Rolling through the streets in the eighth-generation Rolls Royce Phantom, I’m acutely aware of the shift in perception this iconic brand is steering towards. Gone are the days when the Rolls Royce was merely a symbol of opulence to be admired from the back seat; 2019 heralds a new era, one where the Phantom beckons to be driven, to be experienced hands-on, by a generation of owners who crave not just the luxury, but the thrill of piloting such an exquisite piece of machinery themselves.

Breaking Stereotypes, One Drive at a Time

Here I am, a woman taking the helm of what many consider a £675K maritime behemoth, venturing into what has traditionally been male-dominated territory. The very act feels revolutionary, a bold statement in the face of an industry and society that too often relegates women to the passenger seat, both literally and metaphorically. Driving the Phantom, I’m not just navigating roads; I’m challenging norms, rewriting the narrative of who belongs behind the wheel of luxury.

Dressed for the Part

To ensure there’s no mistaking me for anything but the proud driver (and for today, the owner) of this magnificent vehicle, I channel my inner American celebrity rock star. It’s a persona that demands attention, commands respect, and breaks down preconceived notions. With every mile, I can feel the curious glances, the double-takes, and the realization in the eyes of onlookers that, yes, a woman can, and indeed does, drive a Rolls Royce.

A Companion in Luxury

In the back, my nine-year-old daughter plays the part of the entertained passenger, a role traditionally reserved for the “true owner” of such a vehicle. But today, she’s merely enjoying the ride, immersed in the plethora of entertainment options at her fingertips, courtesy of the Phantom’s advanced in-car technology. Electric curtains shield her from the prying eyes of the outside world, allowing me to focus on the driving experience, uninterrupted.

The Drive of a Lifetime

Taking the Phantom through its paces, I’m struck by the sheer pleasure of driving it. This isn’t just a car; it’s a statement, a masterpiece of engineering that blends power with grace, performance with comfort. Rolls Royce’s message is clear: this car is meant to be driven, to be enjoyed in every setting, by anyone who dares to take the wheel. And today, that person is me.

A New Dawn for Rolls Royce

Driving the Rolls Royce Phantom, I’m not just participating in a personal adventure; I’m part of a broader movement. Rolls Royce is reaching out to a younger, more dynamic generation of enthusiasts who see the car not as a mere status symbol to be chauffeured around in but as a joy to be experienced firsthand. As a woman behind the wheel of this iconic car, I embody the changing face of luxury automotive ownership, proving that the ultimate driving experience is not confined to any gender or age.

In this journey, the Rolls Royce Phantom and I are more than just driver and car; we’re partners in defying expectations, celebrating the joy of driving, and embracing the freedom that comes with taking the road less traveled. This is the new legacy of Rolls Royce—a legacy where anyone with a passion for driving, regardless of gender, can be part of the illustrious history of this legendary marque.


The Royal Welcome in Eton

My encounter with the Rolls Royce Phantom in Eton, a town synonymous with wealth and tradition, was expected to be an understated affair. Yet, as the Phantom made its grand entrance, it became clear that even in the most aristocratic of settings, a Rolls Royce commands attention. The crowd that gathered was a testament to the Phantom’s presence, a vehicle not merely seen but experienced, even by those on the sidelines. With the Spirit of Ecstasy leading the way, the Phantom was not just a car; it was a proclamation of luxury, drawing eyes with its gunmetal grace and the sheer audacity of its dimensions.

Setting Sail in the Phantom

As I took the helm of this land-yacht, the Phantom revealed itself to be more than just a mode of transport; it was a sanctuary on wheels, a bastion of tranquility amidst the bustle of the outside world. Redesigned under BMW’s stewardship, this eighth-generation Phantom has been meticulously crafted, standing as a beacon of automotive excellence. Its bespoke aluminium spaceframe architecture not only sets the stage for an unrivaled driving experience but also heralds a new era for Rolls Royce, where tradition meets cutting-edge technology.

Driving the Phantom, I was enveloped in an aura of serenity, the car gliding over the roads with the grace of a grand ocean liner. The public’s reaction to a woman at the wheel of such an emblem of power and prestige was a delightful mixture of surprise and admiration, shattering stereotypes with every mile.

