Ex-Jacquelyn de Rothschild and the late John Webb de Campi
1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Convertible Sedan
Coachwork by Hibbard & Darrin
Chassis no. S235KR
Engine no. 20359
Like its 'Ghost predecessor, the New Phantom was also produced by Rolls-Royce of America Incorporated, a subsidiary set up in December 1919 when the parent company purchased the American Wire Wheel Company's plant in Springfield, Massachusetts. Unlike its British-built counterpart, the American product could be ordered with 'factory' bodywork, usually by Brewster, the latter company being taken over by Rolls-Royce in December 1925. Right-hand drive remained the norm for US-built cars until early in 1925, when the switch was made to left-hand drive.
Springfield commenced manufacture of the New Phantom in 1926, and by the second half of 1929 production had risen to 12 cars per week. This would prove to be the high point of Rolls-Royce of America's fortunes, the October '29 Wall Street Crash and the introduction of the Phantom II - re-tooling for which the US company could not afford - signaling the beginning of its decline.
Sold new to Jacquelyn de Rothschild, resident at the Hotel Delmonico, New York City, this left-hand-drive Springfield-built Phantom I bears stylish coachwork by Hibbard & Darrin. Co-founder of LeBaron Carrossiers with Raymond H Dietrich, Thomas L Hibbard moved to Europe with new collaborator Howard 'Dutch' Darrin in the mid-1920s. The pair founded Hibbard & Darrin in Paris, and for a few years continued in the LeBaron manner, bodying exotic chassis for the rich and famous, until the partnership dissolved. Between 1970 and 1990 the car was owned by Bob Githian of Ohio and Arizona, and between 1995 and 2003 it was the property of noted Rolls-Royce historian and author the late John Webb de Campi. It was restored in 1998, engine work being entrusted to Bob Jefferson of Brookfield, Mass., with body renovation by Jim Hery of Chalfont Motorcars and interior and top the work of Sam Ellingsworth of Glen Moore, PA. It passed to the present owner through Bonhams in 2003.
This car possesses an enviable concours record including 1998 Radnor Hunt Concours, Best in Show; 1999 Pebble Beach Concours, Best in Show; 1999 Concours of Eastern USA, Class Award; 1999 Grand Classic Class Award (99 points); 2000 CCCA Museum Concours Most Elegant Car Award; 2000 RROC National Meet, Shamrock Trophy - Most Improved Car; 2001 Grand Classic Senior Class Award (99 points); 2001 Grand Classic, Judges' Choice Award; and 2001 New Hampshire International Speedway Concours, 'The Elegance', Most Elegant Car Award.
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