Photo: Rolls-Royce

I didn’t really need to go to McLaren’s car reveal party–I know, right?–but the probability of free coffee was high and the address was in a part of Beverly Hills normies like me are not often allowed in. So I called a Lyft (Sentra? Damn it.) and zoomed over to the other side of the tracks.

After you go through the Beverly Hills you’ve seen on TV, Rodeo Drive and the stores and all, you get to Very Nice suburbs. This looks like ’burbs anywhere else except the roads are about 100 yards wide and all the houses look like settings for reality shows.

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After that though, you get to the really good shit. Impossibly tight canyon roads weaving between fortress residences with very high walls and intimidating security cameras. Not door-mounted Rings or some Google Nest weaksauce; it feels like you’re going to meet the final boss from The Hunger Games.

My driver, deeply perplexed and probably a little scared, threw his hands up in exasperation when we got to the address but didn’t seem to be anywhere near a building. But a woman in a white dress standing behind a “MCLAREN” podium allayed my fears that we were lost.

I swung out of the clapped-out economy car and strode toward her, pulling my shirt to my nose for a quick sniff to see if the BO I’d been breathing for the last 20 minutes was me or my Lyft guy (him, totally him) which I’m sure the hostess didn’t notice. (She did.)

After verifying my name was on her list, she asked if I wanted a ride up the driveway. I chuckled and said no, I’d be fine. I wasn’t about to be lumped in with all the other pompous a-holes she’d interact with that night. She’d be impressed by my self-sufficiency. (She wasn’t.)

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“Are you sure? The car’s right here.”

The “car” was a Rolls-Royce Phantom. Fuck it, I’m getting in.

After a little “is it unlocked? Wait, now pull it. Hang on...” awkwardness, I managed to get the door (whoa that’s heavy) open and fall into the softest leather seat I could have imagined.

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I was ensconced in animal hide, wood, ...and silence. My goodness, my head hurts it’s so quiet. This car feels better insulated than a submarine. Which, I imagine, is pretty well sealed up. Watertight, even.

Despite having been reviewing cars for years, I’d actually never sat in a running Rolls-Royce before this encounter. I realized this might be my final thought as I was swallowed up by the seat like a berry in a bowl of yogurt. I mean, honestly, it was more like sitting in a vat of moisturizer cream. And the carpet was growing over my shoes like some kind of sentient plant.

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There were switches... everywhere. So many switches. Oh my god, is the ceiling lit up like stars? It was, and it was magnificent. But before I could process which button to prod first or even get my enormous phone out of my tight hipster pants pockets–

“OK, sir we’re here.”

No, please.

No.

Of course, I’d forgotten that the doors open backward in the 20 seconds I’d spent luxuriating, so I fiddled with the thing like an idiot for a few seconds before being ejected back into reality.

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Reality? Who needs it.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik | 1975 International Scout, 1984 Nissan 300ZX, 1991 Suzuki GSXR, 1998 Mitsubishi Montero, 2005 Acura TL

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