That’s how they Rolls with it
Wonder wheels: The Phantom casts its spell over showroom spectators
OPERATIC PHANTOM: Carriage-trade realtor Faith Wilson logged dream time in a bona fide carriage recently. It was a Rolls-Royce Phantom Pinnacle Travel. The final two words of that designation increase the price of regular Phantom long-wheelbase sedans by $180,000 to $829,000.
For $20,000 less than that, Wilson would put you into a 907-square-foot, two-bed, two-bath downtown condo, with gross taxes of $ 2,926 likely undercutting the Royce’s ICBC premium.
As for the special- edition Rolls-Royce, the quintessentially British but now German-owned maker launched it in Beijing last year. Only 15 will reportedly be offered worldwide, their total value being two-thirds of the $18.5 million Wilson got for a 38that-Angus mansion in January, 2014.
The Beijing launch’s prospective clientele was reflected at a reception Open Road dealer Christian Chia hosted at Rolls- Royce’s Vancouver showroom. Complementing the car’s somewhat rococo decor, Mandarin- speaking Showcase Pianos owner Manuel Bernaschek brought in a Fazioli seven-foot-six grand totally covered in gold leaf and tagged at $535,000.
Pro pianist Roy Tan gave it a workout while accompanying violinist Rosemary Siemens. So did Xinyi Wang, 7, and Ray Zhang, 8, who will play Carnegie Hall March 21. Bernaschek said his original client for the instrument saw a video of a prodigy playing it and demanded a 30-per-cent discount for it being “used.” Even demo Phantoms aren’t so steeply discounted.
Those seeking a same-name Rolls- Royce of pure British pedigree might fancy a launch-year 1925 Phantom I Sedanca De Ville (chauffeur usually sits in the open) advertised online for $195,000.
• TWENTY YEARS AGO: Internet marketing was less common in 1994 when this column began the new year by reporting on another British car gaining in value. It was a 1956 AC Bristol roadster for which local auto trader Bob Leflufy accepted an online offer of $42,000. Maybe he shouldn’t have. Self- same models now fetch $270,000 to $300,000.
• WALL’S WAY: As well as the occasional church choir, Wall Financial Corp. principal Peter Wall often adds circus- like flourishes to the annual Wall Ball he hosts. One banquet entailed Santa and a miniskirted elf strolling across a Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel ballroom to the surprise of diners below.
Twice, Holstein cows lumbered between tables. An ostrich did so, too. Then there are political animals like Premier Christy Clark and Mayor Gregor Robertson, both of whom Wall has supported. Clark attended the recent running as usual.
But his Worship begged off to take a Hawaii vacation, albeit less publicly celebratory than an earlier office holder’s.
Attendees look forward to the events because they don’t pay, parking is free, the food is a cut above, there are no charity pitches, no silent-auction displays, no far- from- silent auctioneer flogging things they don’t want.
Nor, despite the premier’s presence, are there speeches about LNG or our other pathways to the New Jerusalem.
• UP PARRYSCOPE: It was a victory of sorts for raccoons to find their way to Victory Square’s adequate if not rich food pickings.
• FRENCHY’S IMMERSION: After 24 years as maitre d’, Robert ( Frenchy) Gagné is synonymous enough with Joe Fortes restaurant to conduct swimming lessons in English Bay. Instead, he’s in director Tim Burton’s film Big Eyes, portraying a maitre d’ named Henri.
Gagné’s thespian moonlighting is no surprise. After greeting endless moviebiz biggies at the eatery-drinkery’s roof garden, an invitation to play himself was inevitable. While doing so in the 2006shot Fantastic Four sequel, he demanded that a professional flambé pan replace the “Mickey Mouse” one furnished on set. Good move. “They hired me as an extra, and paid me as an effects specialist,” Gagné recalled. Ever insistent on things being just so, he said his Big Eyes scene runs for “7.8 seconds.”
• WIMPY R. I. P.: Dec. 7 was an ironic day for Sudden Death Records founder Joe Keithley.
That’s when longtime musician- friend Brian Goble died suddenly at age 57 while caring for the Portland Hotel Society’s needy clients. Stage-named Wimpy Roy, Goble played with Keithley in The Skulls punk-rock band, then for 14 years in the D. O. A. ensemble Keithley founded. With the Frank Frink Five and Bughouse Five joining D.O.A. and Subhumans veterans, Keithley will stage an admission-by-donation benefit for Goble’s family at the Wise Hall Jan. 6. Should be a blast.
• DOWN PARRYSCOPE: The traditional bidding “Rise Sir Simon” would have been apt when so-called father of Viagra Dr. Simon Campbell received a knighthood Jan. 1.