Photo gallery: CNET's day out in the Rolls-Royce Phantom
The very rich, as F. Scott Fitzgerald observed, are different than 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.
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 vehicles.
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To begin our day, we gingerly guided the 19-foot Rolls out of the CNET garage. To assist us in our maneuvering, the car is equipped with a front and rear park-distance system with audible and visible signals.
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We started our day in an altruistic mood, and we programmed the Phantom's maple-trimmed navigation system to head for Oakland to pick up some CNET staffers and chauffeur them into the office.
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The first passenger on the list was CNET 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 backseat.
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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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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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In case of rain, we were safe in the knowledge that the Phantom had branded umbrellas built into its carriage doors that were accessible with the push of a button.
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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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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 it's a money radar to alert the uberrich owners of the car where they are likely to find like-minded souls.
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With our dollar radar on, we turned our attention northward for a cruise across the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County, where we figured the Rolls would be more at home.
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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 had time before lunch to catch up on our multibillion-dollar investment portfolio.
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The McDonald's drive-through just didn't seem like a becoming eatery for custodians of such a refined car. So we took 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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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 on the engine and the coin won't fall over. We did, and it didn't.
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After lunch, we picked up executive editors Scott Ard and Jai Singh and drove them around, earning ourselves 375,000 brownie points.