This really is one of my all-time favourite cars for almost every reason imaginable. Certainly, I can’t really think of a Rolls-Royce that I dislike (except the Camargue – obviously) but the Silver-Seraph is definitely one of the best.
You can’t say you know anything of luxury vehicles unless you’ve experienced what the Silver Seraph has to offer. This was the last of a breed of luxury vehicles that contained little of today’s gadgetry and so, with the focus taken away from electronics, Rolls-Royce could properly concentrate on all things to make this the most beautiful, comfortable and nicest vehicles you could own – and this showed through on the price. At the time it was released (1998) it was the 2nd most expensive car in the world at around £155,000. The most expensive car in the world was Rolls-Royce’s own Corniche (the convertible Seraph); so the buyer of this car was, I think we can assume, rather discerning when it came to luxury.
Inside the car you’ll find enough leather to bring the most tolerant animal rights activist to tears. It seems the Rolls-Royce philosophy was: if it can be made with leather, than it shall – unless wool and mohair suits better. The 4 seats in this car really do make you never want to leave (though strictly it can seat 5 – but you just wouldn’t want to put that many people inside). They’re twice as comfortable as your Arighi Bianchi 3-piece suite, and they look even nicer. They’ve also got more adjustability than your average vehicle with wood surrounded buttons and switches to adjust the amount of air in the cushions of the chairs and memory functions for all passengers. Craftsmen have worked very hard to ensure that all of the inlays of the car are perfectly symmetrical on each side of the car, but I’m not entirely sure why – perhaps the super wealthy get jealous of each other’s wood trim otherwise. The carpets of the car, which are so deep you could easily misplace the occasional child in them, are also so luxurious that you become unsure of whether shoes should be removed before entering the vehicle.
The exterior of the car is also amazing. You can tell that it has really been thought about and worked on. The proportions of it all are just right, from the way the re-styled front grill still makes the car look like a classic Rolls-Royce, to the sweeping lines that taper to the lowered rear of the vehicle. The body of the car really is timeless – and this is shown because the exact same one was used for the Bentley Arnage up until 2009.
Modern touches also play a part, as this was the first Rolls-Royce on which the Spirit of Ecstasy would retract into the bonnet to prevent theft and stop the spearing of pedestrians that were unfortunate enough to cross it’s path. The BMW produced 5.4l V12 suits this car perfectly. This car doesn’t have a rev counter because that engine provides limitless power, push the pedal down and the car takes off – not that the passengers would be aware, as the suspension could absorb the shock waves of a nuclear bomb and sound doesn’t pass easily into the cabin.
Only 1500 Silver Seraphs were made and that makes it a very exclusive vehicle, sort of justifying the price. We also mustn’t forget that, for that price, as stated in the owner’s manual, chauffeurs or owner-drivers could attend the School of Motoring in Crewe to teach them how to drive a Silver Seraph as it ought to be. Fuel economy isn’t great, but, if you worry about that, then you can’t have one. The same goes for the Avon White Wall Tyres which need replacing very frequently as they’ve got to move the nearly 3000kg vehicle, thanks to that engine, very quickly. Depreciation though, isn’t bad (these days). An 11 year old one of these will set you back nearly £50,000 so it has retained a lot more value than a comparable S-Class, which has more tech, that you could walk away with for a meager £3,500.
And now for the specifications of the Silver Seraph as it was back in 1998:
Engine Size: 5.4l V12
Power/Torque: 322 bhp/361 lbs/ft
Max. Speed: 140mph
Acceleration: 0-62mph in 7.1 seconds
CO2 emissions: 405g/km
Insurance Group: 50
All of those figures are pretty impressive nowadays, let alone in 1998 – but that’s what the Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph was all about and that’s why it’s got a 5 Star rating from me.