The 'Great Eight' Rolls-Royce Phantoms Gather at Bonhams

John Lennon Rolls-Royce Phantom V

An exhibition of some of the most notable Rolls-Royce Phantoms will be held at Bonhams from 29 July till 2 August, in celebration of 92 years of the illustrious model. Eight of the most historically significant Phantoms will be displayed at Bonhams international flagship saleroom on New Bond Street, London, including the long-awaited New Phantom.

A selection of 7 motor cars will travel from various corners of the globe to tell the story of The Phantom and the enduring legacy of Rolls-Royce.

The first vehicle announced is the ex-Fred Astaire 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Towncar with coachwork by Hooper of London. Originally owned by the star of the silver screen, the car has Astaire's initials on the doors and travel trunk – which was specially created for Rolls-Royce by Louis Vuitton. The interior is just as luxurious, with plush seats and green brocade cushions with matching carpet and door panels. A pair of occasional seats which pop out from a fold-flat position in the floor are the final flourish in this elegant automobile.

The second vehicle announced is the 1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom III with coachwork by HJ Mulliner. This particular Phantom was commissioned for Alan Samuel Butler, Chairman of the De Havilland Aircraft Company. Its most striking feature was a front-sloping windscreen that dramatically increased the aerodynamics of the car.

The third vehicle announced is a 1933 Rolls-Royce 40/50hp Phantom II Continental Touring Saloon which was originally owned by one of Great Britain's foremost sporting motorists, Captain Sir Malcolm Campbell. Campbell broke the World Land Speed record on no fewer than nine occasions between 1929 and 1935, on many occasions using the celebrated 'Blue Bird' that was powered by a 36.5L Rolls-Royce R Aero engine, which generated an astonishing 2,300 bhp.

Campbell ordered several modifications from the coachbuilders, Barker, including a wireless set, spotlight, klaxon horn, Bosch horn and a siren. The motor car was fittingly finished in pale blue, with a dark leather blue trim and a black roof. Rolls-Royce was rumoured to use herring scales in the paint mixture to achieve a unique pearlescent glow.

The remaining four cars will be announced in the run up to the exhibition.

Admission to the exhibition is free, and no advance booking or tickets are required. The exhibition will be open daily (including Sunday) between 29 July and 2 August from 10am - 5pm.


For further information and images call Poppy McKenzie Smith on +44 (0) 20 7468 8363, or email [email protected]


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Today, the auction house offers more sales than any of its rivals. The main salerooms are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Sales are also held in the UK in Knightsbridge and Edinburgh; in the US, in San Francisco and Los Angeles; in Europe, in Paris and Stuttgart and in Sydney, Australia. Bonhams also has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of forthcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit

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