1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II


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1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Enclosed Drive Limousine
Coachwork by R Harrison & Son
Registration no. GF 8793
Chassis no. 167XJ
Engine no. FC75

The Rolls-Royce Phantom II had been introduced in 1929 as a successor to the New Phantom (retrospectively Phantom I) with deliveries commencing in September of that year. 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 aluminium 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 favoured by prominent coachbuilders, the Phantom II chassis provided the platform for some of the truly outstanding designs of its day, getting off to a flying start when a pre-production model ('26EX') designed by Ivan Evernden and made by Barker & Co (Henry Royce's favourite coachbuilder) won the Grand Prix d'Honneur at the Biarritz Concours d'Elegance in September 1930.

Chassis number '167XJ' was ordered on 23rd October 1929 by Car Mart Ltd of Park Lane, London for their valued customer, U J Phillipson of Richmond, Yorkshire, whose London address was The Marlborough Club in Pall Mall. The short chassis was specified and the enclosed drive, four-light limousine coachwork, with accommodation for six passengers, was entrusted to R Harrison & Son of Stanhope Street, London. '167XJ' features Harrison's 'British Flexible' coachwork produced by its subsidiary, British Flexible Coachworks Ltd, which had been set up in 1927 to build bodies using its patented method of lightweight fabric construction employing felt joints in the wooden frame and screws encased in rubber bushes. Two spare wheel carriers were specified and a special 28-gallon fuel tank was provided for the longer tour. The car was delivered in April 1930. It seems that '167XJ' remained in the UK until the 1960s, subsequently finding its way to Alabama from where it returned to the UK in 1996.

Acquired by connoisseur collector, the late Terry Cohn, the Phantom was purchased by the previous owner at Bonhams & Brooks' auction at the R-REC's Annual Rally at Towcester Racecourse in June 2001 (Lot 721) when a selection of Terry's Rolls-Royces were offered for sale. After acquisition, the engine underwent a complete rebuild, the electrics were rewired, the dynamo overhauled, the radiator re-cored and the rear springs rebuilt. Additionally, the car has been fitted with a Tim Payne overdrive, full-flow oil filter, stainless steel exhaust system, new P100 headlights and new side mirrors.

This car is illustrated in 'Those Elegant Rolls-Royce' by Lawrence Dalton (page 285) and is now resplendent in attractive cream over brown livery with beige leather upholstery to the front compartment and brown velour to the rear. Added refinements include a cocktail cabinet with decanters and glasses, and re-veneered walnut woodwork, while other noteworthy features include twin chromed trumpet horns, a rear mounted luggage trunk and whitewall tyres. Extensively rallied to the South of France and Germany as well as within the UK, '167XJ' is said to drive beautifully, cruising effortlessly at 60mph and possessing powerful brakes. The engine is quiet and very long-legged due to the overdrive, and the car runs comfortably in modern traffic. This beautiful Phantom II is offered with an old-style logbook, sundry restoration invoices, current MoT and a V5C registration document. A very well looked after example offered from enthusiast ownership, it will have had a full service prior to sale and be ready to enjoy.