Ferrari 330 GT
Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.

If we go to a sporting event or a pop concert or something we can drive straight in to the VIP parking without having a pass.

2004 Berlin – Moscow – Berlin

Alastair’s 1993 purchase of a Rolls Royce turns out to be one of the best rally cars he owns.

In 1993, Naples, Florida, I bought the Rolls Royce at auction by mistake. I never went to the auction to buy a Rolls Royce but it just happened to be there. I had no intention of being a Rolls Royce driver and couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to be one. A Bentley maybe, but a Rolls Royce…no. But it was so cheap because it was right-hand drive and nobody wanted it. I got it for a bargain, I paid $12,000 for it. I shipped it back to the UK and it was a great success. I’d had big Mercedes road cars for years that we used for picnics and trips to the theatre and so on but as soon as I had the Rolls Royce the ladies didn’t want to know about the Mercedes, they wanted to go in the Rolls Royce.

If I take the Rolls Royce to London and drive it to the Savoy or the Hilton, or any major London hotel, I can leave the car parked outside and the doormen don’t have a problem at all. If we go to a sporting event or a pop concert or something we can drive straight in to the VIP parking without even asking for a pass.

Having bought the Rolls by mistake I also rallied it by mistake. It wasn’t meant to be a rally car, it’s the last car I’d ever think of rallying. But around came the Berlin – Moscow – Berlin and all the other cars I had were broken because I’d beaten the hell out of them and not had time to fix them. So faced with a rally in 2004, I decided to take the Rolls and it was a hoot. Once again, nobody expected it to be quick, which it is. Nobody expected it to be agile, and it is. It’s a good, unsuitable car because it’s not unsuitable at all.

The Berlin-Moscow-Berlin went from Moscow, right round through Poland and all the Eastern European countries and back in a big circle. It had competitive bits in it, including hill climbs. One classic climb was 20k long and pouring with rain. We were up against Jaguars and Ferraris and, at the dinner which we had each evening, the organiser couldn’t help himself when he said: ‘I don’t normally say this but today I have to, that fastest up the hill climb was Alastair Caldwell in the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud.' Not the Mustangs or anything like that but the unsuitable Rolls Royce.

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