A one-off Rolls-Royce Phantom VI for the Consul

In the early 1970s, Italian master-craftsman Pietro Frua was commissioned by H.E. Consul Simon van Kempen of Switzerland and Monaco to create a one-off convertible based on the already exclusive Phantom VI. The result was six metres of pale green, sun-welcoming exuberance…

Bonhams claims the unique Rolls-Royce to be one of ‘the largest and most imposing two-door convertibles existing in the world today’. That’s a statement we can second, after initially mistaking it for a ‘Yank tank’ resting under tarpaulin during our visit to the Frederiksen Collection earlier this year.

Imposing presence

But this is no tank. Far from it, in fact. While it certainly has an imposing presence, Frua’s lines exude pure elegance – although they took their time to work their way off his sketchbook and onto the donor chassis. Due to the Anglo-Italian language barrier between Frua and Rolls-Royce, and some late design alterations from the Consul (including a request for the familiar grille and front end to be angled forwards), the car took almost two years to complete. When it was finally delivered, though, it represented an automotive masterpiece: it had clean lines with a gentle kink over the rear arch, butterfly bonnet-openings, and headlamps that would rotate into action on demand.

Worth the wait

In addition, the Consul also specified pale green paintwork, an abundance of off-white leather and a number of bespoke touches, including his initials embossed on the steering wheel hub and a plaque of the Monaco coat of arms embedded in the dashboard. He also specified a Rolls-Royce logo to be added above each tail-light. Despite expressing displeasure at the delays in completing the car, the Consul was ultimately delighted with his stately drophead coupé, keeping it until 1997.

The unique 1973 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Cabriolet by Frua will go to auction as part of the Frederiksen Collection, to be sold by Bonhams on 26 September at the Danish collector’s 16th Century manor.

Photos: Bonhams