1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II
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Surprisingly, the baseline for the beautifully shaped Phantom II is found in the United States and not in Derby. In Rolls-Royce's early history, the car manufacturer only provided the chassis and other mechanical parts. In 1914, America's most famous coachbuilder, Willie Brewster, became an agent for Rolls-Royce. He would import the chassis from the Derby, England company and would then style his own bodies to fit over the chassis. Brewster was famous for his work and was sought after by many customers with extra money. This led Rolls-Royce to buy out Brewster's company in 1925. Brewster remained on to head up becoming the primary Rolls-Royce dealer in America at the company's headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts. Over time, the Springfield location would end up building over 400 Brewster bodied Phantom Is on Rolls-Royce chassis.
In 1929, the Phantom II was introduced in England. Compared to its predecessor, the II boasted a number of refinements. Mainly, the refinements on the Phantom II had to do with the engine and ride. The chassis had been refined, but, mostly it was the engine that underwent improvement. Symbolic of the company's pursuit of perfection and luxury, the Derby company did not settle for the way things were, but, were intent on pushing toward betterment. In the same vain as had led Henry Royce to complete a 14,371-mile, virtually non-stop run back in 1907, the engineers pushed to improve the cross-flow cylinder head and engine mounting procedure. What emerged was a single unit that was mounted with the transmission. The team didn't stop there. They included such improvements as hydraulic shock absorbers and semi-elliptic springs front and rear. These changes lent to a much more sleek and modern body styling due to lowered ride heights.
Despite a number of these improvements, a good number of practices and refinements Rolls-Royce would incorporate after 1930 came courtesy of Brewster's Springfield operation.
The depression was crippling the Springfield operation. The doors had closed on manufacturing operations. Brewster remained an importer, but, had problems with the new Phantom IIs coming from Britain. They were not considered as refined as the later model Phantom Is the Springfield operation had produced before shutting its doors. Brewster negotiated with Rolls-Royce to agree to buy some 200 of the Phantom IIs had Rolls-Royce agreed to make all of the changes that were incorporated in the American Phantom I.
One of the obvious basic changes made was the inclusion of a left-hand driving position. Some of the other processes Brewster included were 'one-shot' body lubrication, thermostatic radiator shutters, more easily maintained chrome brightwork, a carburetor air cleaner and a silenced intake system. In addition to these body and internal changes, Brewster had also used smaller 20 inch wheels which made the design more stylish. Upon investigation of these changes, the British company decided to incorporate all of the refinements in their construction process, with the exception of the left-hand drive position.
Rolls-Royce's engineers went even further. Through their development program, Rolls-Royce was able to create a delightfully pleasing car that also had improved top speed. They were even able to take and improve the refinements made by the Springfield operation and created a car that rode lower and quieter. The first deliveries of the Phantom II chassis arrived in the spring of 1931.
Brewster and his team were ready for a number of different models. One of those models was what was known as the Newmarket. A Newmarket edition of the Phantom II was offered at this year's auction. In this case, it was considered to be called the 'Newmarket Permanent'. The 'Permanent' title affixed to the name meant this model of the Phantom II was not the rather unpopular convertible version that had been offered by the same name for the Phantom I. The Newmarket Permanent would become an aesthetically popular choice with many people.
Chassis number 301AJS was purchased in 1933 by Gladys Letts. Gladys' father was the wealthy retailer who used to own 3,000 acres in what is now Westwood, in the western part of Los Angeles. Gladys had recently married Harold Janss and decided to buy this Phantom II to either drive herself or be driven in around Beverly Hills.
The car remained the possession of Janss for quite a long time as nothing of the car was really heard about until after World War II. At that time it was owned by a Naval Lieutenant by the name of Vasmer L. Flint in San Diego. It then re-appears across the country in Massachusetts in the early 1950s.
All of a sudden, the car appeared back in California and was listed as the property of Robert F. Goodwin in March of 1986. Since then, it has appeared at auction or been sold three times. Currently, the car is listed as part of John M. O'Quinn's collection. It is from this collection that it is now being offered.
This model Phantom II has a 120 bhp 7,668cc in-line six-cylinder engine. The front axle is solid with leaf spring suspension. The rear axle is live with longitudinal leaf springs. The brakes are four-wheel servo-assisted drum brakes. The body has retained a good deal of its quality throughout the years. The interior is elegant with its copious red leather. The wood finish continues to shine.
This Phantom II Sport Sedan is a highlight and a tribute to Brewster's legacy as a Phantom builder. Its lines are as aesthetically pleasing and rare, as the car itself. With just three examples known to exist made by Brewster & Company, and with just 122 US-specification Phantoms built, this car's presence evokes that the full meaning of luxury and rarity and is truly a fitting tribute.
'Buy: Featured Lots (Lot 151 1932 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Newmarket Sport Sedan', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ11&CarID=r328). RM Auctions Arizona. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=AZ11&CarID=r328. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Rolls-Royce Phantom II', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 12 December 2010, 20:12 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Rolls-Royce_Phantom_II&oldid=402008040 accessed 3 January 2011By Jeremy McMullen
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