The Ferrari Roma: A Dance of Performance and Elegance

Transitioning from the regal opulence of the Phantom to the fiery passion of the Ferrari Roma, my journey took a turn from the serene to the exhilarating. The Roma, with its sporty edge and modern contours, is a testament to Ferrari’s commitment to crafting vehicles that are not only marvels of engineering but also works of art that stir the soul.

Driving the Roma is like conducting a symphony of power, with every note from its turbocharged engine playing a melody of speed and agility. This car doesn’t just move; it dances, with a grace that belies its formidable performance. It is in the Roma that the spirit of La Dolce Vita is rekindled, inviting those behind the wheel to not just drive, but to celebrate the joy of life itself.

The Lake District Odyssey

My road trip to the Lake District in these automotive masterpieces was a journey of contrasts. In the Phantom, the rolling hills and tranquil waters mirrored the car’s own serene disposition, offering a moment of reflection and appreciation for the finer things in life. The Phantom, with its silent yet powerful demeanor, affirmed that luxury is not just about the destination; it’s about how you get there.

The Roma, on the other hand, brought a sense of adventure and freedom to the fore. Its agility and power transformed the winding roads into a playground, each turn a new opportunity to experience the exhilaration of driving a car that commands the road with confidence and style.

A Tale of Two Titans

Reflecting on my time with the Rolls Royce Phantom and the Ferrari Roma, I am reminded that luxury is multifaceted. It is the silence and majesty of the Phantom, a car that carries with it an air of nobility and grace. It is also the spirited joy of the Ferrari Roma, a vehicle that captures the essence of freedom and the thrill of the drive.

In Eton, amidst the backdrop of tradition and heritage, the Phantom stood as a testament to Rolls Royce’s enduring legacy of luxury. On the roads to the Lake District, both the Phantom and the Roma revealed their unique characters, each offering a different perspective on what it means to drive and to be driven.

As a woman who revels in the luxury lifestyle, driving these icons was not just about the cars themselves, but about the statement they make: that luxury knows no bounds, and that the joy of driving is a universal language, spoken fluently by the Rolls Royce Phantom and the Ferrari Roma alike. In this world of opulence and performance, I found not just a journey, but an odyssey—a celebration of automotive excellence that transcends the ordinary and elevates every moment behind the wheel into an experience to be savored and remembered.


Rolls Royce PHantom Gunmetal MenStyleFashion (2)

Embarking on a voyage with the Rolls Royce Phantom, a beacon of luxury and craftsmanship, and juxtaposing it with the fervent energy of the Ferrari Roma, presents a narrative as diverse as it is captivating. As Gracie Opulanza, my love for the opulent and luxurious lifestyle doesn’t just dwell in the realm of fashion but extends fervently into the automobiles I choose to envelop myself in. This journey is not just about cars; it’s a testament to living life grandly, challenging norms, and embracing every facet of luxury with open arms and a spirited drive.


Transitioning from the futuristic, electrifying silence of the Tesla Model X to the timeless elegance of the Rolls Royce Phantom was like stepping through a portal from the future back into a refined past that never faded. The Tesla, with its cutting-edge technology, set a high bar for what modern luxury driving could be—whisper-quiet, yet thrillingly fast. Yet, as I nestled into the driver’s seat of the Phantom, I was enveloped in a different kind of luxury, one steeped in history and crafted with an attention to detail that transcends time.

A Quiet Start to a Grand Journey

The initial roar I had grown accustomed to with internal combustion engines was conspicuously absent as the Phantom came to life. Instead, there was a hushed purr, a quiet affirmation of power ready to be unleashed. The dashboard, eschewing the traditional rev counter for a power reserve dial, offered a novel way to engage with the vehicle’s capabilities. This enigmatic gauge, rather than measuring how much effort the engine was exerting, indicated how much power remained at my disposal—a reminder of the Phantom’s effortless strength.

The Sound of Silence

The Phantom’s cabin, a sanctuary of calm, insulated me from the world’s cacophony, allowing the car’s serene nature to shine. Unlike the Tesla’s futuristic quiet, the Phantom’s silence was a testament to Rolls Royce’s mastery of automotive luxury, ensuring that the only sounds to grace my ears were those I chose to hear. The lack of engine noise within the cabin transformed the act of driving into a meditative experience, with the car’s heads-up display serving as a gentle nudge towards mindfulness of speed and the laws that govern it.

