1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Four-Door Estate Wagon  Chassis no. 3 BU 144 Engine no. Z58C
Lot 458¤
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
Sold for US$ 28,750 inc. premium
Lot Details
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.

Without reserve

Saleroom notices

  • Please note this lot now includes lot 225, a partial Rolls-Royce Phantom III body.
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations


If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Arms & Armor, Coins & Medals, Motor Cars, Motorcycles, and Wine & Whisky:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first $100,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from $100,001 to $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price
12% on the excess over $2,000,000 of the Hammer Price

Collection Notices


Lots must be paid for and collected from the sale venue by 12pm Tuesday October 9. Lots are at the buyer's risk from the fall of the hammer. It is strongly advised that overseas purchasers and absentee bidders make arrangements regarding collection with Bonhams in advance of the sale.

Bonhams will be accepting payment directly after the auction on Monday evening and between 8.30am and 12pm on Tuesday October 9. Please note that we will close promptly at 12pm; therefore any payment and collection appointments begin no later than 11.30am on Tuesday October 9.

Representatives of Bonhams' preferred carriers will be present at the sale and can arrange transportation as agents for the buyer or the seller as the case may be.

You may have an authorized agent collect your purchases as long as they are removed from the auction site by 12pm Tuesday October 9.

If Bonhams does not receive motor vehicle collection details from the buyer by 12pm on Tuesday October 9, Passport Auto Transport will automatically collect and store the purchased lot(s). Motor vehicle removal and storage charges will be charged by Passport Auto Transport according to standard rates and the ultimate destination of the vehicle. Bonhams urges buyers to inquire in advance. Please notify us of your collection plans upon payment.

It is the responsibility of the buyer to separately inform their shipper of the location of the property, its collection and forwarding, the costs of which will be paid for by the buyer after the applicable uplift and storage charges have been paid.

Buyers should satisfy themselves that they have collected all relevant log books, title documents and keys relating to their lot(s) at time of collection.

Domestic Motorcar Transport:
Passport Auto Transport, contact Mike Goforth
+1 (800) 325 4267

International Motoring Transport:
All Shore Forwarders, Ltd., contact Brian Weiner
+1 (732) 212 1515

Schumacher Cargo Logistics, contact Warren Barnes
+1 (310) 626 7117

For the Automobilia Uncollected Lots, Moving and Storage:
Uncollected automobilia lots will be removed to Navis Pack & Ship for shipment or for collection by the buyer or third party agent. Instructions for collection from Navis Pack & Ship will be given to buyers at the time of payment. A representative from Navis will be available to assist clients with shipping quotes via phone and email.
Navis contact information:
Peter Michaelson, Owner
+1 (610) 534 0750 or

Please note that uncollected automobilia lots that are removed to Navis for storage or shipping are subject to uplift charges applied according to the size and fragility of a lot or lots. Lots are also subject to storage fees. Buyers are responsible for all such charges and fees.

Bonhams - Philadelphia Details
Simeone Automotive Museum
6825-31 Norwitch Drive
Philadelphia, PA, 19153

From Thursday October 4 to 12pm Tuesday October 9, we can be reached at either: +1 (212) 461 6514
+1 (212) 644 9007 fax or

+1 (215) 492 2800
+1 (215) 492 2801 fax

Payment Notices

Payment for purchases may be made in or by (a) cash, (b) cashier's check or money order, (c) personal check with approved credit drawn on a U.S. bank, (d) wire transfer or other immediate bank transfer, or (e) Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover credit, charge or debit card. A processing fee will be assessed on any returned checks. Please note that the amount of cash notes and cash equivalents that can be accepted from a given purchaser may be limited.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
¤ Without reserve
  1. Samantha Hamill
    Auction Administration - Motor Cars
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 212 461 6514
    FaxFax: +1 917 206 1669
  2. Rupert Banner
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 212 461 6515
    FaxFax: +1 917 206 1669
  3. Evan Ide
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    Work Boston, United States
    Work +1 917 340 4657
  4. Eric Minoff
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    580 Madison Avenue
    New York, United States 10022
    Work +1 917 206 1630
    FaxFax: +1 917 206 1669