The rich, as F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, are not like you and me--but that doesn't stop us from pretending. When the $375,000 Rolls Royce Phantom arrived in our garage this week, we couldn't pass up the chance to live the high-life for a day.
If we were going to live like millionaires for the day, what better way to go about it than by taking a few pointers from The Donald himself? We tuned in to Donald Trump's show using the Phantom's built-in TV tuner.
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We started our day in altruistic mood and set off toward Oakland to pick up some CNET staffers and chauffeur them into the office.
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To begin our day we gingerly guided the 19-ft Rolls out of the CNET garage. To assist us in our maneuver the car is equipped with a front and rear park-distance system with audible and visible signals.
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Rolls Royce's iconic hood ornament is retractable on the 2007 Phantom--a feature that we took advantage of while driving through some of the more dicey areas of Oakland.
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The first passenger on the list was senior editor Donald Bell, who took very little time adapting to the interior refinement of the Rolls. "This sure beats my Hyundai Accent," said Bell as he unfolded the 12-inch LCD display in the back seat.
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In case of rain, we were safe in the knowledge that the Phantom had branded umbrellas built into its carriage doors, which were accessible with the push of a button.
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Having done our bit for the common man, we set out to get a bit of culture, stopping off at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco's Presidio. There was no valet, so we were forced to try to park the Rolls ourselves.
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With a day to ourselves in one of the world's most prestigious cars, we felt like a cross between Ferris Bueller and Montgomery Brewster. Accordingly, we devised an itinerary In keeping with the character of this most extraordinary of cars.
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The Phantom's navigation system has a unique feature that Trump himself would applaud: the display of dollar signs on the map. We can only assume that it is a money radar to alert the uber-rich owners of the car where they are likely to find like-minded souls.
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McDonald's drive-through just didn't seem like a becoming eatery for custodians of such a refined car. So we betook ourselves to the mock-Elizabethan Pelican Inn in Muir Beach for lunch, making sure that as many people as possible saw us get out of the Rolls.
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Car Tech editor Wayne Cunningham stopped by one of his favorite wine merchants to pick up a couple of bottles of his favorite tipple.
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We just had time before lunch to catch up on our multi billion-dollar investment portfolio.
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An urban myth in England says that you can place a 50-pence piece on its edge on the hood (or bonnet) of a Rolls Royce and turn the engine on and the coin won't fall over. We did, and it didn't.
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With our dollar radar on, we turned our attention northwards for a cruise across the Golden Gate bridge into Marin County, where we figured the Rolls would be more at home.