It is not uncommon for people to choose cars that will show off how successful and powerful they have become. But property developer Panas Jongkolrat is an exception to this rule, as he buys cars simply because he likes them and not to flaunt his riches.
“I’ve never thought about whether my cars are showing off my wealth. I don’t really care about that; I’m simply very proud of them,” says Panas.
He says his favourite car at the moment is a 1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II, powered by a 6.8-litre V8 engine.
“I used to be a farmer, and I was quite lucky to have become involved in the real-estate industry. My business is thriving, so I can save a lot of money and afford to buy the cars I love, including my Silver Shadow II,” he says.
He bought it from a friend who collects classic autos.
“The car’s former owner maintained it very well, which makes me feel confident. Maintenance by previous owners is a very important factor. The price of a used car with a good maintenance track record is higher than for ones without a good maintenance history,” he says.
“But most important of all, I’m crazy about it [the Rolls-Royce]. I watched a lot of gangster films when I was young, and the bad guys would always ride around in this type of car. Now, that doesn’t mean I want to act like I’m a mafia type – because there is no mafia in our country. Rather, I like it because it provides a comfortable ride, even when I’m behind the wheel.
If I’m out on business, then I have my chauffeur drive, but I drive it myself maybe three or four times a week.”
Panas likes to take his Silver Shadow II out on the roads near his house.
“I always drive it near my home, because there’s less traffic congestion. If it doesn’t get driven, the engine could develop a problem. The engine is the heart of an automobile. Without good maintenance, it’ll jerk. The Silver Shadow II has a reputation for a smooth ride and quiet engine. It should be so smooth that a glass of water placed on top of the hood while the engine is idling won’t spill,” he says.
“There are only a few garages in our country that can perform maintenance on it, but I’m okay with owning it.”