Dallas – Some one-hundred years after Charles Rolls joined Henry Royce in appropriating the world’s most famous hyphenate, I’m standing on the driveway of a North Dallas mansion – at the invitation of Rolls-Royce Motorcars Dallas – pondering a still-covered Rolls-Royce. Chuck, I think, would understand the heightened drama (he was – after all – the marketing guy) created by the car cover, while Hank would simply want to get on with it. Please. No matter, really; while waiting for the unveiling of Rolls-Royce’s new Dawn convertible there’s quite a bit to take in, including the invited guests.
You can be around upscale, expensive cars all of your adult life, which I’ve been as an observer, and never fail to be taken in by the allure of the Rolls-Royce. As a reader of Ralph Stein as a kid, the majesty of a Rolls-Royce literally jumped from the pages of his coffee table books. They may have shared the binding with big, brutish Bentleys and almost feminine Bugattis, but the Rolls stood alone for its unique combination of elegance and – believe it or not – elegant simplicity. Regardless of era, a Rolls-Royce succeeds by overstating the understated.
While waiting for 6:15, the appointed hour for the undressing, we had a chance to kick tires. The Rolls-Royce Motorcars Dallas upscale emporium on Dallas’ Rodeo Drive (Lemmon Avenue) is home to an absolute bevy of beautiful machines, including – of course – Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jag-u-ar and McLaren. We chose McLaren, using a Park Place customer as temporary guide. And while thinking the juxtaposition of low-slung McLaren and Rolls-Royce might be off-putting, it was anything but. Both beautifully represent the character of Great Britain, where rich men are often seen in the company of fast men. You know, bow to the queen and then – FORCHRISTSAKE, MAN – step on it.
Another visual worth considering was the smaller (but not small) Rolls-Royce Ghost. Sharing its basic underpinnings with the BMW 7-Series, the Ghost is the one Rolls you could actually envision parking in your own garage – by your own self. Classically proportioned, the Ghost is what Henry Royce would drive today, when not taking Uber. We remain intrigued, and when pre-owned Ghosts get down to around $29,500 (they currently bring about $200K) we’d like to have one.
The Dawn’s about to be unwrapped, so I grab one last drink and stand near the evening’s centerpiece. We know it’s a convertible, but the cover conceals a three-box architecture; it must be top up before going top down. While waiting we speculate on what’s been pitched as a ‘striking, seductive encounter’ might actually mean; at the end of a longish day the premise is more than a little stressful. Regardless, the clock strikes 6:15 and we’re properly lubed and ready to go.
After some introductory remarks by a couple of nicely modulated suits, the wrap comes off. And suddenly, it’s the Dawn of a New Era. Or the New Dawn. Or, we think, Sunshine Superman! Regardless of what you call it, this newest droptop Rolls is jaw-dropping in its almost (but not quite) understated beauty. Despite its cruiser-like proportions and ample room for four, this is an extremely personal statement – at least for those with outsized personalities. As the cover is fully removed, men nod approvingly while women softly swoon. And while there are few children present, I believe I saw one of them spill a tear, knowing that it’s between this and an Ivy League education…
Dallas’ Rolls-Royce Motorcars Dallas is now taking deposits on the new Rolls-Royce Dawn. Expect to pay something north of $350K if buying, the monthly payment on a small Uptown (Dallas) condo if leasing. Cheerio, then…