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Flying ladies float into town

Tuesday, 4th October, 2011

HIGH ROLLER: Ralph and Margaret Plarre with their 2005 Rolls Royce Phantom. HIGH ROLLER: Ralph and Margaret Plarre with their 2005 Rolls Royce Phantom.

By Andrew Robertson

Members of that most exclusive of car clubs - the Rolls Royce Owners’ Club of Australia - glided into the city for the weekend.

Sixteen examples of the British motoring icon and their besotted owners spent the long weekend here for the club’s annual road trip.

Club registrar David Doyle said there was something special about owning a Rolls Royce, or its close cousin the Bentley.

Mr Doyle, who owns a 1984 Silver Spirit, said while there were other luxury makes around there was nothing quite like being behind the wheel of a ‘Roller’.

“There’s nothing like following that flying lady on the front,” said Mr Doyle, referring to the “Spirit of Ecstasy” emblem on the bonnet of every car.

“It’s just the love of a fine motor car. It’s considered one of the best machines in the world.”

But Mr Doyle said you didn’t have to be rich or famous to own one.

While new examples are worth up to $1 million, early models were affordable and many were owned by people with “some pretty ordinary backgrounds”.

Ralph Plarre probably isn’t in that category.

Mr Plarre and wife Margaret have made the trip from Melbourne in their 2005 Rolls Royce Phantom which boasts a 12 cylinder engine and rear doors that close at the press of a button.

“These cars are passion, not transport,” Mr Plarre told the BDT in Sturt Park where the club members met and had lunch after arriving in the city on Friday.

An avid car enthusiast, Mr Plarre has an impressive collection of vehicles - including Cadillacs, Rolls Royces, a Porsche and a Bentley - at his home in Essendon.

But Mr Doyle said driving any Rolls Royce attracted plenty of attention.

“It’s like driving in a fish bowl - everyone peers in at you.”

The city’s most famous Rolls Royce owner was the late artist Pro Hart who famously adorned one with his trademark style of artwork.

Mr Doyle said the club members planned to visit Pro’s widow, Raylee, and son, John, during their stay.

“Pro Hart was a member and loved Rolls Royce and Bentley.”

 

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