Royce models: there’s also Ghost, Wraith and Phantom in its limousine, coupe and drophead incarnations.
They’re all hand-built and unrelentingly extravagant, so supposing a Royce really is still the best car in the world, which one would it be: the least expensive because you get that same quality with a better value proposition, the one in the middle because it offers the broadest range of talents or the most rare and exclusive?
There’s no answer. I could tell you what the most expensive production car in the world is at the moment, I could tell you the fastest, I could tell you what the most high-tech one is and I could even put a data-based case forward for which car is the quietest.
None of the above is a Rolls-Royce and yet the company still embraces the ‘best car in the world’ epithet in its literature. Based on the feeling you get when you’re driving one, I couldn’t disagree. Even if I find it hard to quantify what ‘best’ actually means.
I do know that it’s more emotional and personal than rational. I remember quietly smirking when Mercedes-Benz launched the current S-Class and claimed in its media-release material that its aim was to build (you know it) “the best car in the world”. It might well be that the magnificent S-Class is a better luxury car than a Royce in many ways, but that doesn’t mean the ThreePointed Star can appropriate the term. Or the customer base for the best, if the history of Benz’s Maybach division from 1997-2013 is anything to go by.
It’s easy to overthink the issue. Especially when you consider that ‘best’ had a totally different meaning when it was first bestowed on RollsRoyce at the start of last century.
Then, as now, Royces were moneyno-object motor cars, but the marque’s real selling proposition was reliability. Back at the dawn of motoring, a car that could be completely relied upon to get you from A to B was both a rare and prized thing.
Rolls-Royce’s reputation for being the best was won through its performance in events like the seminal four-day, 1200km Scottish Reliability Trial of 1907, which managing director (and company founder) Claude Johnson completed in a Silver Ghost, with a total score of 976 points out of 1000.
So by those standards, the best car in the world now is probably a Toyota Corolla. That’s settled then.