1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1 Newmarket All Weather Phaeton
Coachwork by Brewster & Co.
Chassis no. S126PR
Engine no. 30260
Body No. B5750
7,668cc OHV inline six-cylinder engine
100bhp at 3,000rpm
Three-speed manual transmission
Front semi-elliptical leaf springs and rear cantilever spring suspension
Four-wheel servo-assisted drum brakes
-Springfield Phantom with original coachwork from new
-CCCA Primary, Senior and Premier award winner
-Recent service by marque expert
The Phantom 1 Newmarket
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.
The Motorcar Offered
This handsome touring Rolls-Royce Phantom was delivered new to Mrs. E. J. Williams of Cincinnati in December 1930. All told it set her back some $20,075 and 50 cents, a staggering sum for its day, but a number that was clearly affordable to Mrs. Williams, who was part of a family whose interests included ownership of the Cincinnati Reds Baseball team. A fair proportion of the original invoice would have been its coachwork, a fashionable, fully convertible body, termed Newmarket by Rolls-Royce and constructed by the famed house of Brewster & Co. a company whose reputation for quality extended beyond mere automobiles and into popular culture, including reference in the Gershwin song 'You're the tops'.
Mrs. Williams Rolls was one of the last of the first series of Phantoms and as such benefited from the latest technologies that the company could offer, including four wheel servo assisted brakes to counteract its 7.7 liter six cylinder motor, Bijur lubrication system to ensure that the car would glide along like the 'magic carpet' its critics suggested it would, and the convenience of a vacuum fed fuel tank. Above the surface, these later cars were equally modern, and started to show signs of the aerodynamic trends that ensued in this era, carrying more European styled 'bullet' headlamps, and matched sidelamps now mounted on the front fenders. The front fenders themselves now stretched forwards like blades as on the famed Derby Speedsters and the front dumb irons and springs and chassis were now discreetly hidden behind valances. While completing the effect front and aft were twin flat bars as bumpers.
As it was almost certainly treasured and well maintained when new, the car has been fortunate to have had a succession of prominent and knowledgeable owners over the course of the last few decades. It retains its original coachwork and is correct and authentic under the skin, right down to details such as the top mechanism being stamped with the chassis number confirming that it has always been present and is original Brewster work. Importantly this included a thorough restoration carried out in the late 1990s by then owner and noted connoisseur of the marque, Lawrence Smith of Kansas. This work immediately enabled the car to receive a First Place award at the Primary Division of the AACA 1998 Grand Classic Annual Meet. Today the car is still honored with Senior Award Status at National Events.
In the present ownership for the last three years, its exhibition and success has continued, being shown at the Fairfield County Concours d'Elegance and the AACA Annual Meet in Florida in January 2011. Last year, it featured extensively and on the cover of the Southern Florida Region publication Classic Lines. It is easy to see the appeal to judges and enthusiasts alike, the color scheme and accents show the lines of the Newmarket from its raked windshield to waist molding in their very best light and are now enhanced by wheel discs.
The car comes to the auction, fresh from a service at Vantage Motor Works in Miami, which included attention to the brakes and valve adjustment, as well as engine bay detailing and the fitment of correct period wheel discs as mentioned above. In addition it has recently had the correct pattern Spirit of Ecstasy horn ornament fitted.
As it was when new, the great characteristic of this style of coachwork is its versatility, offering full open motoring to breeze along in the sunshine, with none of the elegance of the car impeded, or on colder or wetter days be entirely and solidly covered and protected from the elements. With illustrious ownership and concours history, Mrs. Williams Newmarket, a Full Classic by designation and in name is ready to be toured or shown.