What do you get for the robber baron who has everything? As if a run-of-the-mill Rolls-Royce Phantom EWB ($450,000) weren't a flashy enough statement of personal wealth, consider the Rolls-Royce Phantom Solid Gold, a rolling monument to excess that would make even Jay Gatsby blush. Evidently, at least one customer—identified only as a "businessman from the Middle East"—didn't get the memo that the world economy is in recession and commissioned the car seen here for the princely sum of $8 million ($8,150,000, to be precise). For that, you get a gigantic golden radiator grille that was originally designed to resemble a bank. The plebeian chrome-plated door handles, trunk-lid trim, hinges and hardware on the rear picnic tables were replaced with 265 pounds of solid 18K gold (better durability and scratch resistance than pure 24K). Even the "RR" logos in the wheels received the royal treatment.
The Solid Gold Phantom's shiny accouterments are the handiwork of the United Kingdom's Stuart Hughes (a company that covers iPads and other electronic devices in the precious metal of your choice). With gold trading at $1,661 per ounce, perhaps this car's ostentation was intended as an investment in solid assets (the gold alone is worth nearly $7 million).
But it's equally an investment in the owner's safety, thanks to Eurocash AG, a Swiss coach-builder that specializes in armoring vehicles. Eurocash claims that this particular Rolls (which took 18 months to build) can withstand assaults from AK-47s, Dragunov sniper rifles, and even hand grenades. Because let's face it, protection from attack is a basic necessity when you're driving a moving metaphor for greed. An interior plaque proclaims the car as "One of the first two Armoured EWB Phantom of Production [sic] in the World," so apparently the only expense spared was the cost of a translator.
This limousine may be the most luxurious, but it's certainly the most conspicuous utility vehicle money can buy. With recent news of Ferrari sales surging, followed by this latest travesty of good taste, the phrase "embarrassment of riches" has officially lost all meaning.
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