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SETTING SAIL

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Wed, Aug 16, 2006

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

SETTING SAIL

By ZORAN SEGINA

A skipper brings his Swan 65 (or Sunseeker 66, or any other ultra luxury boat you can think of) back to the yacht club, after a leisurely weekend outing on the water. He surely misses the elegant swooping lines of his vessel, and the commanding view of the teak decks from the cockpit, once he is forced to step into his car and navigate the streets. Fortunately, the people at Rolls Royce have worked very hard to assuage our skipper's anxiety when changing modes of transportation.

Enter 101EX - the latest experimental model to come from Rolls-Royce, hand-built to explore a design direction for a modern coupé. There are no plans currently to have it manufactured. According to Rolls-Royce chairman and CEO Ian Robertson, the 101EX was created in response to the interest expressed by current and potential Rolls-Royce clients in a coupé. Which begs a question from our hypothetical skipper: "If there is interest and I have the wherewithal (i.e., funds), why not make it?"

Why not indeed? The 101EX is powered by the same 6.75-liter V12 engine as the Phantom. With three quarters of its torque at just 1000 rpm, it will run smoothly, just like that Sunseeker. The electronically controlled, six-speed automatic transmission features shift-by-wire technology, so there is no mechanical linkage to the gear selector. The car rides on air with front suspension on double wishbones, and multi-link system at the rear.

The front fascia has a sloped grille, which flows into the aluminum hood and windscreen surround. The Spirit of Ecstasy harkens to the old days when the mascots were made of glass. The only place to see them around here is the Nethercutt collection in Sylmar. In the 101EX, the polymers replaced the glass, and the figurine disappears when the key is turned off (to discourage future collectors). The effect, however, is dramatic. The roofline is lower than the Phantom's.

Our skipper who just spent three season's worth of racing sails and some standing rigging on the new Rolls Royce Phantom finds it entirely inappropriate to enter the car through what is commonly referred to as "suicide doors." The Rolls Royce public relations department elegantly resolved the problem by calling them "Siamese doors." On the 101EX, however, there is only one set of doors hinged at the rear, so there is no Siamese twin. The doors are long and heavy, but each closes at the touch of a button.

Front bucket seats are slimmer than on the Phantom. In the back there is a sofa. Yes, a sofa for two - a cozier interpretation of the Phantom's lounge seat, or perhaps even a round yacht cockpit. The trunk offers a double deck compartment, sort of a lazarette where you can put things and slide the cover over, without clogging the trunk. Two umbrellas are attached to the lid.

One pleasure of sailing at night is an uninterrupted view of the vast ocean sky above. That's why in the 101EX the headliner illumination comes in a form of hundreds of little lights that resemble the stars.

Anchors aweigh, Rolls Royce! Build this ship.

Find more information at www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com

SPECIFICATIONS

Engine:6749 cc, direct-injection, V12

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Length: 5609 mm (220.82 in.) Width: 1987 mm (78.22 in.) Height (unladen): 1592 mm (62.67 in.) Wheelbase: 3320 mm (130.70 in.)

Tire Size:Front 255/50R21 Rear 285/45R21

Wheel: Front 8 1/2J R21 Rear 9 1/2J R21

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