"What use is the best limousine in the world if a bad driver is at the wheel?" Andi McCann doesn't have to ask much more than this to justify his job. Because the neat Brit in the forties is chief instructor at Rolls-Royce and, as probably the most distinguished driving instructor in the world, ensures that the sublime ride in the back of a phantom or ghost does not become a fiasco just because a layperson sits at the handlebars in the front. All year round, the man jets around the world, instructs hotel staff in Hong Kong, trains private drivers in Panama or instructs the staff of young billionaires in Beijing in the art of fine vehicle control.
So it is in a certain tradition. If you believe McCann, the factory driver training was invented by no less than company founder Sir Frederick Henry Royce. "However, back then it was all about vehicle operation," admits McCann. Because Royce quickly realized that a car is only as good as its drivers and therefore invested early in their training. "This discovery also gives Rolls-Royce a reputation for unwavering reliability."
While engine lubrication and tire pressure are now monitored by the electronics, even a phantom has something as mundane as the maintenance interval display and the driver's technical services are limited to occasional refueling and the bitter struggle against every little speck of dust on the paint McCann focuses on completely different qualities in his courses. And he is less concerned with vehicle control. The professional athlete has already trained racing drivers for other brands and knows very well how to move a car in the limit area. But you won't experience lane changes with squeaky tires, full braking and cornering in drift during the Rolls-Royce driver training, which can only be done by invitation. McCann teaches the high school of driving and ennobles drivers to chauffeurs - it is not for nothing that the British call this training the "white gloves" program.
Of course, he starts his lessons with a few comments on etiquette, talks about punctuality, an unobtrusive perfume and the right uniform. But it is not enough just to provide adequate clothing. "A dark suit doesn't turn a taxi driver into a private chauffeur, even if it's cut so well," says McCann. Only when a good driver is "sharp and effortless" is he also a good chauffeur: "Accurate, precise, and yet as inconspicuous as a good spirit who is actually not there."
The perfect appearance begins - that should be a matter of course - with a timely arrival: "Three minutes ahead of time is just on time." Then the passengers do not feel rushed and still do not have to worry about where the car is , But a good chauffeur and his car have already prepared perfectly for the trip, says McCann: You know the route, ideally have already spoken to the hotel doorman and prepared the rear for the passengers: “In the cup holders or in the bar compartment is the preferred drink of the guests, there is the ideal comfortable temperature. And of course the air vents and the temperature scales in the cockpit are in perfect symmetry. ”
The most important seconds of the journey begin with the boarding of the guests, says McCann. "Because it is the first impression that decides about wellbeing and woe." In just a few moments, the chauffeur would have to sound out the atmosphere, build a relationship of trust with a little bit of small talk and provide his passengers with the most important information about travel time, weather or daily program. "During these 30 to 60 seconds you keep direct eye contact via the mirror," says the PS professional. "And when there is no reply from the rear, you demonstratively turn the rearview mirror to the ceiling and literally guarantee the passengers their privacy at a glance."
But one good chauffeur doesn't just take care of guests and drinks and has prepared for all kinds of conversation topics. He even has to think about the luggage: he always loads it under the eyes of the owner, makes sure that everything is really on board and, if necessary, has a small rag at hand, says McCann. A Rolls-Royce chauffeur would never roll his customers' suitcases over the asphalt out of fear of street dirt, even if they were so heavy. But if he still discovers dirt on the wheels, he will wipe it off with this rag before leaving ugly marks in the customer's entrance hall or worse, in the trunk of the limousine.
In addition to a small silk scarf, the world chauffeur always has a second accessory on hand, at least when women are on board, McCann says: "An umbrella." Not because of the view of the clouds. But because of the view of the calves. Because it takes a bit of skill and the help of a gentleman if you want to climb ladylike from the back of a phantom, especially without revealing insights. In such cases, McCann not only opens both coach doors at the same time, but also a large umbrella, creating an opaque "cocoon of intimacy" that Hollywood stars in high heels and party dresses appreciate just as much as sovereigns in stately robes. "Only the paparazzi curse me every time," laughs the luxury driving instructor.
Foresighted driving, a granite serenity and always the perfect balance between absolute discretion and unobtrusive driving care - but McCann does not stop at his “White Gloves” courses. The most distinguished driving instructor in the world even looks under his feet and preaches the choice of the right shoes for them: “Of course with thin leather soles.” Because if you ride on rubber, you don't just have too little feeling in your foot, you can't accelerate and brake properly Dose enough and so do not swim with the required gentleness through the traffic. Above all, a rubber sole could squeak on the pedals, the instructor scolds. "And because in a Rolls-Royce, the clock no longer even ticks, there must be absolute calm in such a vehicle."
Author: Benjamin Bessinger / SP-X