1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville  Chassis no. 4JS

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Lot 535
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville
Chassis no. 4JS

US$ 275,000 - 325,000
£ 210,000 - 250,000
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville
Coachwork by Thrupp & Maberly, Ltd

Chassis no. 4JS
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 center-change gearbox and ‘Hotchkiss drive’ rear axle, and the advanced newcomer’s arrival only served to emphasize the Silver Ghost’s Edwardian origins. However, the 45/50hp model would soon benefit from developments pioneered on its smaller sibling.

Introduced in 1925, 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 brought with it an entirely new frame.
Reputedly the last model that Henry Royce designed himself, the Phantom II was announced in September 1929 with deliveries commencing immediately. Unlike its predecessor, which inherited its underpinnings from the preceding 40/50hp model, the Silver Ghost, the Phantom II employed an entirely new chassis laid out along the lines of that of the smaller 20hp Rolls-Royce. Built in two wheelbase lengths - 144” and 150” - this new low-slung frame, with its radiator set well back, enabled coachbuilders to body the car in the modern idiom, creating sleeker designs than the upright ones of the past.

The engine too had come in for extensive revision. The PI’s cylinder dimensions and basic layout - two blocks of three cylinders, with an aluminum cylinder head common to both blocks - were retained, but the combustion chambers had been redesigned and the ’head was now of the cross-flow type, with inlet and exhaust manifolds on opposite sides. The magneto/coil dual ignition system remained the same as on the PI. The result of these engine changes was greatly enhanced performance, particularly of the Continental model, and the ability to accommodate weightier coachwork.

Highly favored by prominent coachbuilders, the Phantom II chassis provided the platform for some of the truly outstanding designs of its day and this example wears imposing sedanca de ville coachwork by the respected London-based firm of Thrupp & Maberly, a concern noted for a succession of coachbuilding innovations during the 1920s and 1930s. Lawrence Dalton’s definitive work, Rolls-Royce - The Derby Phantoms, lists PII chassis number ‘4JS’ as completed in November 1931 and sold to first owner Sir Ronald Gunter - English Baronet, privateer ‘Bentley Boy’ and Lagonda works driver at Le Mans in 1934.

Subsequent history is not recorded on file, but the car wears a Rolls-Royce Owner’s Club award plaque dating from 1963 which confirms that it was already in America by then, and that it must have been in good order to have earned recognition by that famed club.

By 2006 the car is listed with Max Berlin of Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania in the R-R.O.C. directory, though we have been unable to ascertain how long he had owned the car. Shortly after this we believe that the car changed hands as it is known to have arrived at John Sanders Antique Auto restorers of Rockport, Illinois where it was subjected to a comprehensive refurbishment. Speaking with the restorers when researching the car, they reported it to have been a good straight car on arrival and that it was running well. The original interior had been covered over once before and so the restorers were able to retrieve the original patterns and use them as a basis to match, which they did in black leather. The wood cappings and trims were apparently correct in their color and so they clear-coated them. The wheels were also completely rebuilt with new stainless steel spokes and black centers, a detail which complements the silver and black coachwork, which was also repainted at this time. Although not pictured as such in the catalog images, the sedanca top which is in new grained leather is reported to vanish into the main bodywork. The work was completed in Spring 2007 and the result is a very fine presentation indeed.

Understood by the owner to be one of only four built in this particular style, this lovely motor car is suitable for touring in the grand manner and any number of prestigious events including, of course, Rolls-Royce Owners’ Club meetings.
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville  Chassis no. 4JS
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville  Chassis no. 4JS
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville  Chassis no. 4JS
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville  Chassis no. 4JS
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville  Chassis no. 4JS
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville  Chassis no. 4JS
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville  Chassis no. 4JS
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Sedanca De Ville  Chassis no. 4JS
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