The rare vehicle originates from Russia.
If you can afford a Rolls-Royce, you probably want to have a say in what it looks and feels like. After all, spending at least $450,000 on a Phantom should entitle you to some choices. The people in Goodwood recognize that their customers want an almost endless array of options and have allowed these people to create some truly special pieces of automotive art. We've seen a Rolls-Royce inspired by the view of the Middle East from space, another with rare Koa wood finishings, and thousands of other unique creations. But no matter how much you're willing to spend, some materials are simply off-limits, as one Italian importer has just learned the hard way.
According to Italian news publication Corriere Fiorentino, a Rolls-Royce imported from Russia has been seized after customs and the Guardia di Finanza in Livorno discovered that the model in question was upholstered with rare crocodile skin. The crocodile is a protected species under the Washington Convention on the protection of species, an international agreement that prohibits the commercialization of protected species or wares made from these species without explicit authorization. The multilateral treaty aims to protect both endangered plants and animals and is also known as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES for short, and was introduced into effect in 1975.
Reportedly, the car was headed for a dealership in Rome where it was to be resold, but now the car has been impounded and the importer sued €20,000 (approximately $24,000). The vehicle isn't a total loss for the importer, however, as the judicial authorities have ruled that once the crocodile leather inserts have been removed, the importer can repossess the vehicle and presumably relist it for sale. It's unclear who fitted the upholstery, but with the CITES agreement being in effect for more than 45 years, you can bet it wasn't Rolls-Royce. More likely, an aftermarket shop in Russia carried out the modifications. Hopefully, this sort of thing comes to a permanent end before the endangered species do.