• Year of manufacture 
  • Mileage 
    8 483 mi / 13 653 km
  • Car type 
  • Lot number 
  • Reference number 
  • Drive 
  • Condition 
  • Exterior brand colour 
  • Location
    United States
  • Exterior colour 


Chassis No. 229AJS

Body No. 4149

Engine No. N95U

Spanning multiple countries and two continents, this 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II has a history as colorful as the car is presented today. Today, chassis number 229AJS boasts Drophead Sedanca Coupe H.J. Mulliner coachwork, finished in an eye-catching two-tone purple with lavish chrome details. The list of those involved with this car is equally fascinating, including a Kentucky Derby winner, a World War II spy, and a rocket scientist.

Rolls-Royce Chassis Number 229AJS

Rolls-Royce of America, Inc., located in Springfield, Massachusetts, initially delivered the long-wheelbase Rolls-Royce Phantom II, chassis number 229AJS, to Colonel Edward Riley Bradley of Lexington, Kentucky, on 4 November 1931 with Special Town Car coachwork by Brewster & Co., body number 4026. Bradley is best remembered for his exploits in horse racing, where he won the Kentucky Derby four times and even appeared on the cover of TIME magazine on 7 May 1934. The final note on the Schoellkopf card shows that its Brewster body was removed and installed on Packard for Miss. A.M. Carpenter in January 1940.

H.J. Mulliner Body Number 4149

On 30 August, a 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental, chassis number 4SK, with Drophead Sedanca Coupe coachwork by H.J. Mulliner, body number 4149, was delivered to Major Frederick Sidney Cotton through Jack Barclay Ltd at the Hanover Square dealership in London. As an Australian aviator, inventor, and pioneer in color photography, he was first recruited to work for the French Deuxième Bureau and then the British MI6. Cotton flew reconnaissance flights to photograph German bases under the ruse of business trips. Later, work with RAF 1 Photographic Development Unit aided the British in photographing to develop high-altitude, high-speed stereoscopic photography, critical in determining the V-1 flying bomb and the V-2 rocket sites. With notable friendships, likely passengers of this Rolls-Royce include George Eastman, Winston Churchill, and Ian Fleming. It is believed that, due to his unique line of work, Cotton served as inspiration for the character James Bond.

Two Extraordinary Histories Meet

Following Cotton's ownership, 4SK, with body number 4149, was shipped to the United States, where it was rebodied, with a note on the Schoellkopf card stating that the "Mulliner Drophead Sedanca Cpe body formerly on 4SK remains undisposed of." Chassis number 229AJS was later purchased by Bluford H.J. Balter of Pass Christian, Mississippi, and was delivered to him on 1 August 1949 with the currently fitted Drophead Sedanca Coupe coachwork, body number 4149, and remains in this configuration to this day.

Balter retained 229AJS until it was returned to J.S. Inskip on 10 November 1955. The car was next acquired by Ellerton Marcel Jette and was delivered to him in Sebec, Maine, on 24 March 1956. The car was then consigned for sale by J.S. Inskip on 15 May 1958 and delivered to Dr. Dwight Francis Gunder of Loveland, Colorado, on 9 December 1959. Dr. Gunder was an engineer who held a patent for a rocket launcher, helped with the Polaris missile development, and was co-author of Engineering Mechanics, which was published the same year he purchased the Rolls-Royce.

While it is believed Dr. Grunder retained the car until his passing in 1964, the following known owner was Tom Barrett of Phoenix, Arizona, as late as 1989. Following Mr. Barrett's term of ownership, the car was exported to Germany in the late 1990s, purchased by Manfred Rübesam in approximately 1998, and placed on display in 2001 at Schloss Schwetzingen. An ownership card provided by the Rolls-Royce Foundation establishes that the car was returned to the United States by Neil Wood of Rockport, Maine, by 2006, before it entered The Gregorie Neck Collection.

Following the purchase, the current caretaker commissioned a complete restoration by Redline Restorations of Bridgeport, Connecticut, with support from Dennis Nursey of Milton Keynes, England. Once the work was completed, the cost of the three-year restoration totaled in excess of $250,000. Numerous chrome accents and a pair of large Marchal headlights accentuate the striking two-tone purple exterior. The interior features complementary purple leather contrasted by burl wood trim on the dashboard and atop the doors. With few other contemporary Rolls-Royces offering the same level of opulent panache, this striking Phantom II with Drophead Sedanca Coupe coachwork by H.J. Mulliner is truly a remarkable sight.

Titled as a 1932 model year.

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