raja. As such, this particular one-off – the Maharajah, or “great king” – was created to pay homage to that lineage. It’s been said that India’s affinity for Rolls-Royce models culminated in the royal families purchasing over 840 Rolls-Royce models over a period of 50 years.
Curiously, the Maharajah Phantom Drophead Coupe was ordered by a customer from Dubai and while the reasons why are unclear, Rolls-Royce’s work on the one-off creation is anything but confusing. It’s a true work of art, right down to the use of exclusive colors (Carrara White with Emerald Green) on the car’s body and the presence of a stylised Peacock symbol, India’s national bird, on the car’s coachiline. Move inside and the lavish treatment to this one-off is turned up a few more levels. The highlight is the use of Emerald Green on the interior, which creates a dramatic contrast to the wood inserts used in the dashboard and door panels. The peacock is also prominently featured in the interior of the car, most notably in the headrests where an image of a peacock is embroidered and the side and center armrests where colorful patterns of the bird’s feathers are stitched into them. Oh, and that clock on the dashboard is a bespoke Maharaja peacock clock with Jade and Cobalto Blue elements.
note: photo of the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Art Deco Edition
Back in 2012 when the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe was in the middle of its production run, Rolls-Royce decided to bring the two-door convertible together with the flagship Phantom and the Ghost to the that year’s Paris Motor Show. All three models didn’t come in standard form though; they were displayed under the guise of “Art Deco” models, or what could be translated as the beginnings of the eventual rise of Rolls-Royce Bespoke, the company’s very own personalization department.
One of the most enduring qualities of the Phantom Drophead Coupe Art Deco Edition was how sharped it looked, as if it was wearing a custom-fitted tuxedo with all the accompanying bells and whistles. It may not have popped out quite like other special edition versions of the convertible Phantom, but it exude that classy and elegant aura that’s at the core of Rolls-Royce’s identity. The use of a Light Blue paint finish on the exterior and the Mother of Pearl trim detailing the interior was as good a combination as anything Rolls-Royce has come up with for the model. Five years after it was introduced in Paris, the Phantom Drophead Coupe Art Deco Edition still stands out as a the epitome of what a special edition Rolls-Royce model should be about. No frills. No fancy details. Just class. Pure, refined class.
note: photo of the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Olympic Edition
This special edition model was also introduced in 2012 and there’s legitimate reason behind it. For those who remember, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games was held in London and since Rolls-Royce is a proudly British automaker, it was heavily involved in the quadrennial sporting spectacle, most notably in the closing ceremonies where three special edition Phantom Drophead Coupes - appropriately named Olympic Editions - were used to bring artists Jessie J, Tinie Tempah, and Taio Cruz during their collaborative performance titled ’A Symphony of British Music.’
Beyond their special purpose, the three Phantom Drophead Coupe Olympic Editions were treated to a full special edition treatment by Rolls-Royce Bespoke. Each of the three models came in an English White paint finish but the real highlight of the models was their Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornaments. Considering how special the Spirit of Ecstasy already is to Rolls-Royce’s history, the fact that all three Olympic Edition Phantom Drophead Coupes had theirs dressed in the Union Flag in a remarkable show of patriotism and British solidarity.
Even the car’s interior had its share of allusions to the Olympics. The wheel centers, for example, had the words “London 2012” scripted into it with the Olympic motto “‘Citius, Altius, Fortius,” which translates to “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” The three Olympic Edition models also came with the distinction of being the first Rolls-Royce models to feature newly-designed badges. Instead of the traditional “double R” that has come to define Rolls-Royce, all three models instead had badges that featured the Spirit of Ecstasy with the words “London” and 2012” located above and below it, respectively.
note: photo of the Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe Bespoke Waterspeed Collection
Rolls-Royce’s ties to the high seas go a long way back in the company’s history. In fact, it was a Rolls-Royce R-Type engine that powered a Bluebird K3 hydroplane boat that Sir Malcolm Campbell used to set the water-speed record (129.5 mph) back on September 1, 1937. The record now stands at 318 mph, which was set in 1978. But Campbell’s achievement 80 years ago served as the inspiration for the Phantom Drophead Coupe Bespoke Waterspeed Collection that Rolls-Royce introduced back in 2014.
All in all, Rolls-Royce built 35 units of the Phantom Drophead Coupe that wore this special edition label. All 35 units were treated to top-class opulence, beginning with the use of a Maggiore Blue paint finish that was nine layers thick and hand-sanded before the application of powdered lacquer. Even the two-door convertible’s engine was given the same treatment, which at that time marked the first time Rolls-Royce did something like it. The interior of the special edition Phantom Drophead Coupe also featured a litany of details, including hand-engraved metal endcaps on the door armrests and Abachi wood inserts that were arranged to resemble a boat’s wake. And since every possible tie-up to boat racing was explored, the British automaker also installed bespoke ‘power reserve’ gauges.