This job really does beat working for a living. I've just had the opportunity to drive a car worth, gulp, $435,000. That's about twice the price of your average home in the U.S. these days. The car is a new Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe (pronounced coup-AY). Drophead is a fancy name for convertible. The car will start selling in September, and the first year is pretty much sold out. Yeah. Sold out. Forget the subprime turmoil and the stock market plunge. Plenty of rich folks have $435,000 to drop on a Drophead car and it's a pretty nice car.
Here's a picture. You'll see the story probably next week on our air, but here's what you won't see: me TERRIFIED.
Call me a wuss, but when someone hands me the key to a $435,000 car and says, "take it for a spin," all I'm thinking is, "Please, God, don't have me screw this up."
I gingerly got into the car as if I was covered in boils and didn't want to leak onto the leather upholstery. I lightly touched the controls as though pushing too hard might cause the flying lady on the hood to jump off (did you know she's called "The Spirit of Ecstasy"? HOW HILARIOUS IS THAT?). Of course, the car responded as though it knew, just KNEW, that it had an idiot on board who needed gentle handling. Hey, I should market "Idiot on Board" warning signs--could make some money on those. Hmmm. Anyhow, the car took care of me. The car drove like a dream. I nearly forgot I was terrified. In fact, as every other driver on the road stared at me, I started to almost enjoy myself.
At one point my cameraman was in a pace car in front videotaping me and Paul Ferraiolo, President of Rolls Royce North America, driving toward him. The cameraman kept waving me closer...closer...closer, til we were almost bumper to bumper. Paul said to me, "Shouldn't we be talking to each other while you drive so it looks more natural on the videotape?" I replied, "Paul, I'm processing three things right now in my brain. Conversation could prove fatal."
Here's the best part, when you see the story on TV, you'll never know I was scared. You'll think I was born to drive that car.