Archive for Limousine

Cadillac: The Standard of Excellence

Posted in "As the Standard of the World Turns", Cadillac, Cadillac Historical, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

A tribute to the traditional Cadillac

Lead photo

…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

Tradition

Cadillac was once a formidable brand in the automotive industry. It was the standard of excellence in every aspect…superb fit & finish, remarkable engineering, absolute power…and prestige beyond belief world-wide. No automobile in the world achieved the admiration and respect as a Cadillac. Whatever one desired in a high-end luxury automobile…Cadillac either offered it or was in the process of building it. Always the innovator…always the epitome of luxury…and always the leader!

Fleetwood-bodied, hand-crafted automobiles catapulted the brand to an even higher standard of automotive excellence. The Cadillac DeVilles were and remain America’s favorite luxury cars. The formidable Eldorado had the entire industry in awe…with its poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac. Whether one chose the elegant open tourer, a spacious four-door sedan, the personal luxury of a two-door hardtop coupé, or a luxurious limousine…Cadillac designed and built the industry’s finest. NotoriousLuxury rekindles the passion of this lost art… in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

Crest 1

The Cadillac crest

Crest 4 1963 B

1963 Cadillac crest

Crest 4 1963

The famous insignia that adorns the legend is a coat of arms from the French de la Mothe Cadillac family. It was registered as an American trademark on August 6, 1906. In the language of ancient heraldry it’s described as: “Quarterly, the first and fourth gold…a fess sable between three Merlettes of the same – posed two in chief and one in base. Second and third gules quartering argent…three bars azure.”

What does this mean? Translated, it describes a quartered shield with the uppermost left and lower right corners gold containing black bands with two legless birds above and one below the band. The uppermost right and lower left corners contain two red quarters, and two silver quarters with blue bars. The “couronne” or coronet is for the six counts of France. For symmetry, the original de la Mothe Cadillac family arms and the trademark of 1906 contain seven round pearls. Evolution of the crest through the years has displayed as many as 18 but no less than seven.

Crest 2 1941 B

1941 Cadillac crest

Crest 2 1941

Crest 3 1955 B

1955 Cadillac crest

Crest 3 1955

The first and fourth quarters represent the de la Mothe arms. The Merlettes are ancient heraldic adaptations of the Martin and are shown without beaks and legs. The Merlettes are given for a difference to young brothers to signify, in order to raise themselves they are to look to the wings of virtue and merit; and not to rely on the legs having but little land to set their feet upon. The second and third quarters were added to the de la Mothe arms to signify the favorable marriage which increased their estates. The red stands for prowess and boldness in action…the silver for purity, charity, virtue, and plenty. The azure blue signifies knightly valor – 

Fleetwood crest B

Fleetwood laurel wreath and Cadillac crest

Fleetwood crest

The laurel wreath augmenting the crest was used for Fleetwood…the senior most models in the hierarchy. DeVilles, Calais, and Series 62 models used a prominent “V” under the crest in either gold or silver. Contemporary Cadillac models use an abstract interpretation of this legendary design. Some agree this new design separates the make-believe Cadillacs from the genuine “Standard of the World” editions…

Crest 5 1965 B

1965 Cadillac crest

Crest 5 1965

Crest 6 1974 B

1974 Cadillac DeVille crest

Crest 6 1974

1959B tail fin

The formidable fins – 

1948 tail fin

1948

1949 tail fin

1949

Cadillac’s chief designer Harley Earl “started the dance” of which the entire automotive industry followed suit. This man designed Cadillac masterworks. It was his 1948 Cadillac creation that started it all – he designed the 1948-1949 Cadillacs patterned after the Lockheed P-38 war-time aircraft.

The beautifully tailored fins are artfully integrated into the rear fenders. These are separate bolt-on features which flow gracefully into the doors. Within a few years, tail fins sprouted in every division at GM…not to mention how the rest of the industry emulated but could not replicate the design. Harley Earl and Chrysler’s chief designer Virgil Exner instigated the “Tail Fin Wars” of the 1950s.

1952 tail fin

1952

1953 tail fin

1953

The next tail fin design appeared on the 1950-1953 Cadillacs. They have the same basic style only a bit more elegant and refined. Back-up lamps were moved from below the rear deck lid and repositioned beneath the taillamps for the 1951 model. Cadillac is one of the early pioneers of back-up lamps. The basic theme of the taillamp/back-up lamp combo ran through the 1956 model year designs.

1954 tail fin

1954

1955 tail fin

1955

1956 tail fin

1956

The 1954 model year introduced a higher tail fin to offset the overall lower silhouette. Cadillacs were redesigned to be longer, lower, and wider than previous models. The fins are more “kicked-up.” This is the most remembered style establishing Cadillac as the tail fin leader. This design went basically unchanged from 1954 until 1956. Cadillac didn’t redesign their offerings from a blinding flash of inspiration…change was evolutionary. The 1955 Eldorado sported its own unique shark-fin design which inspired the next model year for the standard Cadillac.

1956 Eldorado tail fin

1955-1956 Eldorado

1957 tail fin

1957

1957-1958 Eldorado tail fin

1957-1958 Eldorado “Chipmunk-Cheeks”

For the 1957 model year the tail fins were completely redesigned for the standard Cadillac models. They are a modified version from the 1955 Eldorado. The fins are lower and tapered into the architecture fashionably. The 1957 Eldorados received their own distinctive tail fin redesign. They are a bit sharper and more prominent than the previous version.

Rounded faired-in fenders received the nickname “Chipmunk-Cheeks” because of the appearance for the rear-end design of the Eldorados. The 1957-1958 Eldorado Seville and Biarritz used their new design; however, this was not inherited by any other Cadillac models. The 1957-1958 Cadillacs sported an even lower silhouette than previous designs. Automobiles were becoming more streamlined…Cadillac led the way in the entire industry with elegant designs, impeccable craftsmanship, and that poised dignity which was the hallmark of every Cadillac.

1958 tail fin

1958

1958 Eldorado Brougham tail fin

1957-1958 Series 70 Eldorado Brougham

1959 tail fin

1959

Tail fin drama continued. The tail fin shocker came with the 1959 redesign. The iconic 1959 Cadillac tail fins are the tallest and the largest in the industry. All Cadillac models shared the same design. They represent American excess to the hilt. Either you love ‘em or you hate ‘em…there is no in-between. Some say they are the summit of gaudiness…some say they are elegant, and then there are some who are undecided. Because of this controversy – 1959 Cadillacs especially Eldorados, fetch six figures easily on the auction block.

1960 tail fin

1960

1961 tail fin

1961

1962 tail fin

1962

Refinement for the mighty tail fin began the 1960 model year. The designers knocked them down a notch planing them into the architecture for a cleaner look. The restrained use of ornamentation also provided an understatement of Cadillac elegance. From 1960 onward, the tail fin began to disappear into oblivion. The 1961 model trimmed the fins tastefully and added lower fins called “Skegs” to the redesign. They were trimmed again for the 1962 model year. The finale for the beloved fins is the 1963-1964 model years. They disappeared completely for the all-new 1965 redesign. Cadillac will always be remembered for luxury, opulence, and tail fins!

