Road Test: Luke Spiller of the Struts in a Rolls-Royce Phantom
“It’s cool being in here,” the Struts’ wild-haired frontman, Luke Spiller, says as he reclines his seat in the spacious back of a 2019 Rolls-Royce Phantom. The roof’s leather interior is speckled with 1,420 fiber-optic lights that resemble a constellation, there’s a bottle-sized fridge between the seats for chilling beverages and he’s cranking AC/DC’s “Problem Child” on the car’s bespoke stereo. “I think it’s so over-the-top and fantastic — a bit like me.” He smirks.
Like the vehicle, Spiller is decked out in bespoke gear — a frilly, black-and-red leather outfit with the words 21st CENTURY DANDY stitched into the back. It’s a phrase he says represents his new stage persona and ties into the British glam-rock disciples’ upcoming second LP, Young and Dangerous, which is full of fun, outsized rockers like their recent hit “Body Talks” and single “Primadonna Like Me” — a song that even mentions riding in the backseat of a Rolls-Royce as part of the Dandy character’s delusions of grandeur.
In the song, the car is a ploy to get people’s attention, and it does the job in real life, too. As our driver takes us up Manhattan’s Upper West Side, passersby gawk at the $675,000 vehicle, painted dark green to look like the Phantom Fred Astaire owned. Spiller closes the curtains on the rear window and thinks out how he’d customize the car — everything from the dashboard etching (commission work by your favorite artist) to the wooden interior (enshrine the elm tree in your childhood backyard) to that roof constellation (go with your zodiac sign, obviously) is up for grabs. “If this was mine,” he sighs in awe, “I would go for a different color. I’d want a white roof and a black body. The interior would be a royal red with my name stitched into the pillows, or one for me and one for the missus.”
For now, though, he’s stuck with customizing his own ride, a baby blue 1982 Austin Mini Mayfair. It’s the only car he’s ever had. He spotted it shortly after passing his driving test at age 19 (“A lot of things I do, I tend to pick up quite later on,” he says) and plonked down £1,200 for it. He says it’s now worth close to £7,000 (about nine grand) because of how he’s kept it up. For as much as he wants to live a rock & roll lifestyle, the one place he plays it safe is with the car. “I love her so much, I shy away from doing anything that could be risky, like speeding,” he says. “I’ve had a couple of tickets — who hasn’t — but the thought of scratching it or being involved in any form of accident scares the shit out of me, so I drive very respectfully.”
No wonder Spiller is happy to relax and let our chauffeur deal with the stresses of New York traffic, like honking at slow-moving Ubers. “As far as I’m aware, this is the definition of the architecture of luxury,” he says, not a twinge of irony in his voice.
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