1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP
Lot 26
1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé
Coachwork by Brewster
Sold for £104,540 (US$ 141,841) inc. premium

Fifth ERA Peking to Paris

Lot Details
1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé  Chassis no. S285FP
1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Stratford Coupé
Coachwork by Brewster

Registration no. BF 5247
Chassis no. S285FP
*First owned by Dwight F Davis
*One of only six with Stratford Coupé coachwork
*Comprehensively restored in the 2000s
*Prepared for historic rallying
*All bills available

Footnotes

  • 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.

    This American-built, left-hand drive Rolls-Royce Phantom I was first owned by Dwight F Davis, founder of the Davis Cup International tennis tournament. An accomplished amateur tennis player, Davis attended Washington University Law School but did not practice as an attorney, preferring a career in politics. He reached the top of his chosen profession, serving as the US Secretary of War from 1925 to 1929 and then as Governor General of the Philippines. He died in November 1945.

    Chassis number 'S285FP' is one of only six Phantom Is completed by Brewster with Stratford Coupé coachwork. Following 50 years in museum storage, the Phantom was imported into the UK in 2008. It was then totally restored by Wildae Restorations over the next 12 months (see bills totalling £177,000 on file) while further works were carried out between February 2010 and September 2013 by Alpine Eagle at a cost exceeding £70,000 (bills available). Purchased by the current vendor in February 2014, the Phantom has been expertly prepared for historic rallying by Rally Preparation Services of Witney, Oxfordshire.

    Interior accoutrements include modern seats with lap belts; a Monit trip meter; fittings for a GPS navigation unit; and a fire extinguisher. Mechanical upgrades include twin ignition coils; automatic lubrication with extra feed to kingpins; twin fuel tanks with a total of 150 litres capacity; three fuel systems (Autovac and two electric pumps); two electrical generating systems; overdrive transmission; under-body protection; and a canvas boot cover.

    Not only built and maintained to an impeccable standard regardless of cost, the car comes with a comprehensive file containing a full and detailed history recording all the works carried out down to the replacement of every nut, bolt and washer. The Phantom's transformation from an effortless tourer to a long-distance rally car is easy to follow.

    'BF 5247' has successfully completed many long-distance rallies across the world, from the wilds of the Mongolian desert, to North Africa, and many miles across Europe. Benefiting from a new clutch, new brakes, and a new roof covering, this is a truly impressive car to both drive and ride in, and is ideal for any long-distance historic rally. Truly turnkey and ready to go, this unique Vintage-era Rolls-Royce is offered at a mere fraction of the restoration costs.
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