Detroit Auto Show: Scratching That Anglo-Saxon Itch with Rolls-RoyceS

Rolls-Royce CEO Ian Robertson took the podium to confirm several things: that Rolls is still custom-crafted catnip to Beverly Hills plastic surgeons (90210 harbors their number one dealership); that their armored superluxe market is healthy; that the glistening British stalwart refers to potential lineworkers, in charmingly medieval fashion, as "apprentices"; and that even non-news sounds juicy when it's delivered in tasteful BBC tones.

Well, it wasn't all back-patting over 2007 sales of precisely 1010 members of the Phantom family (they've never cracked four figures before). Robertson announced that, thankfully, the new RR4—let's just call it the "Mini Rolls"—is a "truly authentic Rolls Royce." Maybe he thought we were expecting some kind of Lilliputian pastiche, ordered by parent BMW, and felt obliged to quash such errant musings.

The RR4 will also get a new engine, although Robertson declined to cough up details. They will be adding a second floor to their Goodwood plant, and they'll be bringing on extra "apprentices" to stretch the leather and rub the burl. Where can we sign up?