Dawn production has now concluded – but don't worry if you missed out, the secondhand market is bumper
By Matt Bird / Wednesday, 3 May 2023 / Loading comments
The times, they are a-changin’ at Rolls-Royce. No sooner had the final Wraiths been confirmed than the end of Dawn was also announced. Not to be replaced in the conventional sense, either, what with the new Spectre waiting in the wings. If that car assumes the position of the Wraith in the current line-up, perhaps further down the line a drop-top version will occupy the space held until today by the Dawn. But whatever happens, it’s going to be a big shake-up, the kind of which we haven’t seen from Rolls Royce since the Phantom VII launch 20 years ago.
Before charging headfirst into the future, however, let’s take a minute to reflect on the Dawn itself. Not a car many of us will ever think about signing on the dotted line for, but an important Rolls-Royce nonetheless. It was the best-selling open R-R in history, for one thing, seizing on the popularity of the earlier Phantom Drophead coupe to deliver what always felt like just the right Rolls-Royce convertible at just the right time. The Dawn was an inherently less stuffy prospect than a saloon, even the smaller and sportier Ghost, just the vehicle over the past few years to appeal to the young and hugely successful folk who now want a Rolls-Royce. Big British cabrios haven’t always had the best image around – the Dawn was hugely desirable from the get-go.
In a press release announcing the end of production, CEO Torsten-Muller Otvos said: “Dawn truly reflects the joy of good company, the thrill of adventure and the peace of quiet reflection. Indeed, this motor car is a testament to the modern art of living, recalling ‘la dolce vita’ spirit in every detail. As production of Dawn draws to a close, we can reflect on an extraordinary chapter in the marque’s history. This beautiful motor car perfectly embodies contemporary luxury while celebrating the marque’s founding principles and heritage.” A florid summary typical of Rolls-Royce – if nothing compared to the “erotic tingle” infamous from the launch release – but the point is valid. This wasn’t a convertible in the corner-chasing roadster sense of the word, and neither was it a 2+2 cabrio where the rear bench was only fit for toddlers; the Dawn was a mighty Rolls-Royce for four people to enjoy open-air travel. That also looked absolutely superb. And was powered by a twin-turbo V12. No wonder it proved so popular.
The Wraith didn’t change a great deal in the years following its 2015 launch. Like the rest of the Rolls-Royce range, a Black Badge model was added, with even more performance, and there were small cosmetic tweaks, but the fundamentals continued unchanged. Probably because they were very good. And who cares if it’s old iDrive when you’re captivated by the thrill of adventure?
The popularity of the Dawn and its long shelf life means plenty are available secondhand, with more than 30 currently on PH. You’ll still need comfortably more than £100,000, however, and that’s for one with a six-figure mileage – popular by Rolls-Royce standards is still very exclusive by everybody else’s. This one stood out for the spec, one customer back in 2017 brave enough to follow Rolls-Royce’s with the launch car and plumping for Mandarin leather. Here it’s with Arctic White rather than grey which maybe doesn’t look quite so suave, but in a sea of demurely optioned Dawns it’s great to see one with such a bold upholstery choice, one that must compel the driver to have the roof down permanently. Navy Blue contrast leather and Tuscan Ash Veneer make for a spectacular interior.
This Dawn has covered just 7,000 miles from new, which is modest even by the standards of the car. It’s not unusual to see used examples with more than 20 or 30,000 miles out there, as previous owners have sought to make the most of their dolce vita experience. This one is on at POA, but we’d expect circa £200k given the age and mileage; £195,000 buys one a year older with comparable miles. Summer sojourns to the seaside will never be the same again.
SPECIFICATION | ROLLS-ROYCE DAWN
Engine: 6,592cc V12, twin-turbo
Transmission: 8-speed automatic, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): [email protected],250rpm
Torque (lb ft): [email protected],500rpm
Top speed: 155mph (limited)
MPG: 20mpg (NEDC combined)
Year registered: 2017
Recorded mileage: 7,000
Price new: £220,000
Yours for: POA
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