1929 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Phantom II Weymann Sports Saloon Coachwork by H J Mulliner Registration no. GC 4690 Chassis no. 61XJ Engine no. TN75
Rolls-Royce's 'single model' policy had proved an outstanding success for the company, but immediately after the end of the Great War the recession in the motor trade prompted the introduction of a smaller, cheaper 20hp car to be built alongside the existing 40/50hp Silver Ghost. Henry Royce's new design incorporated a number of modern features such as overhead valve-gear for its six-cylinder engine, a centre-change gearbox and 'Hotchkiss drive' rear axle, and the advanced newcomer's arrival only served to emphasise the Silver Ghost's Edwardian origins. However, the 45/50hp model would soon benefit from developments pioneered on its smaller sibling. Introduced in 1925, the New Phantom (retrospectively known as the Phantom I) boasted an entirely new overhead-valve six-cylinder engine displacing 7,668cc and, like the contemporary 20hp model, adopted a disc-type clutch and adjustable radiator shutters. Its chassis though, remained essentially the same as that of the later four-wheel-braked Silver Ghost, and would continue fundamentally unchanged until the arrival of the Phantom II brought with it an entirely new frame. Reputedly the last model that Henry Royce designed himself, the Phantom II was announced in September 1929 with deliveries commencing immediately. Unlike its predecessor, which inherited its underpinnings from the preceding 40/50hp model, the Silver Ghost, the Phantom II employed an entirely new chassis laid out along the lines of that of the smaller 20hp Rolls-Royce. Built in two wheelbase lengths - 144" and 150" - this new low-slung frame, with its radiator set well back, enabled coachbuilders to body the car in the modern idiom, creating sleeker designs than the upright ones of the past. The engine too had come in for extensive revision. The PI's cylinder dimensions and basic layout - two blocks of three cylinders, with an aluminium cylinder head common to both blocks - were retained but the combustion chambers had been redesigned and the 'head was now of the cross-flow type, with inlet and exhaust manifolds on opposite sides. The magneto/coil dual ignition system remained the same as on the PI. The result of these engine changes was greatly enhanced performance, particularly of the Continental model, and the ability to accommodate weightier coachwork. Highly favoured by prominent coachbuilders, the Phantom II chassis provided the platform for some of the truly outstanding designs of its day and this example carries Weymann-type sports saloon coachwork by H J Mulliner. Chassis number '61XJ' was originally ordered on 15th October 1929 via Car Mart Ltd, of Park Lane, London. The first owner was Captain Leslie George Wylde, a gentleman renowned for his taste in attractive and sporting motor cars. After Wylde had grown tired of his Phantom it passed through a handful or owners and was modified for each accordingly. In 1947 '61XJ' was prepared for storage and remained off the road for some 30 years thereafter. It is believed that this careful storage is what kept the body in such remarkable condition, for '61XJ' still retains the original fabric as fitted at H J Mulliner's works. After re-commissioning, the Phantom was used for minor rallies and touring events. In mid-2003 Alpine Eagle were commissioned to obtain '61XJ' for one of their regular customers, Captain Bill Borchert Larson. He affectionately named the car 'The Captain', a reference to its overwhelming presence and authority. After its condition had been assessed it was decided that the car would be treated to a 'last nut and bolt' restoration to exacting standards. At the conclusion of the 10-month restoration, which cost in excess of £250,000, '61XJ' was unveiled at the 2004 R-REC Annual Rally where it won 1st prize for Elegance and came 1st in class. After passing to new ownership in 2007, '61XJ' was entered in the following year's R-REC Annual Rally and four years after restoration came a highly credible 2nd, losing only by a few points (deducted for not winding or setting the clock!) There is absolutely no question that '61XJ' has been given a world-class restoration and even now would not look out of place on the Pebble Beach lawns. '61XJ' has always received a warm welcome wherever it goes and always has a throng of admirers. Having covered little more than 1,000 miles since its most comprehensive restoration, this lovely Phantom II is suitable for touring in the grand manner and any number of prestigious concours events. The car is offered for sale complete with a comprehensive original tool kit and an original nickel-plated mascot. Accompanying documentation includes an old-style logbook, fully detailed Motor Historica report, sundry bills and restoration records, current MoT/tax and Swansea V5. A unique chance to own a wonderful piece of motoring history.