Rolls Royce Phantom VI (1968 – 1990)

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The Rolls Royce Phantom VI, what can you really say about it?

It’s a gigantic piece of British luxury car building that takes all the features of the production Rolls Royces such as the Silver Cloud and the Shadow, and ups them ten-fold so that you too can have your very own Palace on wheels that cuts a great swathe through the hustling, bustling traffic! Of course servants, chefs and handmaidens are optional extras!

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The immense size of the Phantom VI Limousine is apparent.

The Rolls Royce Phantom VI is basically just a retread of the Phantom V, but incorporating a more modern design with the quad headlight clusters, the Rolls Royce V8 from the Silver Shadow, and a modified dashboard. The first Phantom VI’s were launched in 1968, and became the top-class car of the illustrious company, being built on request rather than at a steady production rate like the lower level Shadow and Corniche models. Coachwork was mostly built by Mulliner Park Ward of London, usually in the form of limousines like the one seen here, and was the last Rolls Royce to continue to be produced with a separate chassis, leaving it up to the customer to decide on a specific design of body. There were also several curious Landaulette versions built, which were basically convertible versions of the standard limousines, as well as two cars designed by Frua of Italy, their design looking more like the angular Camargue.

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One of two Phantom VI’s with coachwork by Frua, both of which now reside in Switzerland.

In 1977, a car was presented to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her Silver Jubilee, this car featuring a higher roofline for the Queen to wave from at passing crowds. This car was the Royal Household’s State Car from 1977 until the introduction of the Bentley State Limousine in 2002 at the Golden Jubilee. When used by the Queen, the conventional Spirit of Ecstasy is replaced by a silver model of St George slaying the Dragon. This car also had the distinction of carrying Prince William and Kate Middleton to Westminster Abbey during the Royal Wedding of 2011. In 1986 the Royal Household took possession of a 2nd Phantom VI, but this car was just the standard limousine. This car gained notoriety in 2010 when Student Protesters attacked the car with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall inside, the car being spattered with paint and one of the windows being smashed, but resulted in no injury to either Royal.

Most of these cars however were owned by either state officials such as ambassadors, governors, ministers and prime ministers (usually in the Commonwealth but also in many other nations such as Switzerland), or they were owned by incredibly, incredibly rich people who had a desire for something absolutely massive and disproportionate in terms of what it would be used for!

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The first of two Phantom VI’s built for the Royal Family, here seen during the 2011 Royal Wedding.

Eventually the Phantom VI came to the end of its official production life in 1990, with 374 examples built, an average of 17 cars per year over 22 years. However, individual models continued to be built, including the illusive and very, very strange Rolls Royce Cloudesque, one of four Phantom VI’s that were built Post-Production for the Sultan of Brunei, a man who has gained a reputation for having owned a fleet of 1,000 Rolls Royce Silver Spirits in his Royal Household! He must really burn through those cars!

Today, unless the Royal Family is out on a day trip, you’d be very, very lucky to find these in everyday use. I was once again incredibly lucky to catch this one on the forecourt of the Dorchester Hotel, where many exotic luxury cars usually find themselves while their insanely rich owners spend a few days in London.