The Great Marques Vol 1: Rolls Royce

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Anyone who likes to drool over photographs of elegant cars will appreciate this offering as a Christmas gift. Its plain, modest encyclopaediaesque cover not only conceals a concours of elegant machinery in gracefully moving colour inside, but seasons the stall for what is clearly intended to be a series for the collector.

In this first volume, filmed on location at but one set, an effusive narrator tells the story of Rolls-Royce, not through the historian’s eye but through the company’s products themselves. Chronologically from Silver Ghost to Silver Cloud, these are paraded before him by proud RREC members as if in a beauty contest.

In the best traditions of such a contest, he in turn interviews and ogles, but does not test-drive. The accent is on aesthetic value rather than on performance; on coachbuilding rather than on engineering.

As a result, the sporting motorist might be a mite disappointed by this production. He sees no car exceed 15 mph, hears few driving impressions, and has little more than the narrator’s word that these are “the Best Cars at the World”. The admirer of the automobile as art, however, will rejoice in the opportunity to examine at close quarters the machines which created that legend . GT