1963 tail fin

1963

1964 tail fin

1964

1965 tail fin

1965…tail fins are banished into history

1966 tail fin

1966

1967 tail fin

1967 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1967-1969 Eldorado tail fin

1967-1969 Fleetwood Eldorado

1968 tail fin

1968 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1969 tail fin

1969 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1970 tail fin

1970 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1970 Eldorado tail fin

1970 Fleetwood Eldorado

1971 tail fin

1971-1972 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1971-1972 Eldorado tail fin

1971-1972 Fleetwood Eldorado

1973 tail fin

1973 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1973 Eldorado tail fin

1973 Eldorado

1974-1976 tail fin

1974-1976 Calais, DeVille, and Fleetwood

1974-1976 Eldorado tail fin

1974-1976 Eldorado

1977-78 Eldorado

1977-1978 Eldorado

Pink Cadillac 3

The luxury of choice

Pink Cadillac 1

The traditional Cadillac offered more body styles than any other luxury car manufacturer. There is no more romantic architecture than a Cadillac convertible. They are the glamour cars of the stars. The elegant open tourers are still the most desired convertibles in the entire world. These elegant Cadillac creations have inspired music by Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley with “Pink Cadillac.” They have inspired movies such as “The Solid Gold Cadillac” with Judy Holiday in 1954. They were also used in parades such as the very first Cadillac Eldorado of 1953 driven in the inaugural parade for Dwight D. Eisenhower.

And we cannot forget the 1973 Eldorado convertible pace car for the 57th 500 Mile International Sweepstakes held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Wednesday May 30, 1973. There is no more dramatic manner in which to travel Cadillac-style than open air motoring in an elegant Cadillac convertible coupé. Whether it be the classic Series 62…the classic DeVille…or the “Gilded One” it is the ONLY way to travel…Cadillac-style – 

Pink Cadillac 2

1959 Series 62 convertible

Pink Cadillac 4

Pink Cadillac 5

1957 Fleetwood 1

1957 Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special

1957 Fleetwood 2

The most distinguished automobiles in all of motordom are the impeccably hand-crafted Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs. This is luxury on the grand Cadillac scale…in the grand Cadillac manner. These most revered models are more than austere, ostentatious bling as today’s kitschy-faux make-believe luxury cars. The Fleetwood-bodied Cadillacs are the most luxurious owner and chauffeur-driven models in the history of the brand. All Fleetwood crafted cars were built on their own dedicated assembly lines. Their individually longer wheelbases provide more rear seat passenger room.

The magnificent Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special Broughams are decadently luxurious with ultra-exclusive accommodations that offer limousine-style luxury in an owner-driven sedan. It is the Fleetwood Series Sixty-Special that reinforced the “Standard of the World” title. Unfortunately…there will never, ever, be another hand-crafted Cadillac Fleetwood…they epitomized the brand’s integrity as the finest automobiles on the planet. No car in the luxury automobile arena could have been made more personally yours than a Cadillac Fleetwood. Will there ever be another LUXURIOUS Cadillac to be the pride of the US…and the envy of the world?

1957 Fleetwood 4

1957 Fleetwood 5

1957 Fleetwood 3

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 1

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 2

The most eloquent sedans in the world are the Cadillac Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five nine-passenger sedan and Imperial formal limousine. Executive-style grace with spacious accommodations is expedited in a refined and most dignified manner. This is the ultimate expression of the “Standard of the World.” These opulent sedans are still seen at foreign embassies, palaces, and in the driveways of luxurious estates. Some things are just too good to be forgotten.

These hand-crafted Fleetwood-bodied masterpieces will still be in service…when today’s make-believe luxury cars are rusting in peace at the local scrap yard. Cadillac commercial chassis were popular as ambulances during the 1950s throughout the 1970s because of their notorious reliability and high-speed capabilities. They were also built as hearses of the utmost dignity. Some mortuaries still have them in service just because…there is nothing in today’s market that even comes close to the poised dignity that was the hallmark of every traditional Cadillac Fleetwood –

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 4

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 5

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 7

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 6

1959 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 3

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 1

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 2

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 3

Good taste never goes out of style…

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 4

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 5

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 6

1976 Fleetwood Series Seventy-Five 8

1970 Coupe deVille 1

1970 Coupe deVille

1970 Coupe deVille 4

America’s sweethearts –

The Cadillac DeVille remains America’s favorite luxury car. They are available as the Coupe deVille, Sedan deVille, and the DeVille convertible. They enjoyed the highest resale value and repeat ownership of any American-built luxury car. The elegant Coupe deVille and Sedan deVille sold more automobiles than the combined aggregate totals of the competitors.

The Cadillac DeVille ruled the industry from 1949 until the 2004 model year when it became the DTS; maintaining the poised dignity Cadillac invented. The Cadillac DeVilles are among the most successful and longest production runs in the history of the brand. Their preeminence in the luxury car arena is achieved through years of growth and innovation. These elegant motorcars stole the hearts of enthusiasts world-wide in one svelte swoop.

1970 Coupe deVille 5

1970 Coupe deVille 6

1970 Coupe deVille 10

1976 Sedan deVille 1

1976 Sedan deVille

1976 Sedan deVille 5

1976 Sedan deVille 2

1976 Sedan deVille 4

1976 Sedan deVille 3

1976 Sedan deVille 8

Their six-passenger roominess combined with legendary Cadillac comfort and conveniences are what retained their following annually. They are smooth, responsive, and quiet beyond belief. The Coupe deVille is the only two-door luxury car that offers as much interior room as the competitor’s four-door sedan. It was the primary choice among the ladies with its intimate personal luxury and high style. Features and accessories were available to make it as unique as its driver.

The Sedan deVille is the luxury sedan that doubles as a family sedan. With its four-door convenience, it is like your own personal limousine. It was the perennial favorite among luxury car buyers. The Sedan deVille offered more comfort and convenience features and accessories as standard equipment than its competition. Open air touring with a youthful zest makes the DeVille convertible the number one choice among convertible lovers. Its fully automatic, power folding fabric roof disappeared at the touch of a button. The DeVille is the grandest of all open tourers…Cadillac-style. Its luxury has no peer. The Cadillac DeVille was the only luxury convertible built in the land at the time. It is one of the world’s most dramatic automobiles.

1970 DeVille 3

1970 DeVille convertible

1970 DeVille 5

1970 DeVille 6

1970 DeVille 7

1976 Eldo convt 4

1976 Eldorado convertible

1976 Eldo convt 2

No story regarding Cadillac could be complete without mention of “The Gilded One.” The totally avant-garde Eldorado was the Flagship from Cadillac the entire world will never forget. They became the most dramatic models in the history of the brand. Elegance, innovation, and engineering excellence made them one of the world’s most desired dream cars. The Eldorado introduced styling, features, and accessories that eventually found their way to other future models.

The superb Cadillac engineering, advanced design and dedication to excellence spawned the formidable 1967 Fleetwood Eldorado. It is the ultimate personal luxury automobile. The Fleetwood Eldorado is the only car in the world to successfully combine the positive traction of front-wheel drive, the agility of Variable Ratio Power Steering, and the perfect balance of Automatic Level Control. During its tenure, the Cadillac Eldorado was available as a convertible coupé, a two-door hardtop coupé, and an ultra-luxurious four-door hardtop sedan. They were the glamour cars of the 1950s through the 1970s…and remain so –

1976 Eldo convt 3

1976 Eldo convt 6

1976 Eldo convt 7

1956 Series 62 convt 1

1956 Series 62 convertible

1956 Series 62 convt 4

The traditional Cadillac was the most desired automobile in the entire world. It was the standard of excellence and second to none in the manufacture of luxury motorcars. It is a legend, and an American institution. A Fleetwood-bodied Cadillac is a hand-crafted masterpiece from the master craftsmen that garnered the title of the “Standard of the World.” The DeVilles remain America’s favorite luxury cars in every respect. The Eldorado began as the Flagship and evolved into the finest personal luxury car in the world. Cadillac had a luxury car for every luxury car buyer…whether coupé, convertible coupé, sedan, or an opulent limousine – the only way to travel…was Cadillac-style. NotoriousLuxury salutes the traditional Cadillac…in the continuing saga of “As the Standard of the World Turns.”

