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, and adopted a disc-type clutch and adjustable radiator shutters. This is where change stopped; the rest of the Phantom I was basically a Silver Ghost. Complete changes would not occur until 1929, with the introduction of the Phantom II.
Rolls-Royce of America had been established in December of 1919 after Rolls-Royce of England purchased the American Wire Wheel Company's plant in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 1926, the Springfield location began production of the Phantom I, and within three years, production had risen to 12 cars per week.
As the beginning of the 1930s came into sight, the fortunes of the Springfield plant began to dissipate. The onset of The Great Depression was beginning to cripple many luxury brand marques, and reek havoc on businesses, leaving many out-of-production in its wake. The Springfield's future was sealed when the high-expenses of re-tooling for Phantom II production was too great for the company.
Though the British and American plants produced the same product, there were many differences between the two. The American version could be ordered with 'factory' bodywork, mostly by Brewster which had been taken over by Rolls-Royce in December of 1925.
This 1929 Rolls-Royce Springfield Phantom I Henley Convertible Coupe has chassis number S182PM and body number B6004. It is in right-hand drive configuration and was constructed in December of 1926 - January of 1927. When it emerged from the factory, it wore a Brewster body in Chatsworth town-car configuration. It is believed that it was on display in Rolls-Royce showrooms during its early life. The car was later fitted with a Brewster Henley body and is believed to be one of two prototype Henleys constructed. The other prototype car carries body number B6003 and now rides on chassis number S303LR. It was originally on chassis S140FR. Only two Henleys were ever built on the Phantom I chassis and nine were built on the Phantom II chassis.
Since this car has roll-up windows, it is really a convertible coupe, though it is referred to as a roadster. The body was created by Brewster at the Queensboro Plaza works in Long Island City. The body is very versatile, offering both open and closed configuration. It is in mostly original condition and wears the dents, scares, and rust of a car many decades old. This car was offered for sale at the 2006 Bonhams & Butterfields auction held at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, California where it was estimated to sell between $100,000 - $150,000. There are many attractive features about this car, such as the rarity of its body configuration and the ambiance of the Rolls-Royce marque. The wheel fenders gracefully flow from the front to the rear, and serve multiple duties as a spare tire holder and a running board. At auction, this car was very popular. The cars potential was evident as bidding was driven well above the estimated value and settled at $238,000. With a complete restoration, this car will be a top contender at many major concours and will be an excellent candidate for driving tours.
In 2007, this Phantom I Henley Convertible Coupe was brought to the Gooding & Company auction held in Pebble Beach, CA where it was estimated to sell for $225,000-$275,000. The car is still considered to be one of the most desirable bodies ever to be placed on the early Rolls-Royce chassis. It was built by Brewster at its Long Island-based Queensboro Plaza Works and given a Henley Convertible Coupe body. It is a very original and unmolested version of the Phantom I Rolls. At auction, the car failed to find a buyer willing to satisfy the cars reserve; it left the auction unsold. 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, a vast and dizzying array of vehicles certain to suite any buyers need. One of the more upscale styles was the Lonsdale, a 7-passenger limousine with sliding division window between the chauffer and passenger compartments.
This vehicle is a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Lonsdale Limousine with coachwork by Brewster. The original owner of this car was Edward Bausch. Mr. Bausch was the son of German-American optician John J. Bausch, who began producing eyeglasses in Rochester NY in 1853. By 1855, the elder Bausch's friend Henry Lomb had become his business partner as well. Bausch & Lomb's first significant success came with a line of eyeglass frames made from a hard rubber-like material called 'Vulcanite.'
When Edward Bausch passed away in 1944, an American Army Captain named Melvin Hooper acquired the Rolls-Royce. His busy travel schedule coupled with wartime gas rationing meant he did not keep it for very long.
The Captain sold 1,900 changes at a $1.00 each for a chance to own the Rolls-Royce. The winner was a young sailor stationed at Norfolk, Virginia. The car was delivered to him there, and it would remain at Norfolk until his discharge in 1946. The veteran then drove it cross-country to California, where his wife and baby awaited. Maintaining an aging Rolls-Royce was a challenge for the young family and the car soon changed hands again.
The fourth owner attempted a restoration, but failing health meant the project was put on hold. In 1975, it was purchased by its present (and sixth) owner. Since that time, the car has been treated to a professional restoration bringing it back to its former glory. It retains its original leather-covered trunk on the rear platform. The original clock is present in the division partition and the owner's manual and tool kit are still intact. The odometer reads just 57,000 miles since new.
In 2008, Lonsdale Limousine was offered for sale at the 'Quail Lodge, A Sale of Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia' presented by Bonhams Auction. The lot was estimated to sell for $100,000 - $140,000 but would leave the auction unsold. 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 York Roadster was the most expensive body available in 1929. The first owner of this example was Tommy Manville, noted playboy and heir to the Johns-Manville Asbestos fortune, who was married 13 times. The body and chassis are original to the car and have always been together. The car has a known uninterrupted ownership history from new, and was owned for 30 years by noted Rolls-Royce expert William Davis of Charleston, WV.
Sold for $330,000 at 2009 RM Auctions. Sold for $385,000 at 2010 Gooding & Company. Sold for $363,000 at 2011 RM Auctions. Sold for $385,000 at 2013 RM Auctions. 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 the armories of the Connecticut River valley and the New England machine tool industry. The 40/50 horsepower Silver Ghosts were shipped from England and assembled in Springfield, under the watchful eye of around fifty experienced Rolls-Royce hands who emigrated from Derby.
Rolls-Royce offered standard coachwork with the bodies ordered from several independent coachbuilders and built in quantities of up to twenty at a time. These were badged as 'Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work' and were built by Brewster, as well as Smith Springfield, New Haven, Merrimack, Willoughby and Biddle and Smart. Soon, business was very strong and Rolls-Royce established its own coachworks in Springfield. The Custom Coach Work bodies and later Rolls-Royce cataloged coachwork from Brewster - which it acquired in 1926 - were among the most elite bodies produced in the world.
In 1926, Rolls-Royce introduced the Phantom I and the addition of several new bodies including the open Ascot, Derby and Speedster. Further changes continued throughout the years, including the use of aluminum cylinder heads, chrome-plated exterior bright work, flat bar bumpers, servo-assisted four-wheel brakes, thermostatically-controlled radiator shutters and conical headlamp housings in 1929. These changes were well liked by the American public, resulting in sales reaching 350 automobiles for 1929.
This Ascot Sport Phaeton was delivered to Alphonzo E. Bell, a California entrepreneur and developer. This car has a raked single piece windscreen and graceful flowing fenders. Its appearance is very similar to the rear fender Speedster and the rare York Roadster.
After leaving Bell's care, the history of the car is not fully known. By 1946, it was owned by radio announcer Dave Garroway and would later be given a complete restoration. It was purchased by Detroit collector Richard Kughn where it would reside for many years. It was sold in the early 1990s to Canadian collector Grant Burton, who enjoyed it for many years, selling it to the present owner in 2000 via Ohio collector Richard Scott. The car was given a refresher by RM Auction Restorations in the mid-2000s which included the fitting of a new top, comprehensive detailing, tune-up, and repainting the fenders.
The car is painted in black and has tan leather upholstery and black cloth top. It rides on chrome wire wheels and wide whitewall tires. There are dual sidemounts with black metal enclosures with chrome bands and mirrors. Above the flat chrome front ribbon bumpers are a pair of small Pilot-Ray driving lights. Other features to this car are matching wind wings, a black cloth-covered luggage trunk, and varnished wood molding caps.
In 2009, this Phantom I Ascot Sport Phaeton was offered for sale at the Automobiles of Arizona auction presented by RM Auctions. It was estimated to sell for $350,000 - $450,000. The lot was sold for a high bid of $330,000 including buyer's premium.
In 2010, it was brought to Gooding & Company's Scottsdale Auction where it was estimated to sell for $300,000 - $350,000. As bidding came to a close, the lot had been sold for the sum of $385,000, inclusive of buyer's premium. 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 coachwork by Brewster. The St. Andrews on display was finished in black and maroon, with brown broadcloth upholstery, mahogany trim and bronze fitments with red inlay. The following year, a St. Andrews bodystyle again appeared at the Chicago Salon. It had an all-weather front and finished in two-tones of brown with cream striping. The upholstery was a brown broadcloth and the cabinetwork was comprised of walnut with scroll inlay of a lighter wood. 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, who had been selling other top quality cars to a distinguished list of clients up to that point. The new company, formed in 1906, was known as 'Rolls-Royce' and moved to Derby in 1908.
The Silver Ghost put the Rolls-Royce Company on the map, earning a reputation with a highly reliable and virtually silent six cylinder engine. In 1910, Rolls became the first British subject to perish in an airplane crash, but the company continued on and prospered.
The production of the Silver Ghost began in 1921 and was officially known as the 40/50. It was produced in Springfield, Massachusetts in order to reduce manufacturing costs and void hefty import duties. The Phantom I was introduced in 1925 in Britain and a year later in the United States. The car was very similar to the Silver Ghost but had a modern long stroke, OHV engine. When production ceased in 1931, a total of 1,240 United States built cars were produced.
This particular car features a Kenilworth body built by Brewster for an owner who was chauffeur-driven yet sometimes preferred to drive himself. The current owner is the second owner, having purchased the car 37 years ago.
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,' and succeeded the 19 year-old Silver Ghost in 1925. The early Phantom I was actually built in England but bodied in New York by Brewster for Paramount Pictures.
This Phantom was delivered new to W.C. Trabold in New York (Long Island), NY, on August 5, 1929. Since then, it has had 12 other owners until purchased by the current owner on August 5, 2005.
This Ascot Tourer is powered by a water-cooled, overhead valve, 6-cylinder, 7.67 liter engine, developing 100 horsepower, coupled to a four-speed manual transmission and has a top speed of 80 mph.
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 point it was sold to Bernard Heaton of Boston.
Heaton kept the car until 1946 when it was offered on consignment with Elliot Hawley and in February the following year it was sold to Peter Franz of Brooklyn.
Other owners include Henry Wing, who restored the car while in his ownership between 1953 and 1956. The next was William O'Connor, a prominent Veteran Motor Car Club of America member who used the car regularly. From O'Conner the car went to Paul Stern, whose business was the original Manheim Auto Auction, based in his hometown of Manheim, Pennsylvania. While in his ownership, the car was illustrated in the Rolls-Royce in American book by John Webb de Campi. Stern sold the car to Wally Rank of Wisconsin and he in turn sold the car to the current owner in the mid-1980s.
It has spent many recent years in storage.
In 2010, this car was offered for sale at the Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia auction presented by Bonhams. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $172,000 inclusive of Buyer's Premium. 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.
The car was sold new by W.C. Darling to Albert Wallerstein of Los Angeles. The car was delivered new on September 4th of 1929.
A few months after the purchase, the car changed hands and became the property of Howard W. McCarger who retained the car until October of 1954. K.G. Stalder purchased the car in 1956 and in January of 1959 was sold to Marvin W. Bridges of Omaha, NE. It remained in his care until November of 1984 when it was sold to Jack L. Keown. It was offered for sale in 1988. The car resurfaced in 2002 when it was at Christie's in Paris, as part of the Hans Luscher Collection.
The car was sent to Canada and into the care of its current owner. In 2010, this Murphy bodied Sport Phaeton was offered for sale at the Exceptional Motorcars and Automobilia auction presented by Bonhams. As bidding came to a close, the car had been sold for the sum of $293,000 inclusive of buyer's premium. 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 built in Springfield, MA.
In 1925 Rolls-Royce of America purchased the renowned Brewster & Company coachworks, of New York, who had been prominent carriage makers since 1810.
In September of 1929, Rolls-Royce of America, Inc. proudly announced it was experiencing its best year ever. The Wall Street crash that triggered the 'Great Depression' occurred the following month and the Springfield firm was bankrupt by 1935.
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, varnished wood moldings and a concave accent running along the beltline.
This particular Ascot Tourer has hidden door hinges and is one of just five built.
It is believed that the original owner of this car was Mr. T.F. Scholl of New York City who took possession of the car in April of 1929. In the late 1935, ownership passed to Mr. Scholl's son-in-law Mr. J.E. Connelly Jr. also of Manhattan. The following owner, a Naval officer, purchased the car and proceeded to drive it on a transcontinental trip to San Diego, CA.
The next owner was Mr. Pentney. In 1950, the car was sold to Mr. Fred Buess Sr., founder of the Horseless Carriage Club. Mr. Buess retained the car for five decades. The present owner treated the car to cosmetic work. At the time, the car displayed just 48,000 original miles. After the work was completed, the car was finished in dark blue paint over saddle leather upholstery.
This car is one of a total run of just 28 Ascot Tourers built.
In 2012, the car was offered for sale at the Gooding & Company auction held in Scottsdale, AZ. It was estimated to sell for $375,000 - $450,000. As bidding came to a close, the car had sold for the sum of $374,000 inclusive of buyer's premium. 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, engine crankcase, steering gear, gearbox, brake assemblies and other cast parts have the original number stamped into them. Chapin sent this chassis to Murphy's Pasadena studio, where it was completed to his wife's order. Features include a large art deco motif of her initials, stylized fish door handles, and a shift knob containing pictures of her sons. The combination of the chassis and custom coach work likely exceeded $30,000.
Upon completion, it was presented to Mrs. Chapin, near the family Christmas tree. This involved removing a wall in their home.
Log missing, the car was discovered in La Jolla, California in 2010, it has been cared for and preserved its entire life. It is shown now in the original shade of Chrome Yellow, suiting the flamboyant taste of Ms. Gloria Chapin, just as it did 80 years ago.
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, who would sell the cars, founded the original company. The first car, the Silver Ghost, established the company's reputation for making exceptional cars. Rolls-Royce today is part of German automaker BMW. The new Phantom replaced the original Silver Ghost in 1925 and featured a new engine - a straight 6 or 7.7-liter displacement with pushrod-operated overhead valves.
Built in Derby, England and Springfield, Massachusetts, it was called Phantom I only after being replaced by the Phantom II in 1929. The Phantom I remained in production in the U.S. until 1931. Rolls-Royce built the chassis and mechanical parts, and then bodies were produced and fitted by a variety of coachbuilders including Mulliner, Park Ward, Thrupp & Maverly, Hooper and Bewster & Company. The latter was owned by Rolls-Royce. 'Sedanca de Ville' denotes a four-door touring car with open front compartment, usually driven by a chauffeur. The Rolls-Royce 'Spirit of Ecstasy' is the most famous of all hood ornaments and certainly the longest in production.
This car was used as the basis for the Franklin Mint model in 1988.
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 California's Bay Area where it was purchased by Mrs. Sylvia Childs of Berkeley. Ownership passed through several other Rolls-Royce enthusiasts including the highly regarded collector and longtime Pebble Beach Master of Ceremonies Paul Woudenerg. In 1993, it joined the collection of Robert Merrifield, where it has been cared for ever since.
The car is finished in velvet green with polished aluminum bonnet panels, scuttle, and beltline, and its distinctive Brewster brightwork, Marchal Trilux headlamps, and tan canvas top. It has a tan leather-trimmed interior with American walnut dash panel and an array of instruments, including an ammeter, oil pressure, temperature, and fuel-level gauge, plus a clock and speedometer. Under the dash, the T-handle operates the Bijur chassis lubrication system, a modern advance and a great time-saver.
Sold for $335,000 at 2014 RM Auctions. 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 craftsmen trained in the armories of the Connecticut River Valley and the New England machine tool industry. Rolls-Royce shipped the 40/50 horsepower Silver Ghost chassis from England and assembled in Springfield under the direction of a cadre of some 50 experienced Rolls-Royce hands who emigrated from Derby.
The custom-ordered coachwork that were constructed to fit the Derby-built chassis did not fit American buying patterns, so Rolls-Royce offered standard coachwork, which was usually painted and trimmed to order. Several independent coachbuilders were sourced to provide custom bodies in quantities up to 20 at a time. They were badged 'Rolls-Royce Custom Coach Work' and were mainly built by Brewster, but also by Biddle and Smart, Hibbard & Darrin, New Haven, Merrimack, Smith Springfield, and Willoughby. Sales were strong enough to allow Rolls-Royce to establish its own coachworks in Springfield by 1923.
In 1926, the Silver Ghost was superseded by the Phantom I. Several new offerings by Brewster's coachworks included the open Ascot, the Derby, and the Derby Speedster Tourers.
Further refinements continued, and by 1929 this included an aluminum cylinder head, chrome-plated exterior brightwork, flat-bar bumpers, servo-assisted four-wheel brakes, and thermostatically controlled radiator shutters. Even though the Great Depression was just around the corner, Rolls-Royce sold around 350 automobiles in 1929.
This particular example, chassis number S398KP, was originally delivered to M.G. Patton, the Rolls-Royce dealer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on April 12th of 1929. It is an Ascot Tourer that is equipped with a sporty top of the same design as the Derby model and wears early-style bumpers. The car was used by prospective customers as the dealership's 'trials car' for five months before it was delivered new to Paul Butler on September 27th.
The car was later owned by Marty Whalen, Stamo Papadaki, of Washington, Connecticut, and then Fred A. Wilsea, of New Preseton, Connecticut.
Hans Dieter Holterbosch, the American importer of Lowenbrau beer, acquired the car on December 29th of 1977. During his ownership, the car was restored by Crossthwaite & Gardner in England, where it was painted in period-correct colors that it wears today. In recent years, the car has been carefully maintained and seen little use. 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 of the Great Depression.
This car was originally built for Jacqueline de Rothschild of the Hotel Delmonico in New York, who purchased the car for use while she was in the city. It is a late-U.S. built chassis with bowl headlamps, double-bar bumper, and an aluminum cylinder head on its 7.7-liter inline 6-cylinder engine. Coachwork is by the firm of Hibbard & Darrin, consisting of Tom Hibbard (one of the founders of LeBaron) and the legendary Howard 'Dutch' Darrin, who established their carrossier in Paris. The American duo hoped the added cachet of a Paris address would add to their success in building both stylish and high-quality bodies from 1926-1931. This is one of three slant-door convertible sedans built and the only one known to survive.
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 rear compartment of the Riviera took three months to complete and was specially ordered from Brewster as were the many gold-plated metal-trim pieces. The first owner of this car was Irene Mamlock Simon Schoelkopf Carman, of Ohio. Already a rich widow, her second husband, C.P. Hugo Schoelkopf, was one of the wealthiest men in Buffalo, New York. After many years it was bought by Rolls-Royce collector Roger Morrison, who restored the car and showed it at Pebble Beach in 2003, where it won its class and the award for Most Elegant Closed Car. It later became part of the late John O'Quinn collection.
Sold for $302,500 at 2015 RM Auctions. 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 several desirable styling features including flared front fenders, full splash aprons, and rounded headlamps. It also has a unique second cowl, in the manner of American dual-cowl phaetons. Most Ascots provided a windshield for rear seat passengers which were usually mounted directly to the back of the front seat. This Ascot is still mated to its original chassis and is powered by the original engine, number 21689, with which it was delivered on February 15th of 1930, to Russell Phelps Kelley Sr.
In 1953 the Ascot was acquired by Edward S. Hansen, of Madison, Wisconsin. It later passed to Sidney Wells, of Glencoe, Illinois, and then to John C. Coval, of Wyckoff, New Jersey, who also owned another Ascot during this period. From Mr. Coval it was acquired by its longest-term owner, Stephen Antine, of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, in May 1970. Mr. Antine owned this automobile for nearly 3 decades.
Within the last decade, the car underwent significant mechanical work. The engine was rebuilt and the paintwork was refreshed. The car is finished in maroon and pewter, set against a tan leather upholstery and orange wire wheels. 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 the former American Wire Wheel factory in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1919. Springfield was located along the axis of America's industrial development, known for their machine tool industry and armories. It had a workforce to support the product and a network of suppliers from Boston to Buffalo. Manufacturing began in 1920 using components imported from Rolls-Royce in Great Britain. Soon, they were incorporating domestically produced content, particularly electrical, due to availability, easily serviced, and found to be as good (in some cases better) than the items sourced from Derby.
The 'New Phantom', now known as the Phantom I, was powered by a new engine. It was a straight six, at 7672cc displace, it was slightly larger than the Silver Ghost that preceded it. The companies experience with engines, particularly with aero engines produced during World War I, resulted in a pushrod operated overhead valve head with better cross-flow breathing. Horsepower rose from 86 bhp in the Silver t to 108 bhp in the Phnatom. The Phantom I was given a chassis that was developed but largely unchanged, featuring semi-elliptical leaf springs and four-wheel drum brakes with mechanical servo assist. Springfield Rolls-Royces had the U.S. pattern 3-speed center shift gearbox and left-hand drive.
Rolls-Royce produced the new Phantom in Springfield from 1926 until 1931 with around 1,240 examples produced before the world descended into the Great Depression. Most examples wore bodies by Brewster in Long Island City, New York, a Rolls-Royce subsidiary since 1926.
This particular example wears coachwork by Hibbard & Darrin. The Transformal Phaeton was created for Hollywood movie mogul Jack L. Warner.
The Hibbard & Darrin Company was started by American carrossiers, Tom Hibbard and Howard 'Dutch' Darrin. During World War I, Tom Hibbard had learned French with the American Expeditionary Force. Along with Ray Dietrich, Tom Hibbard had left Brewster to establish LeBaron Carrossiers with Ralph Roberts and when New York Minerva agent Paul Ostruk commissioned two LeBaron bodies to be built in Brussels, Hibbard got a ticket to Europe to oversee the project. While in Paris, Hibbard met Dutch Darrin and the two soon established Hibbard & Darrin with a showroom on the Champs d'Elysees. Hibbard & Darrin would go on to cloth many elite vehicles of the era, including Minerva, Stutz, Renault, Mercedes-Benz and Duesenberg. On the Rolls-Royce chassis, Hibbard & Darrin provided coachwork for around thirty-five examples.
The Transformal Phaeton is a barrel-side design composed of cast aluminum panels. The close-coupled body employed a Darrin-patented top with triangular fabric roof elements that snapped tightly to the B-pillar between trapezoidal rollup side windows and a fixed 'dual-cowl' type center division. The design allowed the top to be fully open or fully closed.
It is believed that two examples of this design were produced; S317KP was built for Paramount Studio's Erich von Sternberg, who in 1930 presented it to his newly-arrived star, Marlene Dietrich. The other was S319KP (this example), first owned by Hollywood legend Jack L. Warner, head of Warner Brothers Studio. It was later owned by Matt and Barbara Browning. While in the Browning care, the car was restored to the highest standards in 1991. In 2000 it was purchased by a Scandinavian collection where it has been properly preserved and cared for.
The car is equipped with drum headlights, tubular bumpers, a tan cloth covered leather luggage trunk located between the rear fenders, a matching soft-top roof, body color center-lock wire wheels with chrome lock rings, and dual side-mount spares with tan cloth covers and strap-on mirrors. The interior is upholstered in dark tan leather with glass roll-up division, and there is a rear compartment footrest and robe rope. The division and door caps are done in dark wood.
When it was new, the car was purchased for $19,665 making it one of the most expensive cars in the world. By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2014
Sold for $286,000 at 2010 RM Auctions. Sold for $682,000 at 2017 RM Auctions. 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 the 11 original cars built, 10 have survived and their whereabouts are all known.
The Henley Roadster was designed and intended for the Phantom II chassis, however, two examples were mounted to the Phantom I. This particular example, body number 6003, was originally mounted to chassis number S140FR for New York jeweler A.V. Frost. In July of 1940, it was moved to this chassis, number S303LR, for M.D. Whalen.
In the summer of 1944, the car passed to Dr. George E. Bitgood. The next owner was Mrs. Maria Shrady, who traded it back to New York Rolls-Royce dealer J.S. Inskip. It was then sold by Inskip to Henry McNevin Jones of New York City, later in 1949.
In 1957, the car was acquired by James M. Wareham of New York. In the early 1980, it was acquired by William Mayberry of Connecticut, who sold the car in 1982 to S. Prestley Blake who retained it until 1999. In 2003, it was purchased by Wayne Kay of Mississauga, Ontario, who sold it several years later to a Western collection. In 2010, it joined the Off Brothers Collection in Richland, Michigan. Several years later, it joined the Orin Smith stable.
This is a late Phantom I, with a 'cubby box' on either side. There are polished wheel discs and whitewall tires, dual spotlights, correct double flat bar bumpers, and a correct Trilin tail lamp. By Daniel Vaughan | May 2017
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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