Before I pitch in here, I’d like to point out that I like cars. I’m a petrolhead. I realise this is seen in some circles as a sign of moral turpitude, but I just am. I have been since I was a little boy hardly knee-high to a hubcap.
I object to some marques on principle. Porsches are ugly as sin, and sound like a bag of nails. I’ve never fallen for the mystique of the Prancing Horse from Modena. I’m always a bit sceptical about anything French. BMWs are overpriced. But the marque I really, really take issue with is the supposed acme of automobiles, the vehicle non pareil. I refer to Rolls Royce, and the reason I hate them is they are vulgar.
Some of the older ones are quite elegant in a way, but even so they reek of wealth and privilege, and they may not scream ‘Look how rich I am!’ but they certainly have a discrete sotto voce mutter. The modern ones are the very pinnacle of tastelessness and ostentation.
‘Hey, I can afford a car with 16 cows’ worth of specially selected hides in the upholstery. I can afford the finest burred walnut in the world, just so I can drive it around and look out of the tinted solar glass windscreen at you poor proles outside. I really need a car with air conditioning that could keep a small apartment cool in the middle of Death Valley. Do I look like a man who gives a shit that my car only does 8 mpg?’
A brand new Phantom will set you back £334,000, or the best part of $500,000. That’s a lot of money. I find it particularly vulgar that the hubcaps do not rotate with the wheels, but remain proudly on show and readable. Why? If the average urban warrior onlooker doesn’t know it’s a Rolls Royce, then he or she isn’t likely to be that impressed. They may just think, as I do, ‘Hey, that flash git paid several thousand pounds just so his hubcaps don’t spin. What a wanker.’
You’ll never ever see a Rolls Royce on a lowloader being taken for repairs after a breakdown. They always cover the cars up. Why? ‘Rolls Royce cars do not break down.’ All I can say is that engineers will tell you, ‘If it’s got wheels, it will go wrong.’ An F1 car costs untold millions, but they break down, so why not a Roller?
Oh yeah, the whole British and best thing? Rolls Royce are now owned by BMW.