Phantom gifts are all around us in Natchez

Published 12:21 am Sunday, December 9, 2007

You can’t find anything good here in Natchez. You’ve got to drive to Baton Rouge, Jackson or Alexandria to do your shopping, especially if you want something nice.

How many times have you heard that?

Perhaps at one time, for some items, that may have been true.

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But increasingly the global economy is shrinking the virtual distance between the Miss-Lou and the rest of the world.

Today, you can get anything here, usually in a short time frame.

No, I don’t mean ordering books through Amazon.

But speaking of books, lots of people don’t realize it, but our local bookstores can generally order anything that Amazon stocks. But by doing so locally, your tax dollars stay at home.

But what about technology or other specialty items?

Many years ago, it often took months, if not years, before the latest and greatest techno-gadget made it to the Miss-Lou.

But that’s changed lately.

For example, the most sought-after cell phone/PDA, the Apple iPhone can be purchased from AT&T, right there on John R. Junkin Drive.

So news I heard last week should come as no surprise — a local man bought the cream of the four-wheeled vehicle crop and he bought it in the City of Natchez.

That’s right, one of the most rare cars in the world was bought here in Natchez.

If you see a new set of cool wheels cruising the Miss-Lou, don’t think it’s a tourist.

A local man, who prefers his privacy, just bought a 2005 Rolls-Royce Phantom, a car worth more than twice the cost of many people’s houses.

What’s that, you say, that’s impossible?

No, you didn’t miss a new Rolls-Royce dealership popping up on the bypass.

In fact, there’s no Rolls-Royce dealership within nearly 400 miles of Natchez.

Yet, the man bought the car as sure as day, and he bought it from a place where most of us would go expecting to buy a Mustang, F-150 pickup or maybe an Explorer — Natchez Ford.

Owner Brad Yarbrough said the sale of the Rolls was rare, but he’s often done similar things for customers.

“This is just an example of what I’m able to do for people,” he said. “We can find people, whatever they want.”

In 2006, the dealership sold a rare Ford GT-40 for nearly $150,000.

Natchez Ford’s General Sales Manager Chuck Smith handled the Rolls-Royce deal this past weekend.

“They only made (the Phantom) starting in 2004,” Smith said. “They’re very rare, very expensive cars.”

Smith wouldn’t disclose the details of the sale.

“It’s a Rolls-Royce Phantom and it’s going to have a phantom owner.”

Smith would not discuss the sales price either, but hinted at the amount of money involved by discussing the value of such vehicles.

“Used, you’re talking in excessive of a quarter of a million dollars,” he said. “New, you’re talking in excessive of half a million dollars.”

Even for seasoned car pros such as Yarbrough and Smith, such a large, single deal is rare.

“This was a first for me,” Smith said.

Rare, but certainly possible.

So as you’re doing your shopping this Christmas season, think about the gifts you need to buy.

Is it really necessary to drive outside of our area to shop?

If a person can get one of the most rare cars in the world delivered here in Natchez, then it’s quite likely you can find something for your little elves without spending your money outside our area.

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or