End of an era for Rolls-Royce as Phantom VII returns to the shadows

Rolls-Royce Phantom Mk VII 2003 2017
This is the last Rolls-Royce Phantom VII to be built, but a new model is in the pipeline

The Rolls-Royce Phantom has reached the end of another chapter, as the seventh generation of the model ceases production at the firm's factory  in Goodwood, Sussex.

But the Phantom's history spans nearly a century and this certainly isn't the end of the model – Rolls-Royce has already announced plans to build a new car with the same name.

It will replace this popular Mark VII incumbent, which was introduced in 2003 and has enjoyed well over a decade at the very top of its game. It was the first Rolls-Royce to be released under the watchful gaze of BMW, and represented a significant change from what Rolls-Royce had been doing until that point.

The previous model, the ageing fifth generation Phantom, had been in production from 1968 to 1991. To put that into perspective, 1968 also saw the launch of the Triumph TR5, the Ferrari Daytona, and the Jaguar XJ, while in 1991 the automotive landscape contained the Peugeot 106, TVR Griffith and Bugatti EB 110.

As such, the new seventh generation car would have to be seriously impressive. Built for a new, global elite, the 2003 Phantom had 6.75-litre V12 engine, a 140.6-inch wheelbase, and the kind of ride quality that makes cobbled streets feel like carpet. 

Rolls-Royce's sales soared from the low hundreds into four figures almost instantly. For the next thirteen years, the Phantom would be an unlikely benchmark for luxury cars – with prices starting at around £350,000 it was certainly a niche product, but everybody knew its name. The company will be hoping for a similar effect when it launches its new SUV next year.

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