The Rolls-Royce of all days
If you had to describe your dream job, what would it involve? I am certain that I am one of very few people who genuinely lives out her dream job. I am thankful every single day for this. But with any job, there are low moments. There are times when I think I should or could be doing more, doing something different or just doing something that would make a difference in people’s lives. And then there is a day like the one I had last week. I am one of a handful of people in the world who was privileged enough to spend the day with the entire Rolls-Royce line-up. It included the Phantom, the Cullinan, the Dawn, the Ghost and the Wraith. Just imagine walking in to a R35 million driveway in Val De Vie, Paarl, and you are met with a (insert collective noun here) of Rolls-Royces. It is quite something.
These moments incur a certain amount of guilt as well. I am not sure why. Perhaps I feel I don’t deserve such a treat or I don’t feel I am good enough at my job to afford such an experience. As soon as I get behind the wheel of the Phantom, though, all those feelings disappear. I now give zero f***s. I wonder if this is how the owner of such a car feels every day of their lives? I hope so!
The idea of a Rolls-Royce being owned by someone who will be chauffeured around in it is long gone. The new-age owner, who is around the average age of 42 by the way, drives her own Rolls-Royce. Take note of the pronoun here, I am so pleased to know that there has been a 30% increase in female Rolls-Royce owners in the last couple of years. It is still not nearly as high as I would like it to be. In fact, you can count the amount of female owned Rolls-Royce’s on one hand here in South Africa. But I have a strong suspicion this will change, very soon.
THEY SEE ME ROLLIN…
The Rolls-Royce of Rolls-Royce is the Phantom. It wears the biggest crown and so it should. The ride is like nothing else I have ever experienced. I constantly have to check that I am, in fact, driving on a tar road. I feel like I am flying just above the road, floating on invisible clouds. As the seat gives me a full body massage, the lights in the ceiling twinkle above me, referencing the starriest night you would ever see. My rear passenger enjoys champagne out the fridge, but if so wanted to, she could recline the seat to catch a few z’s. At this very moment, I own the road.
“Has anyone ever been killed in a Rolls-Royce?” I ask Marek Letowt; General Manager Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Sandton. “Not that I know of. Unless they’ve had a heart attack at the steering wheel,” he quips. He has a point though. Sure, there are only around 3 000 Rolls-Royces made globally a year, which means the odds are in favour of them not being in an accident. But even find yourself in a Rolls accident, the size and amount of metal around you should shield you much the same way that a truck would. That’s what it feels like anyway.
We pull in to the driveway of Le Residence and it must look like something out of a high budget movie. A Rolls-Royce convey, it is not something you witness every day. Neither is a place like Le Residence. Elton John allegedly stays here with a few mates when he comes to South Africa and it is easy to see why. Bursting to pee, I almost didn’t make the toilet in time due to stopping every two seconds on route to it, in awe of what I was seeing. The views, the décor, the opulence. I felt like an imposter. I do not belong in such places, I probably never will. I am too…what is the word? Average? Plain? Poor? Perhaps just from a different world.
On the way back, I have a completely different experience. Behind the wheel of the Cullinan I am transported to being a really wealthy stay-at-home mom who carts her kids around, but also, who ‘lunches.’ The driver enthusiast in me enjoyed this car more than the Phantom, only because it was that much more engaging. This SUV has game. Something I never thought I would say about the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. I throw it in to corners with chutzpah and push on the stretches almost to the point of possible arrest. All the while listening to Two Times and King of my Castle. The latter being a fitting song for the moment I am currently experiencing.
This day will go down in my books as one of the best moments of my career. And that is saying a lot, I have had many incredible experiences. But what I have learnt about this 113-year old brand is that my perceptions were completely off. It is not a grey-haired old man being driven by a man in a chauffeur hat, it is rather, a brand that needs no introduction, no bragging-rights, no explanations. You don’t know the owner of Rolls-Royce because they have no need to tell you they own one.