1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I
|Model History||Auction sales research||Specifications||Body styles and Chassis Data|
The Rolls-Royce Company began its distinguished career in the early 1900's, focusing on quality and performance. During 1905 and 1906, forty vehicles were produced, all with four-cylinder engines producing 20 horsepower.
1906 was a big year for the young company, with Charles Stewart Rolls and Frederick Henry Royce officially registering the Rolls-Royce Limited Company. The legendary 40/50 six-cylinder Silver Ghost was introduced with much acclaim. During the same year, Rolls and Royce entered the Tourist Trophy Race, one of the most prestigious events of the time. Their powerful and durable car outran the rest of pack, beating the nearest competitor by 27 minutes. In 1907 the company further showcased their vehicles durability by participating in a 15,000 mile reliability event.
In a time when maintenance and durability were on the minds of every consumer, Rolls-Royce left their buyers with peace of mind. To add even more prestige to their vehicles, the vehicles were marketed to the most elite and well-to-do in society. By supplying their vehicles to British royalty, the Rolls-Royce Company concreted their reputation in history. The cars durability was matched by its comfort; they were outfitted with luxurious bodies by some of the top coachbuilders in the industry. The engines were powerful and provided a rather smooth and comfortable ride. The engines were engineering marvels, constructed of an aluminum alloy crankcase. Instead of chains, the timing and ignition drive were both run by gears. The parts were hand polished and constructed to a high degree of accuracy. The sturdy construction meant that conversation were possible, even while the vehicle was at top speed.
The 40/50 HP Silver Ghost models were sold for a period of fifteen years as the companies only offering. By 1922, the Rolls-Royce Company began offering the Twenty which was offered to a larger market, though still very exclusive. Competition such as Hispano Suiza had caught up with Rolls-Royce by 1925; Rolls-Royce responded. Development began on a more modern version of its Silver Ghost engine that would be more powerful and durable. The stroke was enlarged providing a greater increase in horsepower. The resulting vehicle was named the '40/50 New Phantom'. When the Phantom II was introduced in 1929, the '40/50 New Phantom' was retrospectively named the Phantom I. There were two wheelbases offered on the Phantom I, a 143.5 and a 150.5 inch. Many of the mechanical components stayed the same as the Silver Ghost. The gearbox was the same but the clutch was replaced with a single dry plate unit. This provided a smoother and quieter ride.
During a speed test at Brookland, the Phantom did not live up to expectations. It was unable to achieve a top speed that had been met by a 1911 Silver Ghost. There were many ideas on how to resolve this problem, such as tuning the engine or reducing the overall weight of the vehicle. A lightweight Barker touring body was created and placed on a Phantom chassis. Again, the Phantom failed to achieve the desired speeds during testing.
Ivan Evernden, a Rolls-Royce designer, proposed strict guidelines on a new tourer body. Amazingly, the quality was not sacrificed and the desired reduction was achieved. Tests at Brooklands proved the vehicles capabilities and traveled more than 89 mph.
The example shown with chassis number S197PM is one of only five built with coachwork by Rolls-Royce Custom Coachworks and built by Merrimack. There are only two examples that have survived. Three of the five are believed to have been re-bodied. This example has retained its original body, chassis, and engine.
On November 26, 1927, Mrs. Anita Baldwin of Santa Anita, California took delivery of the vehicle.
The vehicle is powered by a 7668 cc overhead valve six-cylinder engine that produces 120 horsepower. A three-speed manual transmission is fitted, along with servo-assisted two-wheel drum brakes. It sits atop the longer wheelbase, measuring at a staggering 150.5 inches. It is suspended in place by leaf spring solid axle front suspension and a longitudinal leaf spring live axle rear suspension.
It was estimated to fetch between $150,000 - $200,000 at the RM Auctions in Meadow Brook of 2006, but sold for $121,000.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2007
|Auction Sales Information|
|Auction||RM Auctions at Meadow Brook|
|RM Auctions at Meadow Brook||1926-1930|