Guided by the Spirit of Ecstasy

With the Spirit of Ecstasy leading the way, the Phantom moved with a grace that belied its grandeur. The steering, light yet confident, responded to my every command, making the act of navigating the Phantom through turns and bends not just an exercise in driving, but an elegant dance on asphalt. Conscious of the value beneath my hands—and the wheels—I navigated corners with a respectful breadth, allowing the Phantom’s breadth to glide through without the slightest protest from the wheels.

A Symphony of Movement

Driving the Rolls Royce Phantom after a week in the Tesla Model X highlighted a profound contrast between the future of driving and the timeless elegance that has defined luxury automobiles. The Phantom, for all its quiet grandeur, does not shout for attention; it commands it, simply by being. Its presence is a reminder that true luxury isn’t about the noise you make but the statement you embody. In a world that often equates loudness with power, the Phantom stands apart, a beacon of what it means to wield power with grace, subtlety, and an unwavering sense of self.

In this journey, guided by the Spirit of Ecstasy, I was reminded that luxury is not just about speed or silence, but about the experience—the seamless blend of history, craftsmanship, and the serene assurance that comes with knowing you are at the helm of one of the finest machines ever crafted. The Rolls Royce Phantom, with its whisper-quiet demeanor and majestic presence, offers not just a drive, but a journey through the very essence of luxury itself.

Rolls Royce Phantom – It Has To Be Driven!

The £2500 wheel. Did you know that the RR logo always stays horizontal?

Rolls Royce PHantom Gunmetal MenStyleFashion (2)

My guide during the trip – The Spirit of Ecstasy is the bonnet ornament on Rolls-Royce cars. It is in the form of a woman leaning forwards with her arms outstretched behind and above her. Billowing cloth runs from her arms to her back, resembling wings.

The Spirit of Adventure: From Eton to the Lake District

As the Spirit of Ecstasy guided me beyond Eton, through the storied roads of Oxfordshire, and into the heart of the Lake District, the Phantom faced the capricious moods of the British weather with unwavering poise. The storms that raged, bringing winds, rain, and sleet, were mere footnotes in the Phantom’s journey, with every element of its design, from the impactful wipers to the cocoon-like warmth of its interior, ensuring a ride of unparalleled comfort and assurance.

rolls royce phantom

Public Adoration and the Goodwood Revelation

The public’s reaction to the Phantom, and indeed to the sight of a woman at its helm, was a mixture of awe and curiosity. This was not just another luxury car; it was a Rolls Royce, and its presence was a spectacle in itself. My journey led me to the Goodwood Plant, where the intricate process of creating such a masterpiece was laid bare. From the hand-stitched Starlight Headliner to the bespoke colors and materials, every Phantom is a testament to the brand’s ethos of perfectionism and personalization.

Rolls Royce PHantom Gunmetal MenStyleFashion (2)Rolls Royce PHantom Gunmetal MenStyleFashion (2)

Custom Luxury: The Rolls Royce Way

Rolls Royce’s dedication to bespoke luxury became evident not just in the ride but in the very fabric of the Phantom’s being. The ability for customers to personalize their vehicle to the extent of matching it to a lipstick shade or a cherished pet’s color speaks volumes of the brand’s commitment to individuality. The Starlight Headliner, a marvel of craftsmanship, not only enhances the driving experience but transforms it into an event, making even a coffee break in the Phantom an affair to remember.

A Phantom to Drive, A Statement to Make

The Rolls Royce Phantom, with each wheel valued at a king’s ransom, was now under my command. The gentle reminder that I was responsible for its well-being, particularly the avoidance of any kerbing mishaps, was a challenge I accepted with a mix of trepidation and excitement. Contrary to what one might expect, the Phantom proved to be surprisingly manageable, even in reverse, offering a blend of technological aid and the timeless advice of relying on one’s own senses—a nod to my Generation X roots.

Transitioning from the futuristic silence of a Tesla Model X to the timeless elegance of the Phantom was a journey back in time, yet forward in luxury. The absence of the usual rev counter, replaced by a power reserve dial, was a curious twist, offering a new way to gauge the vehicle’s immense capabilities without the need for the auditory theatrics common in lesser machines.

Rolls Royce Factory

Colour Trends

As for the choice of exterior colours, most customers just bring in their favourite lipstick or animal colour, and over many hours with a lot of processes, the customers colour is created. Rolls Royce has special lighting so if you want to order a colour and see what it looks like where you reside, for example in China, they can do that. Rolls Royce does this to ensure no misunderstandings of colour preference are created.

