1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II
Year of manufacture1930
1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Tourer
Coachwork by Barker & Co
Registration no. SV 9956
Chassis no. 45GN
Reputedly the last model that Henry Royce designed himself, the Phantom II was introduced in 1929 as a successor to the New Phantom (retrospectively known as the 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", the former being used for the Continental models - 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. The transmission was of the 'Hotchkiss Drive' type, featuring an open prop-shaft rather than the torque tube arrangement used on earlier 40/50hp models.
Highly favoured by prominent coachbuilders, the Phantom II chassis provided the platform for some of the truly outstanding designs of its day and this example wears handsome open tourer coachwork by Barker & Co, of London, one of the finest of all British coachbuilders and a firm associated with Rolls-Royce from the latter's earliest days. Old established coachbuilders, Barker had shown an example of their work to the Hon C S Rolls as early as 1905; so impressed was he that the firm was viewed as the 'official coachbuilder' to Rolls-Royce for the next 25 years.
Rolls-Royce Phantom II '45GN' is a right-hand drive long-chassis car completed on 26th June 1930 to the order of Sr Marqués de Larios and originally fitted with Sedanca de Ville coachwork by London-based coachbuilders Hooper & Co. It is believed that the car was ordered for King Alfonso of Spain. Accompanying copy chassis cards record details of the car's original specification, including the many special gunmetal brass interior and exterior fittings that are still in evidence today. '45GN' also retains its matching-numbers engine ('TO85'), gearbox, and axle.
On 23rd July 1930 the Phantom was shipped to Spain and is believed to have been re-bodied around 1939 by Hooper (see Hooper's letter dated 10th May 1965 on file). In the mid-1960s the car underwent restoration at SA du Garage de l'Athénée of Geneva, Switzerland, and during the 1970s and 1980s was displayed as part of the world famous Harrah Collection. In the mid-1980s the then owner spent approximately $120,000 on a comprehensive refurbishment undertaken by renowned coachbuilders and restorers Bohman & Schwartz of Pasadena, California. When offered for sale at Bonhams' Newport, RI auction in August 2003 (Lot 915), the Rolls-Royce still had its second Hooper body and was described as 'show quality'.
Fitted to the car recently, the Barker open tourer body (number '6859') was originally ordered by the Maharaja of Bhavnagar in 1929 to replace the original body on his 6½-Litre Bentley Speed Six. Over recent years this Barker body has been refurbished to include a new black hood with side screens, and an updated interior featuring a beautiful burr walnut dashboard providing the perfect setting for the brass instrumentation. The seats are trimmed with black leather and there is a drinks cabinet in the rear of the front seats for the convenience of passengers in the rear. Handsomely finished in Royal Burgundy and black, this Barker-bodied Phantom II represents the very best of British automotive engineering and style.