What I learned yesterday driving the all-new, 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith in Phoenix:
- Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a damn fine car.
- Rolls-Royce sells about 3,500 cars a year around the globe.
- A quarter-mill will get you into the “most affordable” Rolls, the four-door Ghost.
- No one buys a Rolls-Royce as a basic transportation choice. Apparently, they’re bought because their owners a) want to own the best car money can buy, and b) to reward themselves.
- The unspoken reason: To impress the neighbors.
- For many owners, buying a Rolls is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
- 80 percent of all Rolls-Royces ever built are still on the road.
- 80 percent of North American owners do their own driving.
- As many as 95 percent of the cars Rolls sells are made to order. It could be the color of the hand-sewn dashboard stitching or a trunk-mounted picnic hamper -- with crystal -- or a pair of matching door-mounted, self-ejecting flasks, one for hot and one for cold. Most outrageous? The guy from California who commissioned Rolls to formulate candy-apple red carbon fiber for the interior of his Drophead Coupe (video).
I’ll post more in coming days, but I’ll leave you with this: the all-new 5,300-lb, 624-horsepower, two-door Wraith ($295,000) accelerates from 0-60 in 4.4 seconds and from there to unmentionable speeds in a similarly rapid fashion. It’s way too easy to drive way too fast.
Did I mention that its 8-speed automatic transmission is GPS-aided? It knows where the corners are before you do.