1937 - 38 Rolls-Royce Phantom III
Lot 340
1938 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Touring Limousine Chassis no. 3CM175 Engine no. D18Z
Sold for £50,600 (US$ 85,049) inc. premium
Lot Details
1938 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Touring Limousine
Coachwork by Rippon Brothers

Registration no. CWX 320
Chassis no. 3CM175
Engine no. D18Z


  • 'The most captious critic is obliged to admit that a Phantom III provides all that can be wished for in a large luxury motor-car. The comfort, silence and road-holding with really impressive acceleration and maximum speed made a combination of virtues which few cars of the time could equal.' - Anthony Bird, 'Rolls-Royce Motor Cars', 1964.
    Perhaps the most outstanding luxury car of the 1930s - certainly on this side of the Channel - was the Rolls-Royce Phantom III. Introduced in 1936, the 7,340cc V12-engined Phantom III succeeded the Phantom II, the six-cylinder engine of which was considered to be at the end of its development life. The choice of a V12 configuration was a logical one for Rolls-Royce, the company already having had considerable experience of manufacturing V12 aero engines such as that used in the record-breaking Supermarine S6B seaplane. No doubt another consideration was the need to match the multi-cylinder opposition, notably the V16 Cadillac and V12 Hispano-Suiza.
    A state-of-the-art design employing advanced materials and techniques such as 'skeleton' cylinder blocks with wet liners and aluminium alloy cylinder heads, the PIII V12 produced 165bhp in its debut form. The maximum output was subsequently raised to 180 brake horsepower, which was sufficient to propel later examples to 100mph, earlier models being capable of around 90. Its engine configuration aside, the Phantom III represents an important milestone in the history of Rolls-Royce cars, being the first with independent front suspension. A total of 710 had been manufactured when WW2 halted production, of which around 300 exist worldwide today.
    The last word in motoring luxury in its day, this wonderful Phantom III carries touring limousine coachwork by Rippon Brothers of Huddersfield, Yorkshire. Britain's oldest coachbuilder and without question one of its finest, Rippon could trace its origins back to the middle of the 16th Century and in pre-war days was ranked alongside the likes of Barker, Hooper, H J Mulliner and Park Ward. Needless to say, Rippon products were necessarily expensive and only to be found on the very best chassis, those of Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Daimler and Delage predominating.
    Completed by Rippon in June 1938, chassis number '3CM175' was registered 'CWX 320' and first owned by George P Norton of High Royds, West Yorkshire. Soon after delivery the Phantom was photographed outside Woodsome Hall near Huddersfield for Country Life magazine (11th June 1938 edition). It is also pictured in Lawrence Dalton's book, 'Rolls-Royce: The Derby Phantoms' (page 398).
    The car was subsequently owned by a Mr E Cheesman of Sheffield, a telecommunications engineer for Stephen Lynch & Co, who took it to Iraq in 1946. Re-imported into the UK in 1979, the car still carries the badge of the Iraq Motor Club at the front. A hand written note on file lists some of the subsequent owners.
    During the 1980s the Phantom was on show for a time at the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts' Club museum at Paulerspury, Northamptonshire. We are advised that the car is still featured on the R-REC's membership application form. A small brass plaque on the glove box records a restoration carried out at around this time.

    The current vendor first encountered the Phantom at Frank Dale & Stepsons' showroom where it was being offered for sale on behalf of the then owner, Mr F Leeman, a Dutch businessman. It is understood that Mr Leeman had spent a substantial sum of money having the Rolls-Royce restored, including fitting a higher rear axle ratio for easier high-speed cruising. The vendor purchased the vehicle from FD&S in April 2007.
    'CWX 320' benefits from bodywork restoration and a re-spray carried out in March of this year and is described as in generally good condition, with excellent paintwork. Sleekly styled and undeniably handsome, this beautiful Phantom III touring limousine is offered with history file, current road fund licence, MoT to 31st August 2012 and Swansea V5 registration document.

  1. John Polson
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 7468 5803
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