2008 Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe - Dyer Consequences

Tim Marrs

People will want to know how you can afford this car, which in my case meant being ready with a lie. One response, deployed to an incredulous waitress: "Have you ever heard of the zipper? Well, prepare for it to be obsolete. That's all I can say right now." I replied in the affirmative (and quickly sped away) when asked if I was a movie star. I told people that I own the company that makes the plastic grass that divides takeout sushi rolls.

The Phantom Drophead isn't perfect. For instance, the interior door chime is the ubiquitous BMW boo-wong sound, when it really should be a recording of a cash register or an English butler quietly clearing his throat. And the seats in the car I drove weren't air-conditioned, although I suppose the frames are thick enough that, if you were inclined toward customization, you could probably squeeze a young street urchin with a palm frond in there.

An outing in the Drophead requires planning. One friend in the city let me park in her garage, which easily houses her Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Rolls barely fit. I became a patron of valets, neurotic over what to tip them for not driving the car. Given this vehicle's $442,390 sticker, the unfortunate local valets probably expected more than the $9 that I handed over at one restaurant. I think that's a fairly solid tip, given that a fiver is pretty much industry standard, but still I felt like a cheapskate. With the Drophead, burdensome expectations are created.

The Phantom Drophead doesn't go 250 mph or climb mountains or set lap records. It doesn't do anything particularly special, but everything it does is accomplished with utmost style. It's an imposing, exquisite Gatsby of a car, and it might not be your cup of tea. But maybe once you make your first $20 million, you'll understand.

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