REVIEW: Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII (or Series 2) •

REVIEW: Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII (or Series 2)

“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.

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12 Responses to "REVIEW: Rolls-Royce Phantom VIII (or Series 2)"

  1. DS Team says:

    That’s a lovely review sir, and a well-rounded model indeed. The Black on Red is very attractive along with the overall execution. If luxury models were on my shopping list this would be near the top! Merry Christmas!

    • DS Team says:

      We forgot to add, that this is likely from KengFai.

    • Karsten says:

      Thank you (for making it the DS Christmas feature too) ! With Rolls-Royce being clearly in KengFai´s portfolio of brands (and not in AR´s) and the model sharing many of the Cullinan´s features made by KengFai, they seem the most likely. Yet, in contrast to the Cullinan, this Phantom is not officially branded or listed in shops as theirs, which does beg some questions…
      MERRY CHRISTMAS to everyone !

  2. Sam says:

    What are the measurements? Is it an accurate 1/18th scale?

  3. Peter says:

    This model’s distribution & release encompasses everything that I dislike with the current market. Nobody even knows who makes it as there are lots of ‘brands’ popping up overnight. It looks like Dealer Edition but gets sold on Ebay/Ali by God knows how… for vastly different prices. 200 USD this or that way, doesn’t matter. And you don’t know what the final price with taxes and customs will be because the Chinese sellers have no idea either. My local dealer has a few, but not in the color I wanted and for even higher price than these marketplace offers. + one collector over on youtubes showed his silver one that came with a broken hood hinge and a missing screw… And now return it back to China for replacement. I really wanted it but it would cost north of 400 USD to get one directly from China… Yeah, I guess I’m happy with my AR Mulsanne in the same color combo for half that.

    • Karsten says:

      I feel your pain and understand your anger!

      I have got the AR Mulsanne WO Edition, you are referring to as well. But ARs are similarly hard to get here in Europe at inflated prices.The WO Mulsanne came directly from AR for review in its day.

      For all my 2023 AR models and this Phantom reviewed here I have been and will keep turning to a big Chinese retailer. They usually start offering at the same time, we are announcing a new model here on DS. Retail price plus shipping include all taxes and customs, no hassle, no extra costs, no surprises, and they beat the lowest prices of the same models offered here months later by quite some margin. In case of an issue, they offer great customer service (AR Pagani Zonda Cinque completely replaced, AR Mercedes Maybach badge send extra with next purchase to replace crooked script), while retailers here work on a take it or send it back for refund policy, no spares supplied, replacement models often with issues too, no quality check before sending.

      If it wasn´t for them, I would probably become as frustrated.

      As for the brand merry-go-round: I agree, very confusing. Who owns whom, is now sold as what? Rolls-Royce Phantom and Cullinan by Kengfai, but not branded as such? Spark now sold as Schuco? SUMS making AR, Kyosho and BBR? Kengfai and NZG somewhat hooked up? And aren ´t Well and Kengfai Audis ultimately the same model? The industry seems extremely volatile and in a kind of gold rush.

      • YT says:

        This is fascinating about who owns whom and who makes whose models. Frankly not sure it matters much too. Was never a fan of Tony from Exoto but recall from my conversations with him from nine (?) Years ago when I was purchasing some of my XS models, him complaining that CMC guys hired all the trained Chinese model makers that used to make best Exotos for him… He then moved his contracts to the Middle East where they botched whole series (most Exoto Cobras which were not even XS level) had really aweful shoddy quality of assembly…

        • Karsten says:

          I agree that the collector needn ´t care much about where and by whom an individual model is made. With brands, though, you build trust in some manufacturers consistently producing a certain quality, which is where it starts to matter. Actually you just made that point yourself by your Exoto example. Same with the Rolls-Royces: This Phantom and the Cullinans are clearly from the same unnamed manufacturer, allegedly KengFai, to which there are many clues. Yet, the Rollers ´ origin is hidden under a veil by not branding it at all, which begs the question why. If they were a dealership merchandise product like the Cybertruck, this would be an answer, but it isn ´t. And even INEOS branded their Grenadier as made by MINIMAX.

  4. Ponti Ak says:

    Its Rolls Royce Phantom VIII. Its heavy an beauty … but.. for more than 300 eur you cant find many moveable details like in Kyosho version oh Phantom VII.
    Just doors. trunk and bonnet.
    All the collectors are ready to pay additional 50-100 eur but just please make a maximum realise car model. You paying one time – enjoying all life !!!
    Keng Fai s Cullinan is highest star at the moment !!!
    So sad and disappointed :(((((

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