1999 Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph
Let us consider wealth. Religious books condemn it. Philosophers speak of its temporal nature. And the morally righteous say it's bereft of virtue. To paraphrase a biblical warning, a camel passes through the eye of a needle more easily than a rich man passes through the gates of heaven. So I'm probably going to hell--not because I'm rich, but because I like the idea of being rich. Wealth simply has more appeal than poverty--especially when it comes to cars. Look at the 1999 Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph. Essentially, it is a car in the way a Chevrolet Cavalier is a car. It has four rubber-covered wheels and a steering wheel, an engine, brakes, front and rear lights, seats, all things car. But the Silver Seraph has something no ordinary car will ever have. It has power, power beyond the 322 horsepower produced by its mighty V-12 engine. It has the power to make people step back, render deference, reconsider their approach to you. Consider an experiment I tried here and in the District of Columbia, where I drove the Silver Seraph. I pulled up outside of fancy hotels in both towns in a Chevrolet Cavalier. Here, I was ignored by doormen. In New York, without even asking me if I was checking into the hotel, a doorman waved me away. Enter the Silver Seraph. Same dude. Same blue blazer, white shirt, tie and gray slacks. Same urban brother haircut. Same hotels. But the doormen in both towns were all over me, couldn't do enough for me. Here, they even smiled in a seemingly genuine fashion. This, of course, seems shallow stuff. But there's more to it, really. My Silver Seraph tour experiences tell me that rich people feel better about themselves because everyone treats them better, including legions of pious folks who look to the rich for charitable donations. It's easy as sin to get accustomed to good treatment, just as it is easy to fall in love with the exquisite craftsmanship of something as beautiful as the Silver Seraph. The car is a streamlined remake of the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud. But streamlined, in this case, does not mean decontented. It's just less fat and less square on the outside than its predecessor. Otherwise, everything is there, along with a number of improvements. Everything includes supple Connolly leather seats, deep plush Wilton carpets, chromed switches, burled walnut-veneer woodwork with intricate inlays; a vaultlike, high-strength steel body shell; a new, super-smooth, electronically controlled five-speed automatic transmission; a double-wishbone independent front and rear suspension system that dampens road and drivetrain vibrations into nothingness; and an engine that moves the car's fully laden weight of 6,065 pounds as effortlessly as if it were moving a feather. I'm well aware, as the good nuns used to tell me, that you can't take any of this with you. But I'm also a disciple of the Rev. Ike. And to paraphrase one of that great spiritual entrepreneur's sayings: You might find happiness i n the bye-and-bye, but doing well in the here and now could remove much of the grief from your search.1999 Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph Complaints: The D.C. test car was afflicted with a sensor malady that messed up the operation of the remote-control side-view mirrors. The problem was corrected in the car tested in New York. Praise: What's not to like about opulence well done? If you can afford it, buy it and enjoy it. There is virtue in happiness, and the Silver Seraph offers happiness aplenty. Ride, acceleration and handling: Superior ride--soft without being at all squishy, firm without embracing brutality. Surprisingly smart acceleration, 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds. And the car can stop just as quickly as it starts, thanks to a four-channel antilock power four-wheel disc brake system. Safety: If a belted occupant dies in a Silver Seraph crash, the crash was unsurvivable. Period. The car is built like a tank and is equipped with every conceivable cra sh-protectio n device. Head-turning quotient: "What can I do for you, sir? Can I help you, sir? Fine day, isn't it, sir? Will you be staying with us for business or pleasure, sir? We can make any arrangements you need." Capacities: Seats five people, four in comfort. Fuel tank holds 20.7 gallons of recommended premium unleaded. Holds 13.2 cubic feet of cargo. Mileage: About 16 miles per gallon, combined city and highway. Estimated 315-mile range on usable volume of fuel. Sound system: Designed by Alpine Electronics. Six-CD changer in center console. Excellent. Price: Ahem, Rolls-Royces are "commissioned," not "sold." A basic order on a Silver Seraph is $214,000. Price can go substantially higher, depending on equipment ordered (e.g., wine chiller, fax/copier machines, navigational system, built-in laptop--you name it). Purse-strings note: People who have this kind of money sure as heck don't need advice from me.
|Warren Brown||washingtonpost.com||April 4, 1999|
|Paul Dean||Los Angeles Times||October 29, 1998|
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