For those of you who are economy-minded, the new Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit, at $109,000, costs slightly less than the average major league baseball player. After our thorough testing of this zippy new sedan, we can heartily recommend that those of you with cash to spare should buy one of these babies. Either that, or 15 Plymouth Horizons.
Our first test of the Silver Spirit was one of acceleration. We took the car from zero to 60. It took 16.95 seconds. A New Zealand boy of 11 has mastered Rubik’s Cube faster. We should note, however, that we did not test the Rolls alone. We made a three-way race of it. And while the Rolls finished a distant second to a ’68 Chevy Nova, it did edge out a one-legged organ grinder dragging a dead monkey. So much for the technical stuff.
You obviously don’t buy a Rolls for speed. When you spend that much on a car, you want to go slow enough so people can gawk. Here, then, are some points about the Silver Spirit that we consider really important:
Eight full cattle hides are used to fashion the interior of every Rolls, with the leather coming from animals that graze inside electrified fences, rather than barbed wire, to prevent abrasions and scratches. You wouldn’t want those poor little suckers to get nicked, would you?
The veneer for an entire year’s production of Rolls instrument panels comes from the wood of a single Lombardian walnut tree, keeping the rest of the forest preserved for the animals who will later become bucket seats.
The look of silver on the Rolls grill (it’s really stainless steel) is obtained by five hours of hand polishing. (Now wouldn’t it be easier if they used a rag?) Only 13 men in the world can make the ’81 Rolls grill, which is crafted entirely by hand. (For you technical buffs, that would be 26 hands.)
The Rolls is perhaps the least stealable of all cars. It boasts pickproof electric door locks and an ignition system that locks electrically as soon as the key is removed. Which means the only way to steal the car is to raise it off its front wheels and tow it away. To test the Silver Spirit for stealability, we parked unattended in Central Park for two hours. In that time, 114 attempts were made to steal the car. All were unsuccessful. We were going to document this with photographs, but four minutes into our picture session, all our cameras were stolen. Read the rest of this entry »