Used car buying guide: Rolls-Royce Ghost

Reader warning: this is not your ‘Rolls for the price of a Ford Focus’ story. The cheapest Ghost we found was a 2010/59-reg with 118,000 miles for £63,000 – around the price of a new, premium EV.

This kind of money doesn’t even buy you best in class, since it was finished in wedding white and had endured five previous keepers. True, the service history was described as ‘full’, but there was no word of it being by Rolls-Royce. Being registered in 2010, the car was what we’ll call, for the purposes of this guide, a Series I Ghost.

Click here to buy your next used Ghost from Autocar

The model was launched in 2009, when it was described as the ‘baby Rolls’, since it sat beneath the Phantom in the manufacturer’s line-up. An extended-wheelbase version came along in 2011. The following year, the options list expanded to include more bespoke items, including wood veneers and natural grain leather trim. Two years later, in 2014, the Series II Ghost, a facelifted version arrived, with a more imposing grille, restyled headlights and more supportive seats but the same twin-turbo, 563bhp 6.3-litre V12 driving the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

A large part of this later generation’s appeal was that it could be personalised to a much greater extent than the Series I. We found a 2014/64-reg Series II with 23,000 miles for £105,000. That’s serious money, which is why, for this guide, we’ll stick with the Series I, nice examples of which can easily be found for £80,000. No, we haven’t won the lottery, but for a car of the Ghost’s quality, that’s surely not an excessive amount to pay.

Those many thousands of pounds buy a beautifully styled car with a sumptuous interior whose many features needn’t detain us here. It’s all enough to turn a buyer’s head.

One of the Ghost’s attributes is its ability to absorb mileage without breaking a sweat, making it a target for clockers. As you can imagine, there’s a tidy profit to be made from giving a Ghost a haircut. One specialist technician we spoke to claims to have been offered several over the years with low indicated mileages but which he was sure had done much higher ones.

And then there are the examples on their fourth or fifth owner, a person who, by this time, can just afford to buy the car but not pay for its upkeep. Another specialist we contacted had, that same day, been presented with just such a Ghost. On hearing what it required and what it would cost to put right, his customer did an about-turn and scarpered. Brakes, in particular, are very expensive, with discs costing £500 a corner and pads £400 each, front and rear. Finally, it may be a Rolls but, like any car, a Ghost has its off days. It’s why you should favour one with a full service history over any number of expensive fitted options. If you can find one with the balance of Rolls-Royce’s own service plan (see ‘Also worth knowing’, right), then so much the better.


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