1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I,
Lot 321
1929 Rolls-Royce Springfield Phantom I Roadster Chassis no. S206KR Engine no. 22747 (see text)
Sold for £78,500 (US$ 133,386) inc. premium
Lot Details
1929 Rolls-Royce Springfield Phantom I Roadster
Coachwork by Brewster

Chassis no. S206KR
Engine no. 22747 (see text)

Footnotes

  • 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 by Rolls-Royce in 1925 to replace the Silver Ghost, 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 in 1929 brought with it an entirely new frame.
    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. 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 - signalling the beginning of its decline. The Phantom I was in production for only five years and the Derby-built models ran parallel with the Springfield cars but ended in 1929, whereas the Americans continued until 1931.
    Unlike its British-built counterpart, the American product could be ordered with 'factory' bodywork, usually by Brewster, the latter company having been taken over by Rolls-Royce in December 1925. As well as manufacturing coachwork of the highest quality, Brewster had built its own automobiles from 1915 up to the time of its acquisition by Rolls-Royce, re-emerging as an auto-maker in its own right, using Ford chassis, when US Phantom production finally ceased in 1934 and the company became part of the reconstituted Springfield Manufacturing Corporation.
    This American-built, left-hand drive Rolls-Royce Phantom I was first owned by one A Y Goyen of Concord, Massachusetts, subsequently passing into the ownership of businessman and diplomat George Howard Earle III, Governor of Pennsylvania from 1934 to 1938 who served as President Roosevelt's special emissary to the Balkans during WW2. Restored to '100-point' standard in 1968, the Phantom was exported from the USA to Germany in 1989 and from 1992 onwards was owned by the Nassauische Sparkasse in Wiesbaden.
    By 2009 the car had passed into the current vendor's hands and that same year the engine was completely overhauled by marque specialist Werner Mork at a cost of €33,000 (approximately £28,660, bill on file). Works carried out included fitting a new cylinder head, pistons, bearings and clutch. Finished in black/maroon with grey velour interior, the car is described by the private vendor as in generally good condition and offered with German roadworthiness certificate (TüV). The engine's original cylinder block (number '20069') is included in the sale.

Saleroom notices

  • The bodywork for this car is Sportster not Roadster as catalogued, and this car has been owned by the vendor since 2006.
Activities
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