Do You Have Any Grey Poupon?
Rolls Royce Cullinan
Every so often a model comes along that as soon as you lay eyes upon, you know you must have. I must admit, for a model junkie such as myself, every so often is far too often. Anyway the latest such model to catch my Sauron-like gaze is this Chinese Dealer Edition Rolls Royce Cullinan. Notice I said Chinese DE and not Norev or Kyosho or what have you. It’s not uncommon for these dealer cars to have no manufacturer markings, but what is unusual is that we have yet to figure out who is behind it.
Rolls was somewhat late to the SUV party, with the Cullinan only being confirmed in 2015 and released for the 2019 model year. It is built on Rolls’ bespoke platform that they dubbed the “Architecture of Luxury.” In addition to it being their first SUV, it was also their first vehicle with all wheel drive. As much as I bemoan the fact that we live in a world where every single automaker feels the need to have a SUV model, regardless of whether or not it fits the brand, I’m not bothered by the Cullinan as it seems to be very much on brand for Rolls. It also helps that Rolls Royce’s styling cues translate well to the SUV bodystyle, unlike say, a first gen Porsche Cayenne or Lambo Urus. It’s like a Ghost that’s taller. Or maybe I like it because here in the US, the Cullinan is categorized as a station wagon.
Back to our unbranded model. If you are someone that equates weight with quality, then you will appreciate the Cullinan. In addition to the body being made of diecast, the base of the model is diecast as well. An interesting construction tidbit is that the base also forms the side sills of the model. The model features a working suspension, though it’s not articulated. Up front, Rolls Royce’s classic Pantheon grill is perforated as are the mesh elements in the bumper. Sitting atop that grille is a removable Spirit of Ecstasy, and the model comes with a blank that allows you to display the model as though the ornament is in its stored position. The hood opens on a multi-link hinge with support struts. It doesn’t open very far, and the downside to the hinge type used is the panel gap between the hood and A pillar is relatively large in order to facilitate movement of the hood. While a more simple hinge would have appeared “cheap,” it would have provided a better looking shut line. Under that hood sits what is a merely passable facsimile of Rolls’ 6 ¾ V-12 motor. Of greater interest is the grille that sits between the base of the windshield and underside of the hood. It’s nice to have this detail that could easily go unnoticed.
The chrome trim that surrounds the side glass is beautifully done, and is a separately applied piece, as are all the other chrome trim bits. The panorama sunroof opens into the car, and has a working sunshade as well, which is a first in my collection. Other exterior features include folding mirrors and an opening fuel door. The wheel center caps are fixed in place so that the famous double R logo is always upright while the wheels spin. Out back the split tailgate opens wide to reveal pretty much nothing. There is an under-floor storage compartment, but it would have been nice to include the Cullinan’s optional “viewing suite.”
We do get optional seats on the inside though, in the form of the Cullinan’s Immersive seating package. This makes the Cullinan a 4-seater and adds a glass partition between the seats and luggage compartment. Separating the rear seats is a center console that includes a decanter for Kool-Aid and 2 glasses to drink it out of. In the model that console opens and even has some molded-in detail inside of it. On the front seat backs, the obligatory Rolls Royce picnic tables are included as well as the fold out LCD screens. Those seats slide back and forth on some nicely chromed rails, and under each seat sits an equally nicely chromed HVAC vent. Another small touch, but one that doesn’t go unappreciated. The front console opens as well, but it’s just an empty box. The dashboard is faithfully replicated, but it’s mostly a decal that’s doing the replicating. The issue with that is the decal doesn’t fully conform to the molded-in detailing that lies beneath it, such as the knobs for the HVAC vents.
So, should you buy it? Well, considering it’s about $250 before shipping, I’m gonna say no. While the cost is very much in line with what you’d pay for the Kyosho Rolls models, and the quality and features meet or exceed that of the Kyoshos, $250 is still a nice chunk of change. But if you have to have it, I doubt you’ll be disappointed.