This really is an amazing Rolls-Royce Phantom II, by anyone's standard and possibly, therefore, by definition the ultimate pre-war car..........
The Phantom II was the first Phantom to utilise a chassis made specifically for the model, the first iteration of the Phantom used the preceding 40/50hp chassis
This built for purpose chassis made the Phantom II a much more appealing base for coachbuilders, who now thanks to the recessed radiator grill and low-slung design could sculpture more sleek bodies than the decidedly upright and boxy bodies that were found on the New Phantom I - *disclaimer we do appreciate the original Phantom
Furthermore the new 7668cc straight six delivered an exactly adequate 120bhp and plenty of torque to help make all elements of motoring easy
Ordered new by The Spanish Royal Consort to the United Kingdom his excellency Sr. Marques de Larios of Spain our car was shipped to Spain on the 23rd July 1930 after being finished a month earlier
It is believed that the order was made on behalf of King Alfonso, which would make good sense as the Consort would surely have liked to keep the car in London if it was for him
In the file are the original build sheets, showing that when the car was delivered she was wearing a Hooper & Co Sedance de Ville body, and of course that the engine, chassis and axle are still all correct 'matching numbers'
The Barker body on the car today, number 6859, was originally a special order in 1929 by The Maharaja of Bhavnagar to sit on his 61/2 litre Bentey Speed Six - and was fitted to chassis number 45GN in the last 15 years
In period Barker were seen as the 'official coachbuilder' for Rolls-Royce as Charles Rolls had been so impressed with the quality of their work when he was given a demonstration by the company in 1905, hence their strong association
It's fitting then that she now wears a body that would have been the first choice of her makers co-founder
The open tourer body is more than striking, together with the gold & brass accents a more imposing Phantom of any kind would be hard to come by - The ex-John Lennon Phantom VI might be the only car worthy of contention
In addition, the body has only recently been refurbished to include a new hood and side screens, the driver's side screen has a brilliant little window flap the purpose of which we can only deduce to be a way of tipping members of the general public without ever having to step out of the Rolls-Roye
The car as a whole has been the subject of two major restorations in her life, the first of which was carried out between 1965-1967 in Geneva and the second in the mid-eighties by the very well thought of Bohman & Schwartz of California shortly after she had been living in the Harrah Museum
She feels nothing short of imperious on the road and having driven her in London a few times now we can say with total confidence that there is nothing that gets such a dramatic response from onlookers
Pre-war cars do always seem to inspire smiles on the faces of those who don't know but there is something very special about this one.......