The painstaking process to accommodate these high demands, is why Rolls Royce is luxury. If a colour is not loved by the customer, it can be changed for as little as £70,000. Yes, it does happen on occasion. The colour chosen by the customer, created by Rolls Royce, belongs to that customer.

Creating each Rolls Royce is a complex task and is an example perfectionism. On average it takes 5 months to make a Rolls Royce. In 2019 the creative boundaries are being pushed by the customers themselves. What the customer wants is the future of Rolls Royce.


Starlight Headliner

The Starlight Headliner, a bespoke marvel within the Rolls Royce Phantom, exemplifies the zenith of personalized luxury, transforming the car’s interior into a celestial sanctuary. This feature, born from the imagination of a discerning customer, showcases the unparalleled levels of customization that Rolls Royce is renowned for. With up to 1,340 tiny lights, each meticulously hand-stitched into the roof lining, the effect is nothing short of magical, creating an ambiance that transcends the ordinary confines of car interiors.

Witnessing the creation of the Starlight Headliner at the Goodwood facility was an enlightening experience, revealing the meticulous craftsmanship and dedication that goes into every Rolls Royce. The process, which takes approximately 15 hours to complete, is a testament to the brand’s commitment to excellence and attention to detail. Each light, carefully embedded in the headliner, serves as a testament to the skill of the artisans who bring this starry night to life.

Sitting in the back of the Phantom, under the gentle glow of the Starlight Headliner, redefines the very essence of luxury. It’s a serene, almost ethereal experience, akin to being cradled under the night sky. This innovative feature not only enhances the visual appeal of the car’s interior but also enriches the emotional and tactile experience of both driver and passengers. The tranquility it brings to early morning drives, or the solace it offers as you take a momentary retreat in the back seat, is unparalleled. It’s these moments, under the soft luminescence of countless stars, that the Phantom truly comes into its own, not just as a car, but as a haven of unparalleled luxury and comfort.

The Starlight Headliner is more than just a clever invention; it’s a symbol of Rolls Royce’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of luxury and personalization. It reflects a deep understanding of the desires of its clientele, offering them not just a car, but a canvas on which they can project their dreams and aspirations. In the quiet of the early morning, as the world awakens, being greeted by the soft glow of the Starlight Headliner is a reminder of the beauty of innovation, the power of imagination, and the enduring allure of luxury that defines every Rolls Royce.

Rolls royce Phantom Starlight Headliner

Starlight Headliner 1340 lights whole length of the roof

Lake District

I stayed at Storrs Hall right on Lake Windermere, and I was given my own private parking space!

Artists Commissioned

Due to the exceptional machines now used combined with the latest technology, a customer can create their own Picasso. When l sat in the Phantom, that classic image of Rolls Royce was long gone. What I could not fathom was that the new Phantom has a feature space on the fascia designed exclusively to allow owners to personalise their cars with custom artworks.

To demonstrate the possibilities of this space Rolls-Royce has commissioned seven artists to offer their interpretation of the space with dramatically different results.

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The Drive of Empowerment and the Legacy of Rolls Royce

Driving the Phantom was more than an exercise in luxury; it was a statement of empowerment, a challenge to the stereotypes that have long dominated the automotive world. The fashion choices I made, from the Stetson hat to the YVL 22 Russian gold plated vintage pieces, were not just accessories but extensions of the persona I embraced while driving the Phantom—a blend of history, luxury, and a dash of rebellion.

As I ponder the future, with visions of being laid to rest in a Rolls Royce Phantom, I reflect on the journey that luxury cars like the Phantom and the Ferrari Roma represent. They are not just vehicles; they are vessels of dreams, platforms for personal expression, and harbingers of a lifestyle that defies the ordinary. In the world of Rolls Royce and Ferrari, luxury is not just experienced; it is lived, with every mile a chapter in the grand story of life.

Rolls Royce Phantom MenStyleFashion

Empowering Women To Get In the Drivers Seat

Driving the Phantom was very empowering. From the onset, I pondered historically how many women really get into the driver’s seat of cars like this. The image at this level counts and what I wore was about creating my own modern persona regarding the Rolls Royce image. Fashion for me has all been about lifestyle and the role play I am encountering when driving any luxury car. To the ladies out there, if given the opportunity don’t let the car industry convince you that driving obscene massive cars like a Rolls Royce belongs only to men.

