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Lot 14: Rolls-Royce Phantom I Tourer

Cars, H&H Sales Limited (16 June 2012)

"After seven years of experiment and test, the 40/50hp six cylinder Phantom chassis emerged, and is offered to the public as the most suitable type possible for a mechanically-propelled chassis under present-day conditions" (New Phantom launch brochure, May 1925). By 1925, the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost had been upstaged by a younger generation of more technically advanced luxury cars. The glory days of the 1913 Alpine Trials had long passed and both F. Henry Royce and RR sales manager Claude Johnson felt the need to produce a new claimant to the title 'best car in the world'. Just as the competition between car manufacturers was becoming increasingly fierce, so that between rival coachbuilders had intensified correspondingly. With the arrival of each faster, more powerful chassis came the opportunity to construct ever more lavish, sophisticated coachwork. To ensure that their cars could be fitted with the finest bodies in the world, Rolls-Royce introduced the 'New Phantom'. While, its tapered channel-section chassis, four-speed manual transmission, supple springing (semi-elliptic front, cantilever rear) and ingenious gearbox-driven servo-assisted four wheel brakes owed much to its predecessor, the Phantom's 7668cc engine was all new. Quoted as being an impressive 33 percent more powerful than the Ghost's unit, it featured overhead valves set in a detachable cylinder head, two cylinder blocks with three cylinders each, aluminium alloy crankcase and a massive seven-bearing crankshaft. Bore and stroke dimensions of 108 x 139.7mm resulted in abundant torque enabling the flagship Rolls-Royce to accelerate from walking speed to approximately 80mph in top gear. Unveiled at the company's 14/15 Conduit St, London showrooms during May 1925, the 'New Phantom' remained in production in the UK until 1929, by which time some 2,269 chassis had been delivered. In common with the Silver Ghost before it, the 'New Phantom' (retrospectively dubbed Phantom I) was also manufactured in Springfield Massachusetts between 1926 and 1931. The US versions differed in a number of respects, including: the long wheelbase chassis were four inches shorter than the UK ones, the transmissions were three-speed units with a centre change rather than four-speed with right-hand change as fitted to the UK specification cars, while the Americans opted for a one-shot centralised chassis lubrication system rather than the multi-point Enot set-up of the home market vehicles. US production totalled 1240 units giving a grand total for Phantom I manufacture of 3,509, a pleasing number of which are still doing good service in all corners of the world. The crowd-stopping Phantom I being sold is a left-hand drive four-seat Tourer from 1927. 'SV 8291' is resplendent in Cream over Brown coachwork, Brown-coloured leather upholstery and Beige hood. The vendor informs us that (a) it was rebodied in the 1930s, (b) some 25,000 was invested on the mechanical parts of the car during the late 1980s, and (c) the current body was restored, the interior re-trimmed and a new top fitted circa 2005/2006. With that in mind, he now regards the bodywork and paintwork as "immaculate", and the interior trim, six-cylinder engine and three-speed manual gearbox as "exceptional". PLEASE NOTE: This vehicle does not have an MOT.

Lot Details
Auction Cars
H&H Sales Limited, Rockingham Castle
Lot Number14
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Condition rating
Registration numberSV 8291
Chassis numberS413FL
Engine number20136
Engine capacity (cc)7668
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors