Just to reassure
both all of my readers that “I am not dead! This is how rumors get started!” I thought I’d give you a preview of the stories I’m working on from the events of the just-completed long weekend in Los Angeles.
Why is it that every time I schedule a press car in California I end up having to rent something first? This was one of the special silver-with-black-stripe Mustangs built specifically for Hertz by Ford. Not the Penske Mustang, mind you: this is a tape-and-stripe job, and if the one I rented is any indication, you might want to steer clear. We’ll have a review on TTAC this week.
For the first two nights I had a suite at the Kimpton Palomar on Wilshire Boulevard. This was an absolutely indefensible decision to make and I expect the Hearst Corporation to burn my expense report and hire a goat to urinate on the ashes.
Friday and Saturday I mostly spent doing photography and some driving in the new-for-2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith, along with some additional stuff with a Duesenberg at the Petersen Museum.
While this supercharged-after-the-fact “Doozy” is a very old car, it’s also a very splendid car and it continues to be a hugely desirable item eighty years after it was built. More to come on that subject in an upcoming issue of Road&Track.
Friday night was spent out with The Smoking Tire’s Matt Farah and Tom Morningstar rolling the Wraith around Manhattan Beach. Matt alerted us to possibly the worst pickup line/action of all time, being performed by a grungy fiftysomething dude on a worn-out fortysomething woman. And it worked! The only question I have is: What does pointing to your crotch then slowly moving your hand halfway down to your knee, along your inseam, mean exactly? Maybe he was showing off the quality of the stitchwork in his pants. Regardless, I harassed him about it a little bit, which led to him ranting about people who owned expensive cars. While he ranted, I pressed the button that caused the Wraith to hide “Ellie” beneath a trapdoor in the bonnet. Didn’t want the lady to be exposed to this.
Saturday night the world-famous autowriter Blake Z Rong agreed to dinner and drinks. He was not impressed by the Wraith’s optional starlight headliner, which costs in the neighborhood of twelve thousand dollars:
I was, however. It’s romantic and lovely and the fact that it will probably be used in real life by Arab princes who want better illumination so they can more effectively rape Liam Neeson’s daughter in the (surprisingly spacious) back seat of their Rolls-Royce diminishes the appeal not one whit for me.
Saturday night I snagged a suite at the Intercontinental Century City. In my Kimpton-v-Intercontinental battle, I have to say that it was at least a draw, perhaps tipped towards the latter by the excellence of the bed.
Sunday I returned to the snow and ice of Central Ohio courtesy of a long flight that was interrupted for repeated de-icing in Chicago. At some point after I retrieved my Town Car, I hit my head on the lid of its trunk — the load of snow on said trunk exceeded the capacity of the springs — so I’m nursing a bit of a headache from that.
So there you have it. I’m alive and working on what I believe will be a thoroughly interesting story regarding the Wraith. The English rags have already toured the thing around Europe, but I’ll be focusing on some of the non-dynamic aspects of the car. Which isn’t to say it’s not fast. It is fast. Trust me. You’ll see.
Special thanks to Allan Clarke, the Guitar Center Hollywood Platinum Room’s manager, who risked life and limb running across Sunset Boulevard to shoot me with the Wraith. You can reach him at 714-504-8596; he has three brilliant Private Stocks available and a very sharp deal on a Knaggs Tier 3, should you be savvy enough to want one.