Some cars are meant to be driven. Others, you should be driven in. If you can afford a driver, you can afford the wheels for him to pilot. But what wheels should you choose? These are our favourite land yachts, should we ever inherit the oil fields to fund one. Well, a man can dream.
Rolls Royce Phantom
Praise the Germans all you want. Take your hat off to the Americans. But nothing tells the world you’ve arrived like a Roller. The Phantom’s the big daddy of Rolls’ current line up; the ‘short’ wheelbase version is over 19ft long and 6.5ft wide.
Sufficiently large to remind the little people you encounter that your car is probably bigger than their flat, all while you’re cocooned in the sort of luxury usually found in Buckingham Palace. But despite its size and presence, the Phantom isn’t vulgar. Rolls Royces never are.
Mercedes rolled out the Maybach name a few years back on what was, essentially, a blinged-up S Class. Though the S is an incredible motor – perhaps all the car most people will ever need – the Pullman builds on it for those few who are never satisfied.
It’s even larger than the Rolls – its rear doors alone are 1.4m long, meaning it’s likely to require at least two parking spaces. This, however, shouldn’t be a problem. Mercedes limos are the car of choice for world leaders, so if you’re in one of these, no traffic warden’s going to approach you. You probably pay their wages.
If the Rolls is Prince William, then Bentley’s Mulsanne is Harry. Both are regal and establishment to the core, but there’s something a little racier (and cooler) about the Bentley. Perhaps that’s why The Queen, the world’s coolest woman, has one as her official state car.
Bentley’s just released a stretched version of the Mulsanne, providing an extra 9.9 inches of legroom. It also features a 2,200 watt stereo with 18 speakers – allowing you to pretend you’re at the Albert Hall which, given the car’s size, isn’t too far off being accurate.
The Mulsanne is also available in a driver-focused ‘Speed’ spec, in case you fancied throwing a car the size of Chatsworth down some B-roads yourself.
If you want to feel like a king, you choose a European luxobarge. But if it’s Hollywood glamour you hanker for, then you have to go American.
Cadillac has long been producing limos, which is why the world’s coolest man, Barack Obama, has one as his official state motor. The XTS limo doesn’t boast the same level of refinement as its European counterparts, but it’s guaranteed to be the only one with a fully stocked bar and an L-shaped sofa in the passenger area.
Mercedes 600 Grosser
Should you have dictatorial ambitions, this is the car you need. The 600 was the car of choice for Idi Amin, Pol Pot and Enver Hoxha, and both Blofeld and Pablo Escobar also owned them.
Built between 1963 and 1981, it was the most magnificent car of its day. While it lacks the modern luxuries of its listmates, it’s undoubtedly the most stylish in this company.
Driving it will ensure you’re feared by everyone and welcome everywhere – just one of the perks of being a ‘president for life’.