Rolls Royce and other car companies are embracing my request with gusto! In 2019,  I am continuing mission to empower more women to get behind the wheel of luxury cars.

Rolls Royce Phantom Gracie Opulanza

What To Wear

Embracing a cowboy outfit to stand out is not just a fashion statement; it’s a declaration of independence, a nod to history, and an ode to the timeless allure of the Wild West, all rolled into one. When I slide behind the wheel, whether it’s the sculpted lines of a Ferrari or the majestic presence of a Rolls Royce, my ensemble is as much a part of the experience as the drive itself. My approach to fashion, much like my driving, is unapologetically bold and distinctly unique.

The Stetson Hat: A Symbol of Resilience

Choosing a Stetson hat is not merely a nod to cowboy culture; it’s an homage to resilience and endurance. The Stetson, with its storied past and iconic silhouette, is more than just headwear; it’s a piece of history that speaks to the trials and triumphs over adversity. As I navigate through life’s highways and byways, the Stetson sits atop my head, not just as an accessory, but as a testament to the enduring spirit of those who dare to be different.

The Silk Hermes Scarf: A Touch of Elegance

Around my neck, a silk Hermes scarf flutters in the breeze, a splash of color and a whisper of luxury against the backdrop of the road. The scarf, with its rich array of colors and patterns, serves as a versatile symbol of elegance that has graced the fashion world for decades. It’s a reminder that true style transcends trends, and that luxury is not just about the price tag, but about the story and the craftsmanship behind each piece.

Vintage and Bespoke Accessories: The Signature of Individuality

Adorning myself with YVL 22 Russian gold plated vintage pieces and bespoke feather hair extensions from Bali, I curate a look that’s as rare and unique as the vehicles I pilot. These pieces, unavailable to the masses, are not just accessories; they are treasures, each with a story, each a stroke in the portrait of my personal style. In a world of mass production, choosing items with a narrative and a soul ensures that my presence is as unforgettable as the cars I drive.

Italian Leather Boots: A Nod to Heritage

As a nod to my Italian heritage, knee-high leather boots with exquisite cross-stitching complete my ensemble, grounding me in both my cultural roots and my love for the road. These boots, crafted with precision and care, are not just footwear; they’re a statement of strength, a blend of comfort and style that carries me through every journey with unwavering confidence.

Embracing Eccentricity: Beyond Fashion Trends

In my world, fashion is not about following trends; it’s about setting them. By combining elements of cowboy attire with luxury accessories and bespoke touches, I create a look that’s all my own—a fusion of the past and the present, of ruggedness and refinement. This approach to style, much like my choice in automobiles, reflects a life lived boldly, a path chosen not by convention, but by passion.

In this ensemble, as I step out of a Rolls Royce or take the Ferrari Roma through its paces, I am not just making a fashion statement; I am embodying a philosophy. It’s a philosophy that values heritage, embraces individuality, and celebrates the art of standing out. After all, in a world full of passengers, I choose to be the driver—not just of cars, but of my own destiny, dressed in a manner that’s as distinctive and daring as the life I lead.

Rolls Royce Phantom – It Has To Be Driven! Rolls Royce Phantom – It Has To Be Driven! Gracie Opulanza Rolls Royce Phantom


The new SUV Rolls Royce Cullinan was long overdue. I was told that 50% of Cullinan buyers were women, this didn’t surprise me. I know that Rolls Royce’s younger buyers will create a luxury lifestyle that allows more women to get behind the driver’s seat. The new generation of Rolls Royce drivers wants to be seen within the lifestyle but also experience what luxury cars have to offer. Rolls Royce today is about driving these cars as one wants to. Regarding the Rolls Royce colours to look out for, it seems everything red is trending. Ironically, I chose to wear red during the Goodwood Plant tour. Each luxury knitwear item is handmade and it takes six weeks to make. I am supporting women in Croatia who are knit to survive!

On request I have decided that when I die, I want to be buried in a Rolls Royce Phantom!

Lake District

Storrs Hall Hotel On Lake Windermere

Cullinan Royce Rolls

Cullinan SUV

Rolls Royce Gracie Opulanza