Who'd ever think of a Rolls-Royce automobile as a ''best seller,'' especially these days with so many car owners sitting out the '82-model year? Or a Christmas present parked in front of the house with the keys left under the tree?
Compare the statistics. Since the new Silver Spirit was introduced to the United States last March, sales are up some 40 percent, compared with the same time slot a year ago, and 10 percent over 1979, a really big year by Rolls-Royce standards.
Between April 1 and Oct. 24, Rolls-Royce Motors Inc. sold 894 cars in the US, compared with 628 a year ago.
At the same time, other carmakers have watched their wheels dig deeper and deeper into the mud as car buyers stay out of the showrooms and the auto-market outlook remains cloudy at best.
In the case of Rolls-Royce, cost obviously is not an issue. The all-new Silver Spirit, the first new 4-door motorcar by the company in 15 years, goes for $109,000 (and discounting is almost unknown), while the long-wheelbase Silver Spur carries a tab of $117,000. A Corniche convertible tips the price scale at around $160,000.
Why spend so much money on an automobile? Probably for the same reason that some people climb mountains - because it's there. In the case of a Rolls-Royce, it's because the buyers have the money and, to them, the car represents good value. After all, people also buy Aston Martins at $100,000 and up.
Simply, you have to want a Rolls-Royce, or an Aston Martin, to lay that kind of money on the line. A Rolls-Royce certainly isn't the run-of-the-mill automobile.
''Every Rolls-Royce model has its own special following, but the Silver Spirit has exceptionally wide appeal,'' asserts George W. Lewis, president of Rolls-Royce Motors Inc., the US distributor.