Sold for $1,980,000 at 2013 Gooding & Company. Of all the classic Rolls Royce body styles ever offered, one of the most infectious and appealing would have a touch of Yankee blood in it. At a time in Western society when the affluent were beginning to take to the wheel of luxuriously-appointed, sporty automobiles, the Brewster-bodied Rolls-Royce's captured the sensations and the spirit being birthed throughout the 1920s.
One of those of the Brewster body designs that would stand above the rest would be the Derby Speedster. Considered by Rolls-Royce authority John Webb de Campi as, 'the handsomest bodies ever put on a Rolls-Royce chassis', the Derby Speedster would be a compelling design tailored for the dashing and most spirited of influential society.
Truly remarkable with their upswept fenders and overall stylish design, the Derby Speedster would be quite an investment, even in its day. Due to the extremely-limited numbers ever produced, just five in total, the Derby would be extremely expensive. But, with the high-quality design and construction and a look that fit the attitude of the time, it was not hard for the five examples to find a buyer.
One particular chassis, S158FR, would be completed and rolled out of the Springfield facility in 1929 and would be quickly taken and fitted with its Brewster body. Herbert Farrell of Nashville, who just so happened to be the son-in-law of Joel Cheek (founder of Maxwell House Coffee) would be the first owner of this Phantom I Derby Speedster.
Despite the sporty look and the quality of the build, Mr. Farrell would not be terribly excited about his new purchase. Despite being promised the car could reach 85 mph, the large 7.7-liter inline 6-cylinder engine would not be capable of reaching that top speed. Determined to find the missing speed, Farrell would express his dissatisfaction. This would lead to mechanics coming to tweak and tune the engine all the more to be able to achieve the promised top speed.
Over the course of the next two decades the car would remain in Nashville. However, in 1953, the car would be sent to Indianapolis and the Rolls-Royce dealers, Schaler & Wade for its first restoration. By now, the car had come to be the property of Neil McDade.
McDade would own the car for a little more than half a decade before it would be purchased by William Maxwell Davis in 1959. Davis owned nearly every model Rolls-Royce ever made, and yet, would be quoted as saying the Derby Speedster was, 'the standard by which all my other cars were judged.'
A quarter of a century the car would remain with Davis. But then, in 1984, Mr. Davis would agree to part company with the car and it would end up in the hands of Rick Carroll, who would immediately contract Clay Cook to perform a complete, no expense spared, restoration. Unfortunately, Carroll would never see the car completed before he passed away.
William Lassiter Jr. would then come to own the car in 1990. He would go back to Mr. Cook to have the restoration completed. When finished, the car would be chosen, on behalf of the Collier Automotive Museum, to represent the ultimate example of a Phantom I in a special exhibit. In 1993, one year later, the Derby Speedster would win First Prize from the Classic Car Club of America. It would also come away with a National First Prize from the Antique Automobile Club of America.
In 1999, the awards and accolades would keep coming when it would earn Second in Class at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. At this time, the current owner would come to own the car having purchased it from the Lassiter Collection sale in 1999.
Still considered to be in outstanding cosmetic condition, Cook's meticulous work throughout the restoration process is undeniable. Touched with chrome brightwork, the black finish is striking on the Derby. Similarly, the interior's dark red leather and rich wood trim are certainly inviting and absolutely stunning to behold, especially with the silver inlays.
Being one of just five ever produced, the 1929 Phantom I Derby Speedster is certainly a priceless piece of Rolls-Royce lineage. An award winner and absolutely stunning inside and out, the Derby Speedster just urges one to exclaim, 'Thank you, you Yanks!'
Due to the rarity of the example and the multiple awards earned throughout its lifetime, the 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Derby Speedster would be garnering estimates from between $650,000 and $850,000 prior to heading to auction at the Gooding & Company event held on Amelia Island in March of 2013.
Sources: 'Lot No. 23: 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Derby Speedster', (http://www.goodingco.com/car/1929-rolls-royce-phantom-i-derby-speedster). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/car/1929-rolls-royce-phantom-i-derby-speedster. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
'1928 Rolls-Royce Phantom I News, Pictures and Information', (http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z11374/Rolls-Royce-Phantom-I.aspx). Conceptcarz.com: From Concept to Production. http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z11374/Rolls-Royce-Phantom-I.aspx. Retrieved 7 March 2013.By Jeremy McMullen
Sold for $238,000 at 2006 Bonhams. The Rolls-Royce Phantom, now known as the Phantom I, was introduced in 1925 as a replacement for the aging Silver Ghost which had a long and prestigious career. The Phantom I was given a new overhead-valve six-cylinder engine that displaced 7668cc, [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2008
Many of the Rolls-Royce cars produced at the Springfield, Massachusetts factory were bodied by Brewster & Company. Rolls-Royce had purchased the New York coachbuilder in 1925. Brewsters catalog consisted of 28 body styles for the Phantom I chassis, [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2008
In 1919, Rolls-Royce established an American subsidiary in Springfield, MA, with the express intent of increasing sales through the avoidance of high customs duties on imported vehicles. The majority of these cars were bodied by Brewster, and the Yo [Read More...]
Sold for $330,000 at 2009 RM Sothebys. Sold for $385,000 at 2010 Gooding & Company. Sold for $363,000 at 2011 RM Sothebys. Sold for $385,000 at 2013 RM Sothebys. In 1921, Rolls-Royce chose Springfield, Massachusetts to begin building their US-built Rolls-Royce automobiles. It was chosen for its proximity to major northeastern markets and important suppliers as well as the supply of skill craftsmen trained in [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2010
From 1921 to 1931 Rolls-Royce built cars both in England and Springfield, Massachusetts of which 2944 Rolls-Royces were built in the Únited States.
The lap robe (draped over the rear seat) was donated to the Canton Classic Car Museum courtesy of Steve and Gretchen Dinin of Brunswick, Ohio. The lap robe was once owned by Gertrude Mann of Newton, Massachusetts and was used in the family owned 1937 Pierce Arrow automobile.Source - Canton Classic Museum
This is a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I St. Andrews Town Car with coachwork by Brewster. The St. Andrews bodystyle was a seven-passenger limousine. An example was on display at the 1930 Chicago Salon, along with seven other Rolls-Royce's with coachwor [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2009
In 1904, Frederick Henry Royce built his first car, a Royce, in his electric motor factory. He met Charles Stewart Rolls on May 4th of that year and the pair agreed to an arrangement where Royce would manufacture cars to be sold exclusively by Rolls [Read More...]
This 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Ascot Tourer was built in 1928 by Brewster of Springfield, MA, and the last was built in 1930. Of the 24 built, 22 have survived; one was wrecked and one burned. The Phantom I was officially known as the 'New Phantom,' [Read More...]
Sold for $172,000 at 2010 Bonhams. Sold for $255,000 at 2014 Bonhams. This Rolls-Royce Phantom I Ascot Tourer is one of just 28 Ascots built. It was sold new through J.S. Inskip to R. Griffin of Jersey City, New Jersey in August of 1929. It is believed that it was later traded for a Phantom II number 255 AJS, at which [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2010
Sport Phaeton Coachwork: Murphy Chassis Num: S 287 FP Engine Num: 22877
Sold for $293,000 at 2010 Bonhams. This left-hand drive Sports Phaeton is one of just 16 Murphy bodied Phantom I's, and one of just two with the Sport Phaetons coachwork. [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2010
The first Rolls-Royce to reach the United States from England following the end of World War I arrived in October of 1919. Within two months, the British automaker announced that due to their three-year backlog of orders, Rolls-Royces would also be b [Read More...]
Sold for $374,000 at 2012 Gooding & Company. Ascot-bodied cars were among the most expensive automobiles constructed in America during the late 1920s. They were sought after for their sporting flair, superb proportions and refined details. They had sporting raked windscreens, flowing fenders, v [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2012
Convertible Coupe Coachwork: Murphy Chassis Num: S293FP Engine Num: 22937
S293FP is a short wheelbase model that was ordered in the spring of 1928 by A.H. Chapin of Springfield, Massachusetts. It was delivered in late 1928, fitted with engine number 22937. Virtually every applicable mechanical component, including axles, e [Read More...]
Sedanca De Ville
Perhaps the best-known luxury carmaker of all time, Rolls-Royce, began making cars in 1906 and they continue in production today. Henry Rolls, an electrician and mechanical engineer who had built a car independently in 1904, an Charles Stewart Rolls, [Read More...]
Sold for $154,000 at 2014 Gooding & Company. This Rolls-Royce Phantom I Newmarket was sold new in September of 1929 to W.R. Thorsen. L.B. Melzer owned the car for a brief time before selling it to Stanley Stewart of Portland, Oregon acquired the car in 1942. By late 1948, the car returned to Ca [Read More...]
Sold for $335,000 at 2014 RM Sothebys. Production of Rolls-Royce automobiles in Springfield, Massachusetts began in 1921. The location where the cars were built was close to major northeastern markets and important suppliers, as well as strategically located near a large supply of skilled [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2014
Sold for $364,500 at 2008 Bonhams. This Rolls-Royce Phantom I Convertible Sedan was built in Springfield, Massachusetts at a time when Rolls-Royce thought it prudent to have a factory in this country. The venture began shortly after the First World War and ended following the effects [Read More...]
Riviera Town Car Coachwork: Brewster Chassis Num: S390LR Engine Num: 21909
Sold for $718,916 (€504,000) at 2011 RM Sothebys. Sold for $825,000 at 2017 RM Sothebys. This is one of only 10 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Brewster Riviera Town Cars bodied by Brewster & Company. The interior features marquetry panels on the division and rear doors, with walnut and mahogany mouldings around the top edge. The canework on the r [Read More...]
Sold for $302,500 at 2015 RM Sothebys. Sold for $275,000 at 2017 Bonhams. There were 28 genuine Ascot Phaetons built. They had a raked single-piece windscreen, flowing fenders, sporting flair, superb proportions, and concave accents. This particular example, chassis number S368LR, is a late example that is fitted with seve [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2014
Sold for $660,000 at 2014 Bonhams. America became the most significant foreign market for Rolls-Royce, and their product appealed to newly wealthy American financiers and industrialists due to their reputation, reliability, luxury, and quality. After World War I, Rolls-Royce purchased [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2014
Sold for $286,000 at 2010 RM Sothebys. Sold for $682,000 at 2017 RM Sothebys. The Henley Roadster bodystyle featured distinctive 'dipped' door lines, low vee'd windshield, and svelte tail, concealing a rumble seat that has its own pair of tiny doors. Between 1929 and 1933, Brewster built 11 examples of the Henley Roadster. Of [Read More...] By Daniel Vaughan | May 2017
Rolls-Royce first began building automobiles for the American market in 1921 in Springfield, Massachusetts. After the acquisition of the Brewster Body Company in 1926 Rolls-Royce offered a selection of standard Brewster-built coachwork on its New Pha [Read More...]
This Rolls-Royce Phantom I was originally built in 1929 at the Springfield, Massachusetts, factory for a Mrs. J. Welz of Brooklyn, and it was first fitted with a formal Lonsdale-style limousine body by Brewster. Then, as was common in that era, rathe [Read More...]
Although the Silver Ghost had been constantly improved over its life span, by the 1920's other manufacturers had begun to close the performance gap, and the decision was made to produce a new car. By 1925, the New Phantom (retrospectively called the Phantom I when the Phantom II was introduced in 1929) was ready.
A new chassis had not been built so the car used the Ghost chassis. This meant that initially the only difference between the Ghost and the New Phantom was the method of mounting the §teering column on the chassis and the new power unit. The six-cylinder overhead valve engine was similar in many ways to the Twenty, but was of 7,668cc. This was over twice the capacity of the little Twenty at 3,127cc.
The Phantom had been prepared in great secrecy, as would its namesake be, 70 years later. During its development the car was codenamed EAC, which stood for Easter Armored Car. Pieces of armor plating were even left around the factory to lend credence to this cover-up story.
Two chassis lengths were offered, the standard being 190.25 inches (4.83m) wîth a 196.75 inches (4.99m) version for more formal coachwork.
A special open sporting body was fitted to the fourth experimental chassis and even though the New Phantom's engine performed better than that of the Silver Ghost, the New Phantom was found to have a slightly lower top speed. This led to Rolls-Royce testing at Brooklands to investigate the effect of weight and, more importantly, of aerodynamics in relation to performance. With completely redesigned bodywork, this car subsequently ran at around 100 mph.Source - Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd.
Rolls Royce launched the new Phantom in May of 1925. Rolls-Royce's replacement for the original Silver Ghost, the Phantom was built in both the U.K. and the U.S. following a year later in introduction and two years in replacement. Usually listed as Phantom I, it featured a new pushrod-OHV straight- 6 engine, which was a vast improvement over the Silver Ghost. The engine was constructed with three groups of two cylinders with detachable heads, and produced impressive power that could pull the large, very heavy vehicle. This engine utilized a '4¼ in (107.9 mm) bore and long 5½ in (139.7 mm) stroke for a total of 7.7 L (7668 cc/467 in³) of displacement'. In 1928, aluminum was substituted for cast iron in the cylinder heads.
The front was suspended by semi-elliptical springs while cantilever springs were utilized in the rear. Though some original U.S. models lacked front brakes, 4-wheel servo-assisted brakes were also specified.
UK models featured a long-wheelbase model that was longer at 3822.7 mm than the American version at 3721.1 mm. Other differences between the two models included the transmission, while the UK models used a 4-speed while US models used a 3-speed transmission, both with a single dry-plate clutch. The US Phantoms were constructed in Springfield, Massachusetts while UK models were built at Rolls' Derby factory.
A total of 226 Rolls-Royce Phantom I's were produced during its production span.By Jessica Donaldson
Frederick Henry Royce was an engineer and the Honorable Charles Stewart Rolls was a man with many talents. He was an aviator, driver, and automobile enthusiasts. In the world of business, he excelled at marketing.
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.
The Phantom was built in secrecy, using the code name EAC which stood for Easter Armored Car. To reinforce the code name, pieces of armor plating was intentially left around the factory. The Phantom I was the successor to the Silver Ghost and produced for only four years. Though the engine had been modified to produce more horsepower and torque, the chassis was only slightly updated. This would prove to be a major drawback for the Phantom I.
In 1921 a Rolls-Royce factory had been opened in Springfield Massachusetts with the purpose of producing Silver Ghosts that were built with traditional Rolls-Royce quality but catered to the American customer. These vehicles were known as the 'Springfield' Silver Ghosts.
A year after the Phantom was introduced, the 'Springfield' Phantom became available. The late arrival was attributed to necessary modifications, such as converting to left hand drive. The Springfield plant continued Rolls-Royce production until 1931, when the American factory was closed.
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