Rolls-Royce Phantom VI
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The factory demonstrator
c.1979 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Limousine
Coachwork by H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd
Chassis no. PGH116
'The specification has been designed to make our Phantom VI the "Showpiece" of our demonstration fleet, and also to promote those extras that MPW are keen to sell.' ? Rolls-Royce Motors.
With development of its dependable six-cylinder engine nearing an end and facing competition from faster rivals in the United States market, Rolls-Royce turned to V8 power as the 1960s approached. Introduced in the autumn of 1959, the new 6,230cc all-alloy engine graced the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II and Bentley S2 as well as the Rolls-Royce Phantom V. Introduced at the same time, Rolls-Royce's new limousine model, the long-wheelbase Phantom V, effectively replaced both the royalty/heads of state-only Phantom IV and the Silver Wraith. Built on a much modified and strengthened Silver Cloud II chassis, the new Phantom measured over 6 metres (19' 6") in length and enabled coachbuilders to combine the desirable qualities of spacious interior accommodation with generous boot space and graceful lines. A lower final drive ratio ensured that, while top speed was a little down on that of its stable-mates, though still in excess of 100mph, the new Phantom could all but match them for acceleration.
Rolls-Royce's in-house coachbuilder Park Ward Limited produced what was in effect the 'standard' seven-passenger limousine coachwork for the Phantom V. The usual upholstery for the front compartment was leather, which was also included in the list of alternatives for the rear together with West of England cloth. As one would expect in a car of this class, a cocktail cabinet was often incorporated into the rear compartment, while electric windows and air conditioning were among the other options.
Park Ward's design remained substantially unaltered until the introduction of the Silver Cloud III and Bentley S3 in the autumn of 1962 when it was revised to incorporate the new models' four-headlamp lighting arrangement and a completely new above-waistline treatment. Now built by the combined firm of H J Mulliner, Park Ward Ltd, the car lived on into the 1990s as the Phantom VI, its passing in 1992 marking the final demise of the separate-chassis Rolls-Royce.
The last word in motoring luxury in its day, Phantom VI chassis number 'PGH 116' was built by Rolls-Royce to serve as the flagship of its demonstration fleet and as such incorporates a host of 'extras' in addition to the already generous standard specification. Dated 22nd November 1978, a (copy) factory document on file lists them as follows:
*Stainless steel side trim to sills and wheelarches
*Lengthened side chrome moulding
*Chrome centre door pillar
*Recessed rear light cluster
*Flag masts to both front wings
*Radio to front compartment
*ACR 920 cassette to division cabinet
*Clock to division rail
*Electrically operated rear seat
*Curtains to back light and rear quarters
*Head cushions to rear seats
*Headrests to rear seat
*Vanity mirror to each rear quarter
*Bonnella reading lamps to rear
It would appear that Rolls-Royce retained the Phantom for some four or so years, as the factory documentation takes up the story in June 1984 when the car was being prepared for sale to G A Moore Esq of Linton, West Yorkshire. A revised specification was issued at this time; noteworthy exterior additions included quartz iodine headlamps, sliding glass sunroof, and detachable bumpers (as per HM The Queen's cars). Additions to the interior included picnic tables; curtains to the doors and division; video and audio cassette storage; intercom for rear compartment; Corniche-type door pockets; coat hooks; speed control; and an alarm (full list available). It is understood that on occasions it was loaned to the Royal Household. Currently in the process of having a registration number allocated by the DVLA, this ultimate Phantom is MoT'd and 'on the button'.