“What are you doing in that?” yelled my next-door neighbour, “Yes, it has been a very good year,” I nod, as I pull into my quiet Herne Bay street. As I park the Rolls-Royce Dawn outside my home, I immediately hear my children squealing with the sort of delight one would expect upon winning Lotto. A dead giveaway to the neighbour that the Dawn’s existence on our street would be short-lived. Oh well, might as well enjoy the farce.
The world looks very different from behind the wheel of the Dawn. It’s a vast, beautiful motorcar bursting with luxuries that are more akin to a penthouse suite in a luxury hotel. From the organ-pull vent controls, clarinet-key window switches and the wooden-handled umbrellas hidden inside the doors, to the four lavishly soft leather armchairs with built-in massage capabilities, it’s truly a delightful place to be.
Blessed with a rare blue-sky weekend, my humble family of four took it upon ourselves to put the Dawn through the demands of family life. First stop was Sugar at Chelsea Bay. Heading over the Harbour Bridge we kept the roof up and noted that there really was no wind noise at all. A common complaint in lessor convertible vehicles, I’m sure.
Deciding to embrace the sunshine, the push of a button saw the fine fabric of the Dawn’s roof fall with eerie, near-silent precision in less than 22 seconds. Meaning that should the clouds part temporarily, one can drop the top at the traffic lights without so much as misplacing a hair. With the top folded down, the inside of this splendid car becomes exposed to the outside world, and what was private, suddenly becomes public domain. All eyes are on you.
Upon parking the carriage doors swing wide open offering onlookers the glimpse of leather and veneer -that’s like a flash of celebrity skin on the red carpet. I instruct my children to act regal as they disembark, but it would seem that’s too much to ask.
There’s no denying the prestige that comes with the Rolls-Royce marque, it is the undefeated king of the jungle, the last bastion of success. But the funny realisation I had behind the wheel, is that while a Rolls-Royce may appreciate speed, it is never in a hurry. Rushing is for the underclass, after all. Reaching 100km/hr in 4.9 seconds, it does so in a stately manner, and while it’s capable of mind-boggling speeds (it reaches 250km/hr with sublime ease), that is not the reason you drive it. Though much like having a nuclear bomb in your arsenal, there’s security in knowing you have the capabilities should you need them.
And when you do choose to put the pedal to the metal, the sensation of momentum is closer to a private jet taking off, with a quietly-gathering
perfect storm of energy and fine upholstery. With the abundance of torque and the angels fluttering among the eight gears, the Dawn is ever ready and never hurried.
At a whopping 5.285 metres in length, the Dawn has serious presence, but here’s the thing: You don’t possess a car like this, it possesses you. Which can feel a little daunting at first, but the Dawn tries to be gentle, and by the end of the weekend, we had embraced each other’s temperaments. I had her back and she had mine, which was important in dealing with the disdain of other drivers.
That’s the thing about a car of this calibre, you spend a lot of time witnessing people trying to wrap their heads around such an audacious presence, particularly when there’s a woman behind the wheel. I noted on several occasions over the course of my weekend, the look of sheer disgust on the faces of some people (all women I might add). The sight of me behind the wheel, with two young children in the back seat no less, seemed to ignite rage in some members of my sex. One mother — whose sons were pointing with delight at the Dawn as we sat alongside each other at traffic lights — took it upon herself to mouth obscenities at me, shaking her head. I’m not going to place the blame on my new friend Dawn, she’s far too classy to be affected by such mediocrity. Instead, I’m going to buy a Dawn so I can instil some more rage and despair. It seems like the only reasonable thing to do. Life is short, buy the car!