Taking a tour of a car factory is always an eye-opening experience. Usually, it’s the speed that impresses. The cars are assembled by massive, expensive robots that drill, screw, weld, clamp, and press panels in quick succession. It’s loud and manic; supplied safety equipment includes earplugs.
But climb to the very top of the motor car industry, and hearing protection is superfluous. Speed is not a consideration, so things are slowed down. Enough, in fact, to carry on a quiet conversation on the factory floor. Rather, the emphasis is on getting things perfect.
Rolls-Royce, with its Goodwood factory that blends harmoniously into the Chichester countryside, has always been the benchmark for the ultimate in quality. So much so that the brand name is used across a variety of industries to describe the best of the best: the ‘Rolls-Royce of furniture’ or the ‘Rolls-Royce of appliances’. Thus, when the Phantom was launched in 2003, expectations were high—and rightfully so. It didn’t disappoint. The world’s best ride, coupled with interior quality that competitors could only dream of, plus a road presence that was completely unrivalled, were just some of the hallmarks of the 5.85-metre beast.
Nine years later and the quality was still there, but technology had moved forward, leaving the Phantom languishing in the wake of even its smaller companion, the Ghost. An update was sorely needed. In March 2012, Rolls-Royce announced the Phantom Series II, a thorough makeover of its flagship model, boasting a range of technological and mechanical enhancements to bring the Phantom into the age of the iPad.
The update hasn’t changed the build process, though. The maxim of company founder Sir Henry Royce echoes in the minds of all who work on the Phantom—“Strive for perfection in everything you do.”
The maxim of company founder Sir Henry Royce echoes in the minds of all who work on the Phantom—“Strive for perfection in everything you do.”