1939 Rolls-Royce Phantom III

The final large pre-war Rolls-Royce was the Phantom III which was introduced in 1936 and produced until 1939. It replaced the Phantom II which had been powered by a 7,668cc six-cylinder engine and built in 144- and 150-inch wheelbase platforms. The Phantom III had a 142-inch wheelbase platform and powered by a 7,338cc V12 engine. This would the only V12 Rolls-Royce until the introduction of the Silver Seraph in 1998.

The aluminum-alloy V12 pushrod engine had overhead valves operated by a single camshaft in the valley between the cylinder banks. The early examples had hydraulic tappets, while the later examples used solid adjustable tappets. There were twin ignition systems, with two distributors, two coils and 24 spark plugs. The engine was backed by a four-speed manual transmission with synchromesh on 2 through 4 gears. An overdrive gearbox was added in 1938, the ratio change being contained in the gearbox rather than in a separate unit.

In the front was an independent suspension setup with coil springs. In the back was a carryover semi-elliptical spring unit in the rear. The chassis had a one-shot chassis lubrication system, operated by the driver using a lever. Standard equipment included wire wheels, however many examples came with Ace wheel discs which were must easier to clean. Braking was employed by four-wheel servo-assisted brakes operated by a cable.

As was common practice during this era, Rolls-Royce built the chassis and mechanical components. The body styles were left to customers to design and style to suit their needs and tastes. The list of coachbuilders included Mulliner, Park War, Thrupp & Maberly, and Hooper. Body configurations included saloons, coupes, convertibles, and limousines. A few examples were built as shooting brakes and hearses.

During its production lifespan, a total of 727 examples were built.


by Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2020

Related Reading : Rolls-Royce Phantom III History

The Phantom III was the first Rolls-Royce to be fitted with a V12 engine, which was probably an inevitable development as the company was already manufacturing aero engines in this configuration. When the Phantom III was unveiled at the 1935 Olympia Motor Show it was the most technically advanced car in the world and many believe the best car ever made. The 7340 cc. V12 overhead valve engine had....
Continue Reading >>

Related Reading : Rolls-Royce Phantom III History

The Phantom series culminated with the marques only 12-cylinder chassis, the Phantom III. These great cars were built from 1935 until 1939, when World War II ended production, with only 710 produced. The extremely complex design was the last Henry Royce had any involvement in before his death in 1933, and borrowed heavily from Rolls Royces experience building airplane engines.....
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1939 Vehicle Profiles

1939 Rolls-Royce Phantom III vehicle information

Cabriolet
Designer: Labourdette

Chassis Num: 3DL120

Originally bodied as a Sedanca deVille by Hooper, the second owner removed the original body and sent the chassis to Labourdette of Paris for the current body. Bare chassis were simply not available immediately after World War II. This is the last ....[continue reading]

1939 Rolls-Royce Phantom III vehicle information

Saloon
Coachwork: Gurney Nutting

Chassis Num: 3DL122

The first body on this Rolls-Royce Phantom III (chassis 3DL122) was a Barker-built saloon, but that body was exchanged by its then-owner, the Earl of Shrewsbury, for this Gurney Nutting saloon in 1953. In the early 1960s this car was owned by Tommy A....[continue reading]

1939 Rolls-Royce Phantom III vehicle information

Limousine
Coachwork: Mulliner

Chassis Num: 3DL184
Engine Num: N88Q

This Rolls-Royce Phantom III is one of the final examples built and was bodied by H.J. Mulliner as a formal limousine for display at the 1939 Scottish Motor Show. Due to the onset of World War II, the show was canceled, and the Rolls-Royce was sent t....[continue reading]

Cabriolet
Chassis #: 3DL120 
Saloon by Gurney Nutting
Chassis #: 3DL122 
Limousine by Mulliner
Chassis #: 3DL184 


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Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Rolls-Royce
1942Chevrolet (254,885)Ford (160,432)Plymouth (152,427)
1941Chevrolet (1,008,976)Ford (691,455)Plymouth (522,080)
1940Chevrolet (764,616)Ford (541,896)Plymouth (430,208)
1939Chevrolet (577,278)Ford (487,031)Plymouth (423,850)
1938Chevrolet (465,158)Ford (410,263)Plymouth (285,704)
1937Ford (942,005)Chevrolet (815,375)Plymouth (566,128)
1936Ford (930,778)Chevrolet (918,278)Plymouth (520,025)
1935Ford (820,253)Chevrolet (548,215)Plymouth (350,884)
1934Ford (563,921)Chevrolet (551,191)Plymouth (321,171)

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