From the collection of the late Jack Tattersall 1931 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Phantom II Saloon Limousine Coachwork by Barker & Co. (Coachbuilders) Ltd. of South Audley Street, London Registration no. VU 5569 Chassis no. 9GX Engine no. GE55
Generally considered to be Rolls-Royce's pre-war masterpiece, the Phantom II followed a distinguished line of six-cylinder cars headed by the 40/50hp 'Silver Ghost' which had enjoyed a hugely successful 18 year production run prior to the introduction of the 'New Phantom' in 1925. The Phantom II, unveiled at the Olympia Motor Show in London in 1929, answered all the critics and was technically up-to-the-minute in design while retaining all the standards of mechanical excellence shared by its predecessor. The new car featured unit construction of engine and gearbox, improved ride and handling characteristics and better braking. It was powered by a 7.7 litre, six cylinder, pushrod overhead valve engine which ran almost in silence and yet produced more than ample power to carry the most flamboyant coachwork provided by bespoke coachbuilders in Great Britain, mainland Europe and America. The Phantom II was the choice of captains of industry, nobility and Royalty, the list of customers reading like an international Who's Who.
There are few cars that stand head and shoulders above their peer group, especially in Rolls-Royce circles, however 9GX is just such a car, having a continuous and documented history, an integrity of museum quality and an overall visible appearance of sustained and careful maintenance from new. 9GX is strictly for the connoisseur.
Factory records indicate that the chassis was laid down in late 1930 and tested in chassis form on 24th September that year. In March 1931 the chassis was sold by Rolls-Royce to Barker & Co (Coachbuilders) Ltd. of 66 South Audley Street, London, for their esteemed customer, Major Robert Carlyle of West Didsbury, Manchester. On 7th May 1931 9GX was delivered to Barker & Co. Ltd. who were commissioned to build 'saloon limousine' coachwork for the Major, the car to be used in the United Kingdom. Specific instructions included the fitting of twin-type wheel carrier at the rear along with a second spare wheel, dropped sided bonnet and the speedometer to register in kilometres as well as miles. The completed car was finally tested at Barkers on 16th June 1931 and the Guarantee became effective on 22nd June 1931.
Major Carlyle kept the car until his death and in 1935 9GX was purchased by Eric Goodbehere of Stockport. In 1953 it is recorded in the next ownership of K H Dixon of Skegness and in 1959 was acquired by W D N (David) Berry of Yorkshire. He owned the car for many years, covering significant mileage on U.K. and Continental tours, including much Alpine driving. His comments regarding the car's capabilities and robust touring qualities are well recorded in John Oldham's book "The Rolls-Royce 40/50hp", pages 164/166. Berry writes:-
"In conclusion I would like to paint you a true picture of an incident of my 1969 Pyrenean Tour; of 9GX, fully laden and 39 years old, overtaking in top gear, a new Mercedes Benz on one of the long mountain ascents, and to see the consternation and disbelief on the face of its German driver. He overtook us later on the way down, due to his superior road holding on corners, and possibly my caution. It is with this image that the Phantom II deserves to pass into history. A motor car which was, and still is, 'adequate for the purpose for which it was designed', that purpose being a grand touring car of character, comfort, grace and elegance."
9GX was also selected for illustration in the Barker section of Lawrence Dalton's standard work 'Those Elegant Rolls-Royce' (page 42).
It is fair to say that the coachwork on 9GX represents coachbuilding state-of-the-art in 1931, the car having a simple elegance with every detail carefully considered and provided for the driver and passengers' comfort. Barker dipping headlights are a notable feature, operated by a lever at the driver's right hand. Side windows incorporate wind deflectors, the windscreen visor provides driver comfort, the quick-lift window opening lever on the driver's door is a safety feature, while the rear seating area is furnished with head cushions, centre divide to the seats, both smoker's and vanity sets, with newspaper nets to the roof. Separate front seats, operating on beautifully engineered sliders, befit the owner-driver status of this car, while door map pockets provide for the needs of Continental touring.
9GX is very much a driver's car and is fully equipped with Lucas 'Bullseye' headlamps, mirror-backed swivel spot lamp, centre driving light, rear 'STOP' light, running board tool locker, leather gaitered leaf springs and practical wheel discs. The essential Rolls-Royce toolkit sits in the boot lid, while two rear-mounted spare wheels, as originally specified, are both practical touring accessories and enhance the car's appearance. Coachwork, repainted many years ago, has immaculately stood the test of time while the beige cloth interior is museum quality. Jack Tattersall believed the upholstery to be the original and remarkably this may well be the case as notes on file record that seat covers were fitted for much of the car's life.
Throughout this car is gently understated, reflecting both Rolls-Royce and Barker quality, befitting the demanding requirements of their valued discerning clientele.
9GX shared the motor house while in the long term ownership of connoisseur Jack Tattersall with the likes of Bentley, Packard, Hispano-Suiza and Isotta-Fraschini. While other cars came and went 9GX was a constant in the Tattersall motor house for twenty-seven years, Jack expressing his personal preference for this car over all other exotica he owned.
Although little used in recent years 9GX is presented in good running order with current licence and MoT and is offered with old buff log book, old-style V5 and current V5C registration documents. It comes also with a good and interesting history file with comments and correspondence from previous owners, together with Rolls-Royce Factory Build Sheets.