1956 Series 62 convt 3

Special thanks to the finest classic automobile dealers in the business: Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars, Bob Adams Classic Cars, Jim Hailey’s Classic Cars, MJC Classic Cars, Park Ward Motors Museum, and Matt Garrett & GM Classics. You are the best in the industry!

1956 Series 62 convt 5

1956 Series 62 convt 7

1956 Series 62 convt 6

“As the Standard of the World Turns”

Greg's World

NotoriousLuxury IS Greg’s World…

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Crown Jewel: 1964 Ghia Landau Crown Imperial Limousine

Posted in Chrysler, Classic American Marques, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Imperial, Luxury Sedans with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

The epitome of limousine luxury…

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A Ghia Landau Crown Imperial is an ultra-rare collector’s dream. Ghia, one of the foremost automobile coachbuilders in the world was commissioned to build these opulent vehicles. There were only 10 built for the all-new body style in 1964. An Imperial is luxurious as it is…add the distinction of Ghia luxury refinement and it became even more provocative.

Only 132 of these magnificent hand-crafted limousines were built from 1957 until 1965 when production ceased. These are highly sought by connoisseurs world-wide. They are highly bespoke works of automotive art that offer an extraordinary degree of creature comforts.

Ghia Landau Crown Imperial

1965 Ghia Landau Crown Imperial Limousine one of 10 built

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The Crown Imperial Limousine stands alone in a world where individuality has virtually disappeared…unlike today’s mass-production nightmares that are made twice as fast and equally as horrid. The Crown Imperial is the ultimate expression of dynamism and luxury. The formidable Imperial is a legend of automotive superiority…a Crown Imperial Limousine is motoring in the grand manner. These elite motorcars are unsurpassed in dignity, comfort, and elegance. They are the most aristocratic of all chauffeured American automobiles –

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A custom-crafted Ghia Landau Crown Imperial Limousine is the absolute pinnacle of limousine luxury and distinction. Ghia designed and hand-built highly bespoke automobiles that are valuable and will become priceless collectibles. Giacinto Ghia and Gariglio established Carrozzeria Ghia & Gariglio of Turin, Italy in 1916. Ghia Limousines are some of the rarest and most collectible automobiles in existence. The 1964 Crown Imperial Limousine is among the world’s last coachbuilt masterpieces. Production by Ghia has always been kept at a highly restricted pace which gave the company’s products even greater exclusivity and supremacy.

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1955 Crown Imperial 8 passenger sedan

1956 Imperial Limousine

1956 Imperial Limousine

1956 2

1956 3

In the early days of  Virgil Exner’s “Forward Look,” 1955 and 1956 models were way too expensive to build and make a profit. The tooling for a new limousine cost well over $3,300,000. Due to relatively low sales of less than 400 vehicles, it was not cost-effective to continue without exceeding the company budget. The corporate bean counters decided outsourcing was the most cost efficient manner to expedite the limousines in order to lower factory burden and make a profit.

The search began in the USA but was fruitless. Chrysler consulted with Carrozzeria Ghia and their association resulted in a positive collaboration as it had previously. This isn’t the first venture between the two. Wages for skilled labor was much lower in Italy than here in the US. Ghia and Chrysler came to an agreement which kept actual costs affordable to Chrysler. The contractual agreement was that Ghia would do all of the custom conversion work and deliver the cars to the USA ready to drive.

1957 tail

1957

The production of these magnificent automobiles was expensive, even farming out the work to Ghia. There were issues from time to time which added to the financial burden. The first Ghia limos required larger tires that had to be retrofitted. All electrical components and wiring had to be checked and repaired when the vehicles were shipped to the USA because these systems were too complicated for the Italian workers at the time. And of course there were the tariffs and other administrative protocol to manage.

1957 Ghia Landau Crown Imperial

The designers at Chrysler went to work on the new project. The 1957 Imperial was a suitable base, and it was newly designed. It was also the most popular Imperial in the history of the brand outselling each and every subsequent model year. The wheelbase was decided to be 149.5” with an overall length of 244.7” and a height of 58.5” which proved to be feasible.

A full-size mock-up was created using the extra rigid convertible chassis with reinforced “X” frame. An Imperial hardtop coupe bodyshell on the 129” wheelbase was used. The interior was stripped and packed with parts for the conversion. Four sedan doors, window glass, a fully wired dash, double air conditioning unit, leather for upholstery, carpet, and other miscellaneous parts were coordinated so that nothing was lost during the transport to Italy.

1957 3

1957 2

The hand-crafting included sectioning the body and frame to lengthen and reinforce the platform. Ghia was so fastidious with the welds that one would have to search really hard to see where the sections were added, they were as smooth as the single-piece frame it began as. The doors were built higher and a reconfigured roof structure to accommodate the revisions was necessary.

All of the custom hand-crafting was expedited by the artisans at Ghia without body-stamping dies or an assembly line…completely oblivious to the fact of how many man hours were spent. It could take up to and including 17 hours alone just to adjust the doors and fenders for the all-important shut lines to within 1/6” tolerances. This type of dedication would have not existed without extreme remuneration to workers in this country.

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Conversions of this magnitude require diligence, tenacity, and an extreme desire to be the best in the industry. Aside from the hours upon end revising structural modifications, the final finish is contingent upon what’s underneath the paint. After all the joints are filled, the body is coated with 165 lbs. of solder. It was then rinsed in dilute acid to clean the surface in preparation for the zinc chromate primer. Special highlighting primers augment flaws and imperfections that need to be corrected.

After all surfaces are properly prepared, several coats of lacquer are applied and hand-polished between each coat to build the shine’s depth. Now here’s a step that is protocol for custom coach crafters which has been completely overlooked and forgotten in today’s mass-produced, I need it yesterday world. There is an application of a sepia and water mixture which gives the finish a diamond-hard, mirror-like reflection. The elegant limousines were available in black, brown, dark green, and dark blue. The total transformation took around 30 days.

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In the limousine world, it’s the interior and its amenities that make the first impression. The 1964 Ghia Landau Crown Imperial Limousine exhibited extraordinary good taste. Unlike a “stretch” limousine which is merely a lengthened standard luxury sedan; the Crown Imperial is built specifically as a limousine. From the cowl rearward everything is refined to reflect the quality of a custom crafted automobile.

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The seat frames for both compartments are custom-made by Ghia specifically crafted for the Landau Crown Imperial Limousine. The driver’s compartment is upholstered in black leather with a unique sew-style that conceals the stitching. The driver’s seat is wider and graciously contoured. The passenger compartment is luxuriously cushioned and covered in an elegant broad cloth, the stitching is also concealed. Even the framework on the auxiliary jump-seats is intricate.

Five interior color schemes were offered in grey or beige with opulent mouton carpets. The interior accents are dyed to match the broadcloth upholstery for a dramatic monochromatic look. The carpeted floor mats are leather-bound with a fastening system underneath to keep them stationary. Creature comforts are designed to cosset its passengers in complete exclusivity. The passenger compartment has complete modification over the standard styling.  Hardware is custom cast and richly chrome plated. The garnish moldings are ½” thick genuine richly grained hand-crafted walnut.

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The passenger compartment has its own separate heating and air conditioning controls. The left rear armrest conceals the controls. The trunk houses the A/C evaporator. The unique heater is an under seat unit with chrome ducts at the base of the armrests. The right rear seat armrest houses the controls for the radio. Four-button chrome window switches are mounted on both side panels that operate windows, door locks, overhead lighting, and the power glass privacy partition. The rear doors are lockable from the outside and have different keys than the front doors.

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The 1964 Ghia Landau Crown Imperial Limousine weighed 6,100 lbs. and had a base price of $18,500 USD. It rides a commanding 149.5” wheelbase, has the extreme-luxury length of 248.3” and is 80” in width. It is powered by the Chrysler RB-Series 413 CID Wedge-head 6.8 litre 16-valve naturally aspirated V8 engine. It produces 340 hp @ 4,600 rpm with 637 Nm of peak torque @ 2,800 rpm. The engine is mated to the Chrysler TorqueFlite automatic torque converter with 3-speed planetary gear set.

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Special thanks to Conceptcarz

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4 window 1

This four-window version is the rarest of all Crown Imperials

Rare 4 window

Rare 4 window 2

Rare 4 window 3

Notice the primitive telephone system…

Rare 4 window 4

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1964 Ghia Landau Crown Imperial owned by Richard Rowlands

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Here are the production totals from 1957 through 1965: 36 were built in 1957, 31 were built for 1958, 7 were built for 1959, 16 were built for 1960, 9 were built for 1961, there were none built for 1962, 13 were built for 1963, 10 were built for 1964, and 10 were built for the 1965 model year when Ghia production ceased for Chrysler. It is rumored the contract was precluded because Ghia had no experience with unibody construction. Imperials were built as body on frame construction from 1957 until 1966.

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Ghia coachwork is the pinnacle of automotive design. The fastidious hand-crafting is evident in this luxury barouche. The Ghia Landau Crown Imperial Limousine is the last of the magnificent motorcars. Ghia coachcrafting could be compared to that of Mulliner Park Ward, James Young, or even Derham. Ghia escalates the incomparable Imperial to absolute superlative. Every square inch of the 1964 Ghia Landau Crown Imperial Limousine makes a bold statement. It’s mesmerizing like a siren…when one gets close enough to it, they are entranced by the opulence of its sheer beauty, combined with the exemplary fit and finish. This was the end of the grandest motoring era in automotive history…

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1960 Ghia Landau Crown Imperial

“Smiling” for the camera is a 1960 Crown Imperial Limousine

1960 Ghia Landau Crown Imperial 2

Photos courtesy of the On-line Imperial Club

The Green Hornet

Any guy that grew up in the 1960s will remember the Black Beauty from the TV series “The Green Hornet” starring Van Williams as Britt Reid and Bruce Lee as the indomitable Kato. Dean Jeffries, custom car designer and builder was commissioned to build the famous Black Beauty. It began as a 1966 Imperial Crown hardtop sedan. Jeffries built two cars one of which resides in the Petersen Museum Collection purchased for over $192,000 in December of 2003.

The Black Beauty has fully functional fighting gadgetry as there were no digital effects back in 1966. The cars are equipped with front and rear facing rocket banks, front and rear gas, oil, water, smoke cannons, rotating headlamps four of which are green and two in white, and rotating license plates. They also had a closed circuit TV and  a rear seat cellular telephone (yes, back in 1966), brooms that swept away its tire tracks, and a host of other self-defense gadgetry. Now this is NotoriousLuxury!

Dean Jeffries

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Jay D'Angelo's 1964 Imperial Convertible 1

Jay D’Angelo’s 1964 Imperial Convertible

Jay D'Angelo's 1964 Imperial Convertible 3

Jay D'Angelo's 1964 Imperial Convertible 2

Jay D'Angelo's 1964 Imperial Convertible 4

Eric Ruud's 1964 Imperial Coupe

Eric Ruud’s 1964 Imperial Coupe

Lupe Rodriguez's 1964 Imperial Crown Coupe 1

Lupe Rodriguez’s 1964 Imperial Crown Coupe

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Will there ever be more automotive masterpieces?

The End

The 1964 Ghia Landau Crown Imperial Limousine

The Incomparable Rolls Royce Phantom

Posted in Classic Exotic Luxury, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Rolls Royce with tags , , , , on December 7, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

“Nil fato relinquemus”

Phantom Leader

The Phantom is the most provocative Rolls Royce

1967 2

4The epitome of Rolls Royce motorcars is the incomparable Phantom. This is a distinguished line of formal saloons, each one is hand-crafted to be the quintessential Flagship. With their coachbuilt bodywork and highly bespoke nature, no two are ever alike. Each masterwork exhibits the rare richness of the Rolls Royce tradition. A Phantom, throughout each series, offers the kind of satisfaction only a carefully made and individually crafted work of art can give. Each Rolls Royce Phantom is made by craftsmen whose devotion to excellence is legend. The automobile they make appeals to the most discerning clientele in the world. Whether it be a classic Phantom Series I – VI, or the contemporary Phantom saloon…it is a unique one-of-a-kind Rolls Royce experience, in the grand Rolls Royce manner.

1928 Phantom I

The Phantom I was built from 1925 until 1931. A US and a UK version was built in Springfield, Massachusetts and Derby in the UK. These are formal limousines with bespoke coachbuilt bodies. During their production, 3,512 were made. They are powered by 7.6 litre In-line 6-cylinder engines with three or four speed manual transmissions. Trim and specifications varied because of their bespoke nature.

1928 Phantom I 2

1928 Phantom I 3

1928 Phantom I 4

1928 Phantom I 5

Photos courtesy Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars

1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom Springfield Riviera Town Brougham by Brewster

1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom Springfield Riviera Town Brougham by Brewster

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Today’s Phantom is now in its Series II genre and is available in a standard and extended wheelbase version. These eminent saloons may be chauffeur-driven for formal use. A power glass division may be requested for the ultimate in privacy and discretion. The Phantom is the latest manifestation of Rolls Royce art. They offer an incomparable blend of exemplary craftsmanship, advanced technology, comfort, and refinement.

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dash control center

The Phantom Extended Wheelbase (EWB) saloon includes an 8.8” control center display with hard drive-based Navigation system. A new rotary controller organizes information and is more user-friendly. It offers improved connectivity through smartphone cradle, USB, and Aux-in options.

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The Rolls Royce experience is augmented by its luxurious cabin. The elegant forward-opening rear coach doors close automatically at the touch of a button. An electronic lock prevents them from being opened while the car is in motion. If a coach door is open when driving off, your Rolls Royce will brake to the equivalence of “walking speed.” Umbrellas are thoughtfully placed into each rear door accessible when either front door is opened. The umbrellas are made with a Teflon coating so they, and the compartment they are stored in dry out faster.

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There is another world within a Rolls Royce. It’s a world of comfort…elegant comfort. All of the senses are tantalized…the aromatic scent of the hand-stitched Connolly leather is intoxicating. The leather crafting takes nine matching hides. It is processed to yield high-quality, durability, and longer life. It is drum dyed and pre-shrunk. It won’t squeak nor crack through the use of this patented process which takes two weeks. The front and rear seats are not only electrically adjustable but also heated for comfort.

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The highly polished mirror-matched veneers provide the eye candy. Each automobile uses a set of veneers that comes from the same tree. Walnut, Elm, Malabar, and dark Wenge are the classic burrs available. Cross-banding with fine inlayed boxwood beading is also available for  a unique distinction. The “cush” of luxurious 100% wool hand-tufted carpets are underfoot – A Rolls Royce in all its majesty cossets one in the sheer lap of luxury. Being a highly bespoke saloon it may be commissioned to exacting requirements to be as distinctively individual as your very own signature –

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A Rolls Royce Phantom is a highly bespoke saloon and may be configured to meet the demands of its owner. The rear compartment of both Phantoms either short or long wheelbase versions may be equipped as rolling boardrooms for the exec who must work while traveling. Entertainment and multi-media systems are available which includes an on-board hard drive mounted in the boot. Four and five seat configurations are available.

The Entertainment Theatre configuration option has two high-resolution 12” monitors that fold into the backs of the front seats. The backs of the monitors may be veneered to compliment the cabin. Bluetooth applications as well as iPad stations are just two of the custom communications systems available.  It is equipped with wireless keyboards, and remote controls for each rear seat passenger to operate everything in the car.

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1933 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM II 2

The elegant Phantom II was built from 1929 until 1936 with only 1,820 made. This series Phantom used two different wheelbases, 150” extended version with a 144” as standard. Both offered more body style solutions from various coachbuilders. They are powered by the 7.7 litre OHV Straight-6 engine with a cross flow cylinder head. They used 4-speed manual gearboxes.

1933 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM II 3

1933 ROLLS-ROYCE PHANTOM II

Illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy

The traditional Spirit of Ecstasy Flying Goddess is equipped with a sensor in its base and will retract into the radiator grille if tampered with. It may also be retracted by the driver-controlled button, or when the alarm is armed. It will also retract to protect pedestrians in the event of an accident, which is thoughtful; however, with something this large and powerful striking a pedestrian, that hood ornament is gonna be the lessor of all the evils involved here –

Spirit of Ecstasy 2

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A new camera system projects images from all around the car. It includes front and side cameras. The rear and top views aid parking. The top view gives a 360 degree view of the car from above that shows potential objects in all directions.

Every Rolls Royce motorcar is the natural successor to the previous model. Styling is more than just a means of giving shape to a motorcar. Functionality, operating efficiency, ease of serviceability, and long life are paramount to Rolls Royce…rather than the passing trends in form and fancy.

The engineers do not ignore the latest technology and techniques in their quest for perfection. There will always be a perfect blending of traditional materials and advanced engineering. Every detail of a Rolls Royce motorcar from the interior trim to the exterior door handles must accomplish their function intended, they must be as aesthetically pleasing, and as near perfect as possible.

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The sophisticated architecture is eloquently understated. A Phantom is strikingly individual, contemporary, yet timeless in design. Its clean sweeping lines are void of unnecessary ornamentation. Rolls Royce DNA is evident throughout its design. The silhouette of classic Phantoms is deftly etched into the delicate waist rail that ends in a graceful curve at the front wings. The wide “C” pillars allow rear seat passengers to recline out of sight.

Adaptive LED headlamps have a unique daytime running lamp bar that runs through the center. Dipped and high beam lamps illuminate the top and bottom of the lamp sections.

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1936 Phantom III Sedanca deVille 1

1936 Phantom III Sedanca deVille

1936 Phantom III Sedanca deVille 2

The Phantom III was built from 1936 until 1939 and only 727 were made. This was to be one of the last of the large pre-war Rolls Royce models, but was not. It is powered by a 7.3 litre V12 engine mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. These were also highly bespoke coachbuilt models therefore specifications will vary. These luxury behemoths are highly prized collectibles.

1936 Phantom III Sedanca deVille 3

1936 Phantom III Sedanca deVille 4

New Phantom

Although the Rolls Royce Phantom is a large and luxurious saloon, it has the legs of a sports car. It is powered by the BMW 6.8 litre 48-valve V12 engine. Its lightweight aluminium alloy design allows it to crank out 454 hp @ 5,350 rpm with a prolific 720 Nm of peak torque @ 3,500 rpm. The engine is mated to a silky smooth 8-speed automatic transmission.

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2015 Phantom Extended Wheelbase saloon

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The smoothness, silence, and refinement of the legendary Rolls Royce powertrain results in the reduction of any possible source of noise and vibration. Even the stainless-steel exhaust system is equipped with silencers, every component is acoustically tuned to absorb a different frequency. “Whisper…tick…soar…the loudest sound you will hear in a Rolls Royce is the beating of your heart…”

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The Rolls Royce Phantom maintains optimum ride height thanks to a sophisticated automatic leveling system. It is so sensitive, it compensates for fuel used from the gasoline tank. Regardless of load or road conditions, this automatic system continually fine-tunes the suspension’s poise. At higher speeds, the system intuitively lowers itself to increase its aerodynamic efficiency by lowering the drag coefficient. The ride is further enhanced by an independent four-wheel suspension and power four-wheel disc brake system.

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the first Phantom IV, chassis number 4AF2

Rolls Royce Phantom IV

The grandest manner of its era to travel Rolls Royce style is the Phantom IV. It is one of the most exclusive Rolls Royce models ever built. There were only eighteen built between 1950 and 1956. Seventeen of these were sold exclusively to royalty and heads of state. To date, sixteen are preserved as museum pieces, and in public and private collections. The Phantom IV is powered by the Straight-8. It could run long distances at low speeds. Here’s another highly desirable collectible Rolls Royce.

Kneeling version of the spirit of ecstasy, made between 1934 - 1939 and again in 1946 - 1956. It was mounted on most of the Phantom IV radiators, except in units 15 and 18

This is the kneeling version of the spirit of ecstasy, made between 1934 -1939 and again in 1946 -1956. It was mounted on most of the Phantom IV radiators, except in units 15 and 18.

Phantom IV, chassis number 4AF6

This is a Phantom IV, chassis number 4AF6 scrapped in 1959

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The Rolls Royce mastery of electronic components contributes to its silence and harmonious operation. The electric gear selection for the transmission works through a series of electronic connections and relay switches eliminating the vibration that passes to the cabin in automobiles with mechanical components. And at journey’s end, as you remove the ignition key an electronic current locks the transmission.

You can choose between 12 different wheel styles in five distinctive designs, and up to three finishes. All wheel styles include the unique “self-righting” wheel centers that will always display the “RR” monogram the correct way up.

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Rolls Royce Pinnacle Travel Phantom

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Today’s Phantom, as in the famous Phantoms of the past demonstrate the principle that there is a continuing market in the world for excellence. The contemporary Phantom evolved from a long line of distinguished motorcars of the same name. It carries on the tradition of exemplary fit & finish, bringing old-fashioned core values into the 21st century with panache, resulting in the creation of rolling automotive masterworks.

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These hand-crafted Flagships are the epitome of Rolls Royce motorcars…they are considered “The Rolls Royce of Rolls Royces.” These supreme achievements in motoring are in a class that stands alone, pre-eminent in the ultra-luxury car segment. No other ultra-luxury motorcar in the world can compare with a Rolls Royce Phantom. The classic Phantom Series I through Series VI are limousines of distinction. These illustrious motorcars created the Rolls Royce Phantom dynasty of superlatives –

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1959 Rolls-Royce Phantom V 

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The Rolls Royce Phantom V is a variant of the iconic Silver Cloud body style. These were built from 1959 until 1968. They are V8 powered with GM’s Hydra-Matic automatic transmissions. The eminent coachbuilders include HJ Mulliner, Park Ward, and James Young. Only 516 Phantom V limousines were built which include two for the royal family.

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1959 Rolls-Royce Phantom V 3

Special thanks to Mad 4 Wheels

1964 Phantom V

1964 Rolls Royce Phantom V

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1964 Phantom V 7

Special thanks to Balmoral UK

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1967 Phantom V

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Special Thanks to Park Ward Motors Museum

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This Phantom V has a roof covered in Everflex

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Phantom V by James Young

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The Rolls Royce Phantom VI was the finale for this genre Phantom series. They were built from 1968 until 1990. This was one of the iconic and unforgettable body styles by Rolls Royce. Its power is based upon the Silver Shadow 6.2 and 6.75 litre V8 engines. Mulliner Park ward was now consolidated and under Rolls Royce rule exclusively. They custom crafted limousines of distinction. Only 374 Phantom VI models were made. The Phantom VI like its sister model Silver Cloud were the last Rolls Royce models to be crafted as body on frame construction.

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The Rolls Royce Phantom dynasty is extremely impressive. These are the most formidable Rolls Royce models ever built. They have chauffeured Kings & Queens, heads of state, Sultans, Sheikhs, and some of the wealthiest clientele in the world. They offer an uncompromised luxury. The Rolls Royce Phantoms are the most luxurious Flagship Limousines in the model hierarchy. Each offers a poised dignity which is the hallmark of every Rolls Royce.

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Photos courtesy Rolls Royce Press Club

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The Rolls Royce Celestial Phantom

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NotoriousLuxury at its finest

Phantom V

Rolls Royce Phantom V

2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom by Junction Produce 2

2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom by Junction Produce

2010 Rolls-Royce Phantom by Junction Produce 1

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Dedicated to the friends of Rolls Royce, Riva yachts, and Ferrari

Rolls Royce Formal Stretch Limousines

Posted in Classic Exotic Luxury, Extreme Luxury, Luxury Sedans, Rolls Royce, Symbol with tags , , , , on December 3, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

These are limousines of unparalleled luxury

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Stately and dignified in all their majesty, Rolls Royce limousines are luxury in the grand Rolls Royce manner. As a true superlative in the ultra-luxury automobile class, these hand-crafted limousines were always built at a highly restricted pace to retain their exclusivity. These are the most revered saloons in all of motordom. No other formal limousine garners more admiration than a Rolls Royce.  A Robert Jankel stretch is the quintessential Flagship. The Rolls Royce Silver Spur is transformed into the ultimate in chauffeur driven limousines. Mulliner Park Ward also created automotive masterworks. These are some of the last hand-crafted limousines of this type. The Silver Spur long wheelbase platform was the perfect base for limousines of distinction.

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1986 Spur Limo 3

The Silver Spur factory limousines are the last hand-crafted Rolls Royce of this type. These formal saloons are built in the grand tradition of coach building. Being the longest of the Rolls Royce saloons, they offer an exceptionally spacious passenger compartment. They are highly bespoke saloons of distinction with no two ever alike which is a Rolls Royce hallmark. They each reflect the personal tastes of the owner while retaining the craftsmanship and quality expected of a Rolls Royce motorcar. From the hand-sculpted radiator grille to the mirror-matched walnut veneers, a Rolls Royce leaves no room for compromise – 

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1986 Spur Limo 14

Robert Jankel was a very successful name when it came to custom coach building during the 1980s. From 1983 until 1989 Jankel was officially authorized to build stretched versions of the Spirit of Ecstasy Limousines. These highly bespoke saloons were available through Rolls Royce dealers.

Robert Jankel Design hand-crafted the “Limousine II” that is a 44” stretch available on Rolls Royce and Bentley platforms. The transformation was executed into the center portion of the vehicle leaving all four doors stock. These saloons are the pinnacle of Rolls Royce eloquence. They are equipped as true limousines should be complete with a television built into the console, entertainment systems, and multi-media equipment. The specifications vary because of their bespoke nature. These were similar to the “factory” Silver Spur Limousines built by Robert Jankel Design exclusively for Rolls Royce.

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1986 Spur Limo 13

1986 Spur Limo 12

The seven passenger 166” wheelbase Silver Spur Limousine is three feet longer than the standard Silver Spur. They are built for those who demand the epitome of chauffeur-driven luxury. The conversion carried out for Rolls Royce Motors by Robert Jankel Design took over 12 weeks to complete. This added three months to the vehicle’s six to eight month production. This elite motorcar inherited all technical advances of the Silver Spur with an additional specially designed suspension refined to particular specifications of the limousine. 

A burr walnut console houses the television, DVD, and concert hall quality audio system. A cocktail cabinet is recessed into the sides of the car which includes a cut-glass crystal decanter and glasses, and a refrigerator with separate compressor to properly chill food and beverages. A cell phone system is provided for both front and rear compartments.

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The elegance of the interior is augmented by hand-stitched leather by Connolly Brothers. The warmth of hand-polished walnut veneers enhances the ambience of luxury. Deep pile 100% wool hand-tufted carpets and lambswool rugs adds a domestic opulence. Power windows, power door locks with centralized locking feature and security system, power seats, power steering, power brakes, and automatic transmission are just a few of the myriad features and accessories standard on these Flagships. An electrically powered glass partition separates the passenger compartment for the ultimate in privacy. Both compartments are equipped with separate automatic heating and air conditioning systems.

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1985 Spur Limo 4

These prestigious automobiles are powered by the legendary Rolls Royce 6.75 litre alloy 16-valve V8 engine. They are equipped with Bosch K-jetronic fuel injection, and electronic ignition for efficiency of operation. All underpinnings and running gear for the Silver Spur were refined for the extra heavy-duty nature of a limousine.

Monocoque construction is highlighted by an independent front and rear suspension. An automatic leveling system maintains optimum ride height regardless of load or road conditions. Four-wheel disc brakes with ventilated front discs halt each wheel independently. It uses the unique Rolls Royce dual hydraulic system. The master cylinder has dual pistons with dedicated brake lines to facilitate independent front and rear brake system operation. Should one system fail, each wheel will still be halted independently.

1985 Spur Limo 5

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1985 Spur Limo 8

1985 Spur Limo 7

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Different touring limousine versions were also built in cooperation with the eminent coach builder Mulliner Park Ward, Robert Jankel was the designer. The first Silver Spur Limousine was built in 1982. These versions offered 36”, 42”, and one vehicle with 14” wheelbase extensions. These cars were extended at the “B” pillar. Most of them included rear compartment “jump seats” for additional passengers.

The Park Ward Limousine is a limited edition 24” extended wheelbase version of the Silver Spur saloon. The roof is raised 2” for additional headroom. They were lengthened at the “C” pillar with an opera window added; this feature is reminiscent of the Rolls Royce Phantom V & Phantom VI saloons. The Park Ward replaced the Silver Spur Touring Limousine. The Park Ward Limousine was the last one to be officially extended at 24” and only 70 were built from 1996 until 1999.

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The 2002 Park Ward Concept

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2002 Rolls-Royce Park Ward concept 3

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1986 Spur Limo 8

A Rolls Royce limousine is the ultimate in exclusivity and supremacy in a motorcar. These exquisite limited editions were built at an extremely restricted pace making each a masterpiece. The admiration afforded these supreme achievements in motoring is astonishing. The extended wheelbase provides a spacious passenger compartment. Being a highly bespoke saloon, it reflects the personal tastes of the owner while retaining the craftsmanship and quality expected of a Rolls Royce motorcar. Whether it is a Robert Jankel, or Mulliner Park Ward creation, it is a Rolls Royce limousine of unparalleled distinction. These Flagship limousines are for those who seek the ultimate in chauffeur-driven luxury.

1985 Spur Limo 9

Photos courtesy Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars

Symbol: Rolls Royce Formal Saloons

Posted in Classic Exotic Luxury, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Rolls Royce, Symbol with tags , , , , on December 1, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

The ultimate long wheelbase saloons

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The pinnacle of luxury is a Rolls Royce with the rare factory power glass division. It is this option that transforms the Long Wheelbase saloon into a formal limousine. The Silver Wraith II was built from 1977 until 1980. It was escalated to new heights in exclusivity and supremacy, with the privacy division specification. These are the finale to one of the grandest motoring eras in automotive history. The 1980 was the last model year for the Silver Wraith II. This eminent series has the poised dignity which is the hallmark of every Rolls Royce motorcar.

The Silver Wraith II is among the rarest Rolls Royce Long Wheelbase saloons. Fitted with the privacy division makes them even more so. The Rolls Royce Silver Wraith was the first post-war model built at Crewe, and the last model to be delivered as “chassis only” form to the coachbuilder to be custom-bodied. These magnificent, highly bespoke automobiles were built from 1946 until 1959. Both formal limousines are highly sought by collectors world-wide. They are among the last Rolls Royce models to be hand-crafted at the famous Crewe facility in the UK.

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The Silver Wraith II is built on the long wheelbase chassis for the Silver Shadow. The wheelbase extension adds four inches to the rear passenger compartment. Exterior signature features include a distinctive roof treatment covered in Everflex with an elegant limousine-style rear window to enhance rear seat privacy. A “RR” badge is attached to each rear sail panel. The stainless-steel wheel discs are unique to this model. A “Silver Wraith II” badge on the rear deck lid alerts the world to the fact, this is no ordinary car. Its grandeur sets it apart from other ultra-luxury saloons. The Rolls Royce Silver Wraith II is a masterpiece of hand-built craftsmanship that provides a source of pride, pleasure, and a long-term asset.

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A masterpiece has a way of making time stand still. The eminent Silver Wraith II gives the act of driving a new meaning. The longer you own a Silver Wraith II Formal Limousine, the more valuable it will become. For the record…it took 10 days to hand-craft the iconic radiator grille, at least two weeks to paint, and a total of four months before every craftsman that helped, certified it as a genuine Rolls Royce motorcar –

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The Formal Limousine has an interior to reflect the ultimate in comfort, convenience, and privacy. The power glass partition can be operated by the chauffeur or rear seat passenger. It is equipped with power windows, power door locks, power front seating, power steering and brakes, carpeted rear seat footrests, courtesy lighting, and a host of features and accessories to make the most of your journey. The Rolls Royce Silver Wraith II is a masterpiece of hand-built craftsmanship. The cabin is augmented by hand-crafted Lombardy Walnut veneers. Each is mirror-matched and hand-polished to a glass-like appearance that is so durable, a Fonseca can be stubbed out on its finish without leaving a trace.

The unique Rolls Royce split-level air conditioning system allows independent control of upper and lower level temperatures. Once the temperatures are set, no further intervention is required. Formal limousines with the factory division built for destinations other than the US are equipped with a second air conditioning system built into the boot to heat and cool the rear compartment exclusively.

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Perfectly matched leather upholstery is hand-stitched by Connolly Brothers. There’s nothing finer than the scent of natural grain leather as it ages in a Rolls Royce. Those of you that know the breed understand what I mean! The richness of 100% wool hand-tufted Wilton deep-pile carpets line the cabin and the boot. All the time-honored materials of the coachbuilder worked slowly and patiently, largely by hand, into an elegant and completely individual motorcar.

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The ingenious self-leveling system not only tames the worst pavement, it keeps the Silver Wraith II completely poised at all times regardless of load or road conditions. Engine driven pumps maintain the four-wheel independent suspension system and its power four-wheel disc braking system. It provides fade-free braking that’s straight as an arrow. The part that impresses me most is that it stops without ‘dipping’ and there is no extraneous tension involved.

The hydraulic system uses a dual-piston master cylinder with two dedicated brake lines and hardware to facilitate the independent operation of front and rear braking systems. Should one system fail, each wheel will still be halted independently.

The Silver Wraith II has precise power rack and pinion steering. Combined with the highly developed self-leveling system, it set new standards of safety and handling. This sophisticated network provides effortless operation and a positive feel of the road at all times.

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The legendary 6.75 litre 16-valve alloy V8 engine provides performance that wouldn’t disgrace a sports car. It is equipped with an electronic ignition system and twin stainless-steel exhaust system with catalytic converters. The uncanny silence and lack of vibration adds to the Silver Wraith II’s extreme luxury. When you turn the ignition key the engine doesn’t roar its approval…it whispers its presence. When you shift from park to drive, the electric gear selector will not offer resistance…it merely slips into place…the legend comes to life. A Rolls Royce does everything better…

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The Silver Wraith II is the long wheelbase variant of the Silver Shadow. Only 2,145 were built from 1977 until 1980. The factory division is an extremely rare option that transforms the long wheelbase saloon into a formal limousine. These Flagships were the ultimate in comfort, convenience, and privacy. The 1980 model year was the finale for this eminent series. The Silver Wraith II is another timeless classic which proves my point: A Rolls Royce precludes the restless quest for something finer to replace it with – the Silver Wraith II is a timeless pleasure to drive and a priceless asset to own. The Formal Limousine is a highly sought collectible.

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The Silver Wraith is the first post-war model built at the Crewe facility in the UK. It was built from 1946 until 1959. This is the last Rolls Royce model delivered to the coachbuilder as “chassis-only” to be fitted with an entirely bespoke bodyshell. These are formal vehicles, many of which were built as limousines. There were 1,883 built which includes 639 long wheelbase saloons.

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The wheelbase grew from 127” in 1946, and to 133 from 1951 until 1959. The last of the short wheelbase versions were built in 1953. The longer wheelbase is better suited for the power glass division. The specifications vary because of their highly bespoke nature.

The 1954 Silver Wraith has the long 133” wheelbase. The featured model is finished as a formal limousine. Its coachcrafting was done by James Young. It is one of only 29 built. This rare beauty has all-aluminium bodywork. It was built by Rolls Royce as a showcase model for the 1954 Geneva International Motor Show.

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The Silver Wraith is equipped with the 4.9 litre In-line 6-cylinder engine. This powerplant is based upon the original Wraith engine. The newer version used a new cylinder head assembly with overhead inlet valves and side exhaust valves. Initially the Silver Wraith was available with a four-speed manual gearbox. By 1952 an automatic transmission option by General Motors was available. The braking system used is a hybrid hydro-mechanical system. It is fitted with hydraulic front brakes and a mechanical servo system patented by Hispano-Suiza fitted to the rear.

The 1954 Silver Wraith was nearing the end of the coachbuilt style. This was an elegant era in motoring. A Rolls Royce projects a grandeur the average motorcar lacks.  Rolls Royce and its nose-up design followed a styling continuity, parts of which may still be seen in today’s Rolls Royce saloons. The Silver Wraith is another highly collectible saloon.

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Rolls Royce is committed to perfection. The tradition of excellence had been inherited through the generations of artisans who are dedicated to the principles Charles Stewart Rolls and Sir Frederick Henry Royce carved into stone. Their goal was to take the best and make it better. There is only one way…the right way. Every Rolls Royce is special. It is a one-of-a-kind creation therefore, no two will ever be exactly alike. Some forty years separates the original Rolls Royce Wraith and the Rolls Royce Silver Wraith II, yet much remained unchanged. The Rolls Royce marque represents a rare investment in superb technology, matchless materials, and legendary craftsmanship.

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It’s the power operated factory division that transforms the long wheelbase saloons into formal limousines. They represent the utmost in privacy and discretion. This option is for the owner who prefers a chauffeur-driven saloon with a shorter wheelbase without sacrificing luxury and privacy.

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Special thanks to Rodd Sala Park Ward Motors Museum

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Special thanks to Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars

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1961 Flying Spur

1961 Flying Spur 8

1961 Flying Spur 6

1961 Flying Spur 3

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Dedicated to the friends of Rolls Royce, Riva Yachts, and Ferrari 

1986 Rolls Royce Silver Spur Limousine

Posted in Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Rolls Royce with tags , , , , , , on August 2, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

“Nil fato relinquemus” N

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Its poised dignity proceeded it. A Rolls Royce is a formidable ultra-luxury saloon. Rolls Royce is the pride of the UK and the envy of the world. What could be more exclusive? The Rolls Royce Silver Spur limousine was the quintessential saloon of absolute distinction. A Rolls Royce limousine cossets its passengers in comfort, elegance, and splendor no ordinary limousine could offer.

The factory Silver Spur limousine was the most formal manner in which to savor the Rolls Royce experience. It was yet another Mulliner masterpiece to enter into automotive history as a sixteen vehicle production run. The Spirit of Ecstasy and her elusive enigma soars ahead of this Flagship with all her grace. This is the Rolls Royce of Rolls Royces…

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One ride and you would immediately sense why this eminent motorcar manufacturer was appointed to “Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Motor Car Manufacturers.” This honor was bestowed upon Rolls Royce Motors Limited, Crewe, Cheshire. This is an honor to acquire this title, it could be compared to knighthood…Dame Rolls Royce of Crewe Cheshire if you will. A Rolls Royce will always be the grandest motorcar to grace any gathering of fine cars…a Rolls Royce limousine escalates this luxury to superlative heights of supremacy and exclusivity in an ultra-luxury motorcar. It is simply the best motorcar in the world…

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James Young

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There were only 16 Silver Spur factory limousines built for 1986. It was designed for those who wanted the ultimate in chauffeur-driven luxury. The seven passenger 166” wheelbase was over three feet longer than the long wheelbase Silver Spur saloon. Mulliner designed and built it specifically as a limousine. This supreme achievement in motoring combine all the technical advances of the Silver Spur. It had a specially calibrated suspension refined to the exact specifics of a limousine.

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Its sumptuous passenger compartment is separated from the chauffeur’s compartment by an electrically powered glass division. Two comfortable rear-facing seats were available to the regular seating for additional passengers. Both compartments have separate automatic heating/cooling climate control systems. An intercom facilitated conversation to the driver.

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The cabin both front and rear was graced with the warmth of fine mirror-matched burl walnut veneers. Fine Wilton hand-tufted 100% wool carpets with luxurious lamb’s wool rugs added domestic comfort. Supple natural grain perfectly matched leather was expertly tailored by Connolly Brothers as in all Rolls Royce automobiles. It could be fitted for a PC and peripherals.

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The lavishly appointed passenger compartment was equipped with a burr walnut console housing a TV, video recorder, and a concert-hall quality audio system. Its cocktail cabinet had a cut glass decanter and glasses. A refrigerator had its own compressor to properly chill food and beverages.35

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cellphone

Advanced technology for the day included a cellular car telephone system provided for both front and rear compartments. This microprocessor controlled communications system combines features found on business and home systems facilitating calls placed anyplace in the world. This sophisticated system had a cleverly concealed microphone and a unique speaker to allow “hands-free” conversation that could include everyone in the car. This was custom installed by Rolls Royce.

Standard features for the cellphone system included: automatic memory for up to 99 frequently called numbers, 24-digit dialing capacity to accommodate international numbers, fluorescent display, dial-in-handset keypad & on-hook call processing, electronic lock to prevent unauthorized use, re-dial of last number called and a concealed microphone for hands-free operation.

It even had an electronic notepad therefore ‘you always had pen/paper’ during a conversation if needed. The custom installed transceiver was hidden in the boot behind a specially trimmed access panel. The multi-function cellular telephone allowed passengers to converse from the comfort of their Rolls Royce. It was ideally suited for keeping in touch with the world.

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Smoothness, silence, and refinement of the Rolls Royce engine is evolutionary. The 6.75 litre engine was formed around a 90 degree V8 block and cylinder heads made from aluminium alloy. Careful construction and advanced engineering improved the engine characteristics. The tappets were hydraulic and the crankshaft used larger bearings for longevity. New motor mounts resulted in quieter operation. The engine utilized two asymmetric fans, one was engine-driven and the other electric.

The aluminium alloy cylinder heads had cast iron wet liners. A hardened crankshaft ran in five main bearings. Its 16-valves were overhead. The engine was also equipped with a Bosch K-jetronic fuel injection system, electronic ignition, and a single Pierburg electronic fuel pump.

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A high-pressure hydraulic system driven by engine pumps facilitated the suspension’s self-levelling system to keep the vehicle at proper ride height regardless of load. Gas springs supplemented coil springs at the rear, were load-sensitive and made the necessary adjustment automatically to maintain that superb Rolls Royce ride…

The same high-pressure hydraulic network operated dual-circuit braking, two completely separate systems accommodated independent operation of front and rear systems. Should one system fail, each wheel would still maintain 100% operation halting each wheel independently.

Not only was the suspension advanced, its power rack & opinion steering was light and responsive, an ongoing program of rigorous testing and development is always applied without compromise to suspension, brakes, and steering. Its four-wheel independent suspension was complimented by four-wheel disc brakes. It used ventilated discs on the front axle and solid discs to the rear.

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The silver Spur limousine was built as monocoque construction with separate front and rear subframes to accommodate its four-wheel independent suspension. Its integral steel construction was fitted with doors, bonnet and boot lid made from aluminium alloy. The roof was covered with luxurious Everflex. The Silver Spur limousine bodyshell could be a four or six-door configuration.

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From the makers of the finest motorcars in the world, there was a Mulliner-bodied Rolls Royce for those who required the in ultimate chauffeur-driven luxury. The Rolls Royce Silver Spur limousine and its commanding 166” wheelbase cossets its passengers in the lap of luxury. These highly bespoke limousines were built at an extremely restricted pace of only 16 vehicles for 1986.

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The rear compartment of the Silver Spur limousine was particularly spacious adding to the overall comfort and enabling the installation of multi-media equipment required to conduct business while travelling. Embellished with comfort and convenience features and accessories, this luxurious motorcar combined all of the technical advances of the Silver Spur plus a specially designed suspension refined to limousine characteristics.

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The Silver Spur limousine was the Rolls Royce of Rolls Royces of its day. Safety, speed, silence, smoothness, and longevity were hallmarks of the brand. As a symbol of prestige there is no more gracious manner in which to travel…

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The Silver Dawn

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The 1986 Rolls Royce Silver Spur Limousine

Bentley Arnage Limousine

Posted in Bentley, Extreme Luxury with tags , , , , on September 22, 2013 by 99MilesPerHour

NotoriousLuxury…………….

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Bentley is holding a leader’s position….no one is throwing it shade now!