“The world needs icons. Those exceptional few that stand clear of the rest. For these individuals who inspire greatness, only the purest expression of Rolls-Royce will do. An icon like no other. A motor car that stands alone – so superlative as to defy definition. This is Phantom. One of One.” Going by the brochure, Rolls-Royce is full of poetry (– or itself): “Phantom Extended Wheelbase doesn’t merely arrive. It inspires awe and admiration”. Well, as far as the model goes, it does arrive in rather impressive packaging, an outer purple gift box with a padded eco-leather top, gilded RR logo and “Rolls-Royce Motorcars” script. That makes it rather exclusive, with a “Certificate of Authority” (not authenticity) assuring me that I have bought model #547 of the black version “limited strictly to 699 pieces”. This all sounds very official as if this were an OEM model – but you cannot find it in the official Rolls-Royce online boutique.
Opening the gift box disappoints in that the model is not revealed directly, but a rather profane, but protective styrofoam clamshell contrasts with the luxurious first impression presentation effort. The model itself does not disappoint:
The Diamond Black paint is applied perfectly and the shut lines of the boot, bonnet and suicide doors are very tight so that the doors will only open using a suction tool. The cabin greets us with a luxuriously red interior, real carpeting, excellent Walnut Burr veneer replication, detailed instrumentation, sumptuous seats and door trim with a fine white print replicating contrast stitching, cloth seat belts with photoetched buckles. The red headliner ceiling is dotted with white spots to imitate the LED starry sky effect. The rear doors feature the Roller´s party trick of an umbrella each and the tread plates have the optional “Phantom” script. The rear cabin floor has elevated footrests underneath the front seats and chrome rails suggest a sliding function for the front seats which they do not possess. How do I know? Well, the front passenger armchair was rattling around the cabin on taking delivery, luckily without causing further damage, and could simply be clipped into its position.
The giant brick sits on fully sprung replicas of 22” Fully Polished Forged Alloy Wheels with the central RR hub remaining stationary during rotation of the wheels. The rims have fine valves and the tires remarkably have the most detailed “Continental” branding I have ever seen on any model.
Rear lights and headlamps are very detailed too, with the headlamps in particular featuring fine crystal LED projector lenses, but do not feature the RR letters that should be incorporated in them.
The iconic radiator shell comes without its hood ornament which comes extra in a small bag: In fact, you are left with a choice to either put a metal Spirit of Ecstasy or a flat plate to represent it as retracted into the shell. Both lock into place magnetically. That is a very clever first-time solution. So far hood ornaments in general and Spirit of Ecstasy ornaments in particular came either pre-installed (and in danger of breaking off) or to be loosely inserted into a recess (with them falling out at a cough). The RR badges are finely detailed photo-etched pieces.
If all of this wasn´t enough the V12 engine is worth revealing too: Firstly because of the bonnet operation, for which consulting the illustrated instructions is clearly advised. Its front end does not simply lift upwards, oh no, the entire bonnet is first to be raised by 2 mm before it can be raised in the usual way. Underneath you find one of the more detailed modern engine replication efforts in the industry, including coloured lids, cables, OEM stickers and badges. That sadly has become all too rare. Boot operation is on very fine hinges too, but the carpeted boot space is unspectacular.
The undercarriage is remarkably detailed too for the model of such a car, including the hidden quadruple exhaust pipes. But just as remarkably, there is no script whatsoever, not even 1/18 Rolls-Royce Phantom, no “Made in …”, nothing.
And that remains the biggest secret to inspire speculation down in the comments: There is absolutely no hint as to who has made this model that the mystery manufacturer certainly has no reason to be ashamed of. While Kyosho are re-releasing their Phantom VII, or, in BMW´s nomenclature, Series 1 (“the very first Phantom […] unveiled in 2003”), this Phantom VIII (or Series 2) is unaccounted for. Clues like the quality and level of detail equaling Almost Real´s potential suggest that this must have been put together in Sum´s factory, but may just as well be Keng Fai when you compare it to their Mercedes Pullman or Audi RS7, the latter of which has similarly fine tire markings. But why does the manufacturer not proudly reveal himself? My guess: This is produced without a license from BMW/Rolls Royce. However, as the brochure said: “The world needs icons”. So thank you, dear phantom, for recreating the Phantom.