Superluxury Cars

Rolls-Royce runs up to new Phantom reveal with pieces of history

There have only been seven generations of Phantom since 1925. In that same time, there have been 16 US presidents.

Rolls-Royce

The unveiling of a new Rolls-Royce Phantom is a special occasion -- after all, there's only been seven of them since 1925. And to celebrate the arrival of the eighth-generation Phantom, Rolls-Royce is bringing out the big guns.

From now until the Phantom VIII's debut in July, Rolls-Royce will show off some of the most famous iterations of each generation of Phantom, all of which will gather together in London to welcome their newest sibling.

Long for the days of coachbuilding? This Roller's for you.

Rolls-Royce

The first participant announced is the 1927 Fred Astaire Phantom I, which currently lives at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. As the name suggests, its previous owner was none other than Fred Astaire himself. Its body came from Hooper, a London-based coachbuilder, and New York's Inskip added some delightful interior woodwork in the 1930s.

Out back, there's a Louis Vuitton travel trunk large enough to fit all the dancing shoes required for a long journey. Inside, scalloped woodwork gives millennials a taste of pre-war luxury. The interior is bright, with light green cloth and leather everywhere. There's even a small speaking tube so Astaire can communicate with the driver all the way up front.

It's remarkable how good a condition the car is still in, and given its existence as Astaire's runabout, it's no wonder Rolls-Royce chose this car for its Phantom VIII reveal. While the bodies might have changed, there's no doubt that Rolls-Royce is just as committed to building some of the most opulent (and expensive) cars on the road as it was in the 1920s.

Over the next eight weeks, we'll get a look at each of these handpicked Phantoms. Expect cars from John Lennon, Agha Khan and others. Pinkies up, everyone -- it's going to be a very fancy summer.