Originally supplied to Lord Somers, President of the Marylebone Cricket Club, formerly owned by William B. Ruger
1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Shooting Brake project
Chassis no. 3 BU 144
Engine no. Z58C
One of the strongest survival rates of any marque is for Rolls-Royce, while in part this may be attributed to the fact that the brand has always been held in such high esteem that these prized cars were never scrapped, another strong contributing factor is that the cars were built to last and to provide their owners with enduring transportation, sometimes beyond a time when the model had been replaced, or indeed when fashion dictated different styling, the trusty Rolls was working well and spares could be relatively easily sourced. As with a trusty steed, sometimes the original owner of a car would simply keep it for sentimental value, it is not unheard of to find cars still sitting in the outbuildings of their original country estate, Bonhams specialists have been fortunate to unearth such cars from time to time. Another application for the reliable Rolls, was to revise its coachwork and put it into service as a secondary, perhaps more commercial/practical style of car and one of the more common of those was to turn it into the original 'people carrier' a shooting brake.
While there are certainly a few small horsepower Rolls-Royce which received this treatment and indeed a few Phantom 1 and 2 chassis, it is rare to find this work completed on the V12 chassis. Given his penchant for Phantom IIIs, Mr Shaffner clearly wished to redress this balance and to have his own V12 Shooting Brake built.
According to information provided by both the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts Club in the U.K. and Australian expert Steve Stuckey to Mr. Shaffner, the chassis on which the project is constructed dates from Spring 1937, being completed at a very similar time to the Cabriolet in this collection. When new it wore Barker Enclosed Limousine coachwork and was originally supplied to Arthur Herbert Tennyson Cocks, the Sixth Baron Somers. Lord Somers lived at Eastnor Castle in Herefordshire in the UK, an ex-service man, he had received both a DSO and the Military Cross, he was also former Governor of Victoria, Australia and from 1936-37 was President of the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) in London. On his death in 1944, the car passed to Lady Somers and a succession of British owners followed before it arrived in the U.S. in 1961, when it is understood to have become the property of Irving Tuchinsky of Sun Valley, California who shipped it to the East Coast and then drove it across the country to his home.
In around 1972 or '73 the car is known to have suffered a fire in the cabin, perhaps owing to the failing of original or worn wiring. Its then owner is thought to have collected an insurance payout for this and then walked away, at which point the car was sold to a German mechanic who relished the project. It seems that he never got around to attempting it and the car was found still laid up on blocks in Woodland Hills, CA in 1998 by enthusiast Gareth Davies. From Mr. Davies investigations of the car's condition, it seemed that some attempts had been made to refurbish the interior, with new door cappings and sills, but the seats were destroyed. Mechanically the car appeared intact at this point and the engine did not appear to have been damaged by the conflagration that the interior had suffered from.
In 2007 the car passed from Mr. Davies to noted collector William B. Ruger and then in turn in 2010 from him to Mr. Shaffner, to become part of this project. As it stands little more than some careful measuring up and alignment of the body has been undertaken, which suggests that it has the potential to fit and look very good if continued. Mechanically, it is reported that the car has been started and timing has been checked. The Shooting brake component was removed from Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, but it is believed to be a Cantrell, presumably sourced originally from a Packard of the same era prior to finding its way onto Rolls of any kind.
Offered with the both the remaining section of the original body, and the shooting brake body, it provides the next owner with some options. The car is sold 'as viewed' and its completeness has not been ascertained, or recorded to our knowledge.
- Please note this lot now includes lot 225, a partial Rolls-Royce Phantom III body.