• Jul 24th 2009 at 2:58PM
  • 37
Rolls-Royce Phantom 'Hybrid' - click above for high-res image gallery

If there is any car that seems to be well suited to either hybridization or outright electrification, the Rolls-Royce Phantom would seem to be logical candidate. Many of them are used transporting the wealthy around the world's great cities like Paris, London and Manhattan in trips that are not necessarily that long. It's also not unheard for a manufacturer to provide vehicles to customers for field testing, just as BMW is doing right now with the electric Mini E. However, aside from the highly publicized Mini E project, these sorts of initiatives are typically done on the down-low.

So when we heard that someone had spotted an extended-wheelbase Phantom prowling the streets of New York with an extra badge on each of its fenders, we were naturally a bit suspect. The car that was photographed wears hybrid badges of the same type used on all of General Motors' gas-electric vehicles. The driver claims that car was loaned to a VIP client for evaluation by Rolls-Royce. Remember, friends, that Rolls-Royce is owned by BMW – a company that has a partnership with GM, Daimler and Chrysler to develop a two-mode hybrid system. It is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that BMW might want to evaluate or even build a two-mode hybrid Phantom. However, it is almost inconceivable that any such vehicle would be clad in GM badges.

Adding further cold water to this story is the report earlier this week that BMW and Daimler are looking at dissolving the two-mode partnership and going in a different direction with their hybrid efforts. Our guess is that the owner of this particular Roller simply had a guilty environmental conscience (or a sense of humor) but couldn't bring himself to be seen in anything as pedestrian as a Toyota Prius. We're still waiting for a comment from Rolls-Royce.

Update: Rolls-Royce spokesman Wayne Kung confirmed our suspicions that this is not a Rolls prototype. The company does not currently have any prototypes running in the New York area.


[Source: Man on the Move; images used with permission]


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  • 37 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      You have got to be really rich and not care to do something this horrible to your Rolls Royce.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hilarious. Although not as humourous as the V6 Mustang I saw recently with "i-VTEC" badges.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I've got a '90-something Maxima on my street with tinted windows and a GT-R badge. I think the "R" means "fast."
        • 6 Years Ago
        Or the 1st gen Kia Carnival/Sedona supercharged twin-turbo 5.8 V8 running around town...
        • 6 Years Ago
        My favorite is the Scion xB with Escalade badging all around that I saw. The best part is how big the Caddy badges are when they are put on a small car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I stuck a "V12" badge from my old Jag on the back of my Smart, and people ask me all the time if it's really got a 12... :)
        • 6 Years Ago
        haha, reminds me of a "V8" first generation nissan altima.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...or the Hyundai Sonata that i saw with MKZ badges on the doors.....
        HotRodzNKustoms
        • 6 Years Ago
        That isn't as bad as a gold Mazda 626 I saw running around with a Maserati badge on the back.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Seeing how we're having good time poking fun at custom badge engineered cars, I think AB should have a contest for best (eh, worst) badge engineered cars. People can submit pictures and AB can post them?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm glad Autoblog 4.0 still honors the tradition of scraping the bowl for stories to report on. Ridiculous. Nice tags, too: Filed under: Hybrid, Sedan, Etc., Rolls-Royce, Luxury

      Fail.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The only failure I see is your use of a juvenile internet term. Oh and also the fact that YOU DON'T HAVE YOU OWN CAR RELATED BLOG SO STOP CRITIQUING THIS ONE.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Heh, that's E. 64h St. right by Central Park. =)
      • 6 Years Ago
      Lol.

      Rich dude (or chick) with a sense of humor, how NY.
      • 6 Years Ago
      yes, because ANYONE with a RR gives a flying flip about fuel economy. this is the equivalent of ordering a double bacon cheeseburger with XL fries and a diet coke/water
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh, I have one better. There's a taxi-limousine service in Pittsburgh that has recently started advertising that they are going 'green'. They've got 'It's Good to Go Green' or something similar vinyled all over their cars (Chrysler 300LWBs, Town Cars, Stretch Ford 500s), and have also conveniently begun schmucking Chrysler Hybrid badges on them (even the FoMoCos). Initially I saw it on one of their 300s, and did a double-takes, not remembering ever hearing of the LH being offered with Hybridization. My suspisions were confirmed upon seing a Town Car rolling with the Hybrid Badge... Have a photo of it, but no clue how to attach it here...

      I don't know what makes me more upset; that the company is exploiting 'greenness' to make more money, or that people are so blindly buying into it...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Or they could be fake badges in an effort to justify parking in "fuel efficient vehicles only" parking spots, or getting to cruise in the express/carpool lanes.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How dare he mock at the green people with an oversize car V12 engine? ? lol Dude is Funny must be tired of the green movement lol...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I saw a VW Phaeton in Miami Beach with a Bentley grill and badges. I've got the pictures here somewhere.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Disgrace...
        • 6 Years Ago
        I thought hippies only vandalize SUVs, not big cars.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Nope, the owner just wanted to protect he's car from those damn hippies who vandalize big cars and SUV's.
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