1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom/Hispano-Suiza aero-engined Special Speedster
Chassis no. S 90 PM
Since the dawn of aviation enterprising motorists have been 'shoe-horning' the more powerful and generally unstressed aero-engines into road-going machinery. It was a combination that was frequently seen on the banking at Brooklands in the UK, and produced some of the most outlandish and powerful cars of all time, such as John Cobb's aero powered Napier Railton. Similarly in this country many salt flats records were broken with this combination, and naturally as aero engines graduated to jet propulsion the next generation of land speed record cars were born.
It is in this genre that the imposing and beautifully constructed special was built by its current owner. The combination is the sensible and robust chassis of a Springfield built Rolls-Royce fitted with a U.S. built 18.5 Liter all aluminum, overhead camshaft dual ignition 1919 Hispano-Suiza V8. For those that think this is a simple like for like exchange, the truth is far from it, and although it takes an engineering minded enthusiast to dream up such a project it also requires an extremely competent engineer such as the present owner to ensure that the project actually works!
In this case it was a 5 year rebuild from start to finish. The pertinent details of its specification are that the V8 engine, fitted with twin Rolls P1 carburetors, is running a dry sump system and transfers through a more robust clutch from a Harvester truck. The Rolls-Royce gearbox has a step up box to equate to a back axle ratio of 1.6 to 1, which on its 21 inch wheels, means that it is geared for 128mph at roughly 2,000 rpm. The Spartan bodywork is in the Speedster ilk with two bucket seats ahead of a large 55 gallon drum gas tank, and the presentation is completed with period Gray Davis drum headlights. Condition throughout is very good.
Since its completion, the Rolls-Hispano has been successfully de-bugged such that it represents a running and usable entity. Concisely referred to by its owner in the army vernacular as 'Fubar' a reference more likely to be used by the Rolls purist, than an aero-engine enthusiast!, it is a well engineered, impressive and fun machine which demands close inspection.