Leonard Chao, who owns a cafe called Kelly & Moss, is a man with a penchant for practicality. #legend invited Chao to test drive the new Rolls-Royce Dawn. Here are his thoughts.
Can you describe your lifestyle?
My lifestyle has completely changed in recent years. I used to be a very social person, and my wife and I would often go out and enjoy new places and things. These days, it’s really become quite family-oriented. I’m a hands-on dad, so I make it my duty to always drop my son off at school and we go swimming together or do some activity at least twice a week. Weekends are now filled with kids get-togethers and lunches with extended family. When all that is done, I’m exhausted.
How would you describe your personal style?
I like things simple and classic, with a little accent to make it less mundane. I like timeless pieces when I choose things, but once in a while I pick things that are quite unexpected.
Are you a car enthusiast?
Honestly, I’m not. I like the beauty of cars, but I’m not really a fan of driving. Certainly, if we didn’t live in Hong Kong, I’d like it more, but too much time here is spent sitting in traffic, so I prefer not to drive and use the car as a mobile office.
What kind of driver would you say you are?
When I do drive I like to think that I’m a pretty good driver. There is a certain momentum I feel when driving. The turning of the steering wheel, the clicking of the signal, the humming of the engine: it is all so rhythmic and it even becomes somewhat soothing up until the point when you get cut off by an angry driver or get stuck in traffic.
Having a car: a luxury or a necessity?
It really depends on where you live, but for people with children, a car is pretty much a necessity. There’s just too much stuff and too many people to be moving around without one.
What do you look for when picking a car?
Comfort, capacity and safety. I think I’m quite practical when it comes to picking out cars. Most people think Rolls-Royce is considered a classic and mature.
Do you share that view?
Yes. For me, a Rolls-Royce has always been that huge car that grandpas have and it is always chauffeur-driven.
Did your views change after driving the new Rolls-Royce Dawn?
Definitely. It handled so well for the driver and I couldn’t imagine being in any other seat. I didn’t expect it to drive so smoothly and turn so well. I’d driven a big Rolls-Royce a while ago and it was just so daunting. This experience completely changed that.
What was your first impression of the Rolls- Royce Dawn?
What a beauty. I’m not that into cars, but very into design, and just seeing it made me want one. Everything seems so streamlined and thought-out. I especially like the umbrellas hidden in the doorjamb.
What did you enjoy about driving the Dawn, in terms of style, design and technology?
I really liked how it handled. It looks much bigger than it drives. It felt easy to control and was a smooth ride. Mostly I loved that the top could be opened and closed while I was driving, making it feel like a sunroof.
If you owned the Rolls-Royce Dawn for a day, what would you do and where would you go with it?
I would transport it back in time to a cool autumn day in Hong Kong, maybe sometime in the 1940s or 1950s, when the roads were quiet and seas were clear. It would be a great ride for a family picnic, through the winding hill roads down to a secluded beach.