Long-time AUTOMOBILE design editor Robert Cumberford summed it up perfectly when he drove the Rolls-Royce Phantom in 2013: “Rolls-Royce once advertised itself as ‘the best car in the world.’ At some point that might well have been true, but until the Rolls-Royce Phantom was introduced in 2003, it hadn’t been the case for at least sixty years.”
Rolls-Royce announced today that the Phantom, the car that helped put the ultra-luxury brand back on the map 13 years ago, will end production in November 2016. When the Phantom dissipates into the mist of Rolls-Royce history, it will be replaced by a new model in 2018. That model will ride on a new aluminum space-frame used for all future Rolls cars. Among these new models will be the forthcoming Cullinan SUV.
“I am proud and excited to announce that a new Phantom is on the way — a contemporary and beautiful Phantom enhanced with cutting-edge technologies and design innovations,” said company CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös, in a statement. “Any new Phantom is an historic and important moment in automotive history and we are working hard on perfecting the Phantom VIII.”
As we’ve previously reported, the new modular architecture will birth both standard sedan and extended-wheelbase Phantoms, but the Coupe and Drophead Coupe will not be renewed. Rolls’ Bespoke department will churn out even more extravagant models as production nears its close.
To honor the departure of the Phantom Coupe and Drophead Coupe, Rolls-Royce will build 50 unique commemoration models it’s calling the Phantom Zenith collection. “Zenith will be the sum of all the best features of Phantom Coupe and Drophead Coupe, with a few surprises added,” said Müller-Ötvös. Among these surprises will be a Tailgate Hosting Area, laser-etched armrests, bespoke instrument clusters, and a unique Spirit of Ecstasy ornament. Rolls also says each Zenith buyer will get his or her own “money-cannot-buy” portable memento from a special color palette from Rolls